by Neil Murray
When it comes to writing, academic disciplines – particularly those within the humanities and social sciences – have a good deal in common and, for the most part, they share very similar expectations of students’ writing.
However, despite such similarity, each discipline also tends to have its own particular set of conventions, its own way of doing things, and the fields of English language and linguistics are certainly no exception. The variation that can exist between the writing practices of different disciplines can leave students who are just starting out on course assignments or research projects uncertain about what exactly they should be doing and how. Although libraries or student services units will often produce guides to help them navigate this territory, these tend to be generic rather than discipline-specific; and while individual departments may give their students guidance on how to write within their particular discipline, such guidance is often sketchy at best, providing only a few general pointers and often leaving them with more questions than answers.
My new book Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics uncovers, for the intending or newly-enrolled student, some of the particularities of writing English language and linguistics essays and research projects. In doing so, it presents discipline-specific guidance on such things as assignment questions, information sources, the nature of evidence, referencing, stylistic issues and formatting, alongside much that is more generic and applicable to other areas of academic inquiry. All examples, tasks and illustrations are English language/linguistics related and many are authentic.
The book has been written in a style which, I hope, is engaging and easily accessible to undergraduate students. In order to clarify explanations, it includes numerous examples, as well as tasks designed to help you test and consolidate your understanding of the ideas presented. It also includes ‘tips’ – experience-based insights to help you improve your writing and avoid common pitfalls. Finally, there’s a handy section on Frequently-Asked Questions and a glossary of linguistics terms.
Neil Murray is Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the University of South Australia, and has over 30 years’ experience of lecturing in the subject.
Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics is available from Cambridge University Press at £16.99 / $27.99