Article 18: Minumum Competence in Scientific English

18 - Minumum Competence in Scientific English

Sue Blattes, Veronique Jans, Jonathan Upjohn
EDP Sciences, Grenoble, 2003
There is a link in Amazon, but also to a number of sample pages at this link to the University of Grenoble.

It’s a gem. Why? Because this is essentially a grammar practice for Science and Technology through English based on a detailed analysis of these subjects. If you're a CLIL Science or Technology teacher - Buy it!

Who is aimed at?
University students of science and technology who want to go ‘from learners to users’ of the English language. It is suggested that the book can be used as part of a course, partly autonomously, or completely autonomously. I can see all three possibilities but it also acts as a template of sorts for teachers to create their own similar tasks which may be more suited to their own specific student needs.
What you do you get?
It’s a book which presents the language of science in 12 units based on ‘functions, structures and lexis’ for:
link words
time – present and past
cause and consequence
purpose and process
impresonal forms
compound nouns and adjectives
For each unit there is an entry and exit test and sub sections dealing with:
functions and grammar
checkpoints (consolidating what is being learnt with paraphrasing, contextualisation and relating it to what is known)
web search – word search tasks
There is a key of answers to the questions and tasks.
There are grammar notes.
There is a lexical index linked to relevant pages in the body of the book.
My opinion and comments
It’s a gem. Why? Because if you’re a student of science or technology what you have here is a collection of organised functions of the English language based on a detailed analysis of your subject accompanied by contextualised exercises to practice scientific ‘functions, structures and lexis’ through the medium of English.
The book comes from a programme at the University of Grenoble supporting innovative publications. Good for them, I say. I just wish we could get someone to write something like this for primary and secondary English-medium science too. Having said that, the book as it is will serve secondary English-medium science to some extent even though it’s targeted at University students.
It’s worth every penny, or rather Euro cent. If you teach Science or technology through the medium of English as a foreign language, buy it! You won’t regret it.