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生物医学英语论文的语言特征及写作技巧

中华首席医学网    发布时间:2010-11-15 10:14:28 
关键字:生物医学英语论文 语言特征 写作技巧

  1 引 言

  生物医学英语论文是一种英语应用文体,在语言上有其独特的特征和要求,最突出的语言特点可归纳为三个方面:简明性、准确性和规范性。这三方面语言特性既指论文内容的表达上,又指语言的运用和表达方式上,具体体现在贯穿全文的谴词造句、时态运用和常用表达法等方面。Day在“How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper”一书中,分别在不同章节中论述了这些语言特点,指出掌握这些语言特点的重要性并给予较具体的写作指导原则。作者将运用Day 相关写作规则,通过实例分别从语言基本特性、时态的准确用法和规范的常用表达法这三方面,分析和总结生物医学英语论文共同的显著语言特点。

  2 简明性:英语生物医学论文语言的基本特点

  Day认为,“科技论文写作的主要特点是简明性”科技论文写作就是将某种明确的信息传递给读者,传递这个信息的语言应该尽可能简明扼要。医学论文属科技论文,其主旨就是论述医学理论研究和医疗技术开发研究中有创新和有价值的成果,是实用文体的一种。这种实用性医学论文写作语言有别于文学性写作语言,它不采用散文、诗歌、小说等体裁的文学语言,不追求华丽的辞藻和抒情的语句,不使用比喻、夸张、排比、拟人等等修辞手法,因为这种文学性语言很可能造成引申和含混的意义,影响科学事实内容被准确无误和简洁明快地传达和接受。因此,科学论文写作应遵循“信息优先,优雅最后”的原则, 作者只需要尽可能简明地陈述事实; 在科研论文中,没人要看花哨的辞藻或文学修饰。

  由此可见,简明扼要是科技论文语言的最基本特点和最高境界,这种简明性能使英语生物医学论文畅达明快、思路清晰,容易被理解和接受。以下英文摘要例子充分体现了这个基本语言特点:

  Suppression of immune responses by regulatory T cells (Tregs) is thought to limit late stages of pathogen-specific immunity as a means of minimizing associated tissue damage. We examined a role for Tregs during mucosal herpes simplex virus infection in mice, and observed an accelerated fatal infection with increased viral loads in the mucosa and central nervous system after ablation of Tregs. Although augmented interferon production was detected in the draining lymph nodes (dLNs) in Treg-deprived mice, it was profoundly reduced at the infection site. This was associated with a delay in the arrival of natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and T cells to the site of infection and a sharp increase in proinflammatory chemokine levels in the dLNs. Our results suggest that Tregs facilitate early protective responses to local viral infection by allowing a timely entry of immune cells into infected tissue.

  这个摘要简短精练,作者高效地运用英语文字,简明扼要地将论文主体部分IMRAD(Introduction, Materials & Method, Results and Discussion)中研究背景、方法、结果和结论分别用一、两句话加以概括,只用5个句子、142个词就分别把四个部分的主要内容交代得清清楚楚,毫无冗词赘句。第一句用信号词 “is thought to” 说明研究的相关背景知识,第二句中动词 “examined” 和“observed” 表明方法,第三句和第四句说明结果,第五句以信号词短语“Our results suggest that” 开头,表明作者在概括讨论部分。

  3 准确性:掌握准确严谨的时态

  医学是自然学科的一个分支,医学研究反映医学研究者严谨的科学态度和审慎的科学道德观念,医学论文作者必须运用正确而恰当的语言表达方式将医学客观规律和研究成果准确无误地表达出来,力求让读者能清楚明白地接受理解作者要表达的意图和信息。在生物医学英语论文各大部分中,英语时态的准确运用是很重要的,它无疑是确保医学论文质量和准确性的一个重要环节。

  Day指出,“恰当的时态运用源于严谨的科学道德观念”:一篇科技论文如果已被有效地发表,它便是已知科技知识,所以,如果作者引用已发表文章,就应该遵循科学道德原则,以尊重科学的态度对待它,所用时态应该是说明已知事实和真理的现在时,而表达作者自己的研究发现时应用过去时,因为此研究发现只有在发表后才会成为被科技界接受并成为科技知识和真理。英语医学论文中时态的不恰当使用,会导致读者对论文作者的研究发现和已被接受的医学知识或真理混淆不清,产生误会。由于受汉语的影响,英语时态是中国医学工作者在撰写医学论文时容易出错的语言方面问题。汉语表达时间概念主要依靠上下文衬托或时间状语,动词无词形变化,但英语中除了必要的时间状语外,时间概念的表达主要体现在动词词形的变化上。英语动词的时态运用是非常严谨的,如何掌握生物医学论文中英语时态的特点并正确使用时态以保证论文信息传达的准确性,是中国医学工作者在撰写生物医学英语论文时至关重要的。

