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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

7. The contribution of linguistics and semiotics to the understanding of science communication

Nina Janich


The essay presents a brief overview of the development of linguistics research on scientific language and science communication as well as a selection of the key findings of linguistics and semiotics research concerning science communication. Science communication is understood in this article as a fundamentally discursive and rhetorical phenomenon. A key conception of science is that science is a laborious process of research that is repeatedly renewed and developed further and that is affected by a teacher-student relationship that characterizes every scientific discipline. The resulting discursive construction and establishment of scientific knowledge is the motivation for linguistics research not only about the linguistic features and stylistics of scientific language or the genres of science but also about scientific intertextuality and controversy and about challenges in contexts of interdisciplinarity and knowledge communication/public understanding of science. To conclude the overview, there is a brief look at the semiotic resources evident in science communication and at some approaches to describe scientific multimodality linguistically. It has never, indeed, been possible to imagine science without visualizations, and text layout and typography have performed important functions in the construction and ordering of scientific knowledge for many centuries.

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