CAPTIONS FOR VISUALS IN ENGLISH SCIENTIFIC TEXT: FUNCTIONS, SEMANTICS AND SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE
References: 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2018, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2018 Vienna ART Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-32-4 / ISSN 2367-5659, 19 - 21 March, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 3.1; 51-58 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/31/S10.007
This paper focuses on captions for visuals as a specific type of scientific microtext and provides functional, semantic and structural analysis of this linguistic phenomenon in English scientific texts. For our research, we used captions for visuals in monographs and edited volumes, as well as collections of scholarly articles published in the last decades (1990-2010). Papers in scientific journals were deliberately ignored, because in this type of publications authors are generally restricted by the journal style and traditions and forced to follow prescribed Guidelines for Authors. Our corpus of writings consists of sixteen scientific books on geosciences and history and includes more than 2000 captions.
Functionally, four types of captions are identified, i.e. defining, explanatory, describing and mixed. Semantically, captions contain two elements of information, i.e. form and content. Structurally, captions can be grouped as one-component captions and multicomponent captions. Recurrent types were further analysed in regards to frequent lexis and common syntactic structure.
The research shows explicit correlation between the author’s communicative stance, intention and type of captions exploited in the text. Practical recommendations aim at use of captions for teaching various reading skills such as skimming, scanning, searching, etc., in English as a second language (ESL) environment.
Keywords: captions, English as a second language, language education, academic writing, scientific text
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