  生物医学英语论文的时态通常交替使用现在时和过去时,但作为科技论文的一种,它是有一些约定俗成的规则和规律的。Day指出科技论文时态使用的总体原则:“当你涉及已被发表的论文或已被科技界接受的科技知识和真理时,你应该用现在时,当你所指的是自己的研究结果,就应该用过去时”。在生物医学论文的摘要(Abstract)部分和论文主体(IMRAD)的各个部分,时态的运用是有一定规则和规律可循的,这也是撰写生物医学英语论文写作的一个重要语言特征。

  3.1 摘要部分的时态运用

  以过去时为主,因为作者主要是概述自己的研究目的和结果,如:

  A phase II clinical study combining GM-CSF and rituximab was initiated in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma(FL) to determine the clinical and biologic responses, as well as safety of the combination.

  但提供论文研究的相关背景知识时,应该用现在时(一般现在式或现在完成式)。如:

  Postresuscitation myocardial dysfunction has been recognized as a leading cause of early death after initially successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

  当叙述结论或提出建议时,一般用现在时,因为文章的结论源于结果,即使是由本研究具体“结果”演绎出的一般性原则,按英语习惯,通常用现在时、臆测动词或may, should, could等助动词表达,如:

  GM-CSF plus rituximab results in high response rates, along with a tolerable safety profile in patients with relapsed or progressive FL. The improved efficacy over rituximab monotherapy may be due to increases seen in monocyte, granulocyte, and dendritic cell populations.

  3.2 引言部分的时态运用

  以现在时(一般现在式或现在完成式)为主,这部分主要是回顾已发表的相关文献和介绍相关研究背景。如:

  T-IC, which are self-renewing and can differentiate into multiple lineages, are highly tumorigenic in immunodeficient mice.

  Radiation and conventional chemotherapy have not significantly modified its natural history, as patient response is often characterized by remission followed by consecutive relapses until death.

  3.3 方法和材料部分的时态运用

  主要是过去时,因为作者在描述本研究过程中的方法和步骤。如:

  An additional GM-CSF plus rituximab treatment cycle was administered to the last six patients who did not achieve CR at the end of the first cycle .

  Immune cell counts (lymphocyte, monocyte, and granulocyte) were assessed from peripheral blood at baseline, before and at day 8 of each cycle, at day 30, and 3 months after treatment .

  3.4 结果部分的时态运用

  主要也采用过去时,因为作者主要涉及本研究所得的结果和发现,它们尚未得到医学界的认可。如:

  Thirty-three patients were included in the study (Table 1). The median age was 59 years(range, 37 to 81), and there were 19 males and 14 females.

  There was no difference between control and glibenclamide-pretreated groups in the total energy required for successful defibrillation before restoration of spontaneous circulation.

  3.5 讨论部分的时态运用

  现在时和过去时是交替使用的,当作者陈述研究结论,对自己的研究成果作阐释和评价,通常使用现在时态。如:

  Our study suggests that HMGA2 overexpression can also be secondary to reduced let-7 expression.

  Our results need to be considered in light of evidence for possible phenotypic heterogeneity of T-IC.

  但是,当作者纯粹在描述本研究结果时,应该用过去时,如:

  We confirmed these findings in SK3rd and SKBR3 cells, where H-RAS (other RAS homologs were not expressed) and HMGA2 protein, but not mRNA, correlated inversely with let-7 expression .

  英语时态的选择是一个非常复杂的过程,不同时态的交替使用是生物医学论文英语写作中一个重要的语言特点。以上列举的规则具有普遍性,已成为生物医学论文英语写作中约定俗成的规则。但是,时态的运用规则是有例外的,例如,在方法和结果部分一般都用过去时,但这两部分通常有图表,图表中的文字说明和分析或在文本中描述图表时,一般都用现在时态,如:

  Figure 4. Silencing HMGA2 reduces the undifferentiated subpopulation and proliferation of SK-3rd cells but does not significantly alter mammosphere formation .

  Figure 2H shows northern blots from a representative patient who received chemotherapy and one who did not, while Figures 2I and S9A depict the mean ± standard deviation (SD) and individual patient data, respectively, of qRT-PCR analysis of let-7a/U6 expression.

  再如,在文本中描述计算结果和进行数据分析时一般用过去时态,但有时也可使用现在时态,如:

  Our current data showed that glibenclamide (0.3 mg/ kg) pretreatment alone did not alter the postresuscitation myocardial function or the outcome when compared with saline control (Table 1, Figs. 2-4).

  Collectively, these data show that in vivo passaging of breast cancer lines under chemotherapy pressure enriches for BT-IC.

  4 规范性:掌握清晰规范的常用表达法

  阅读生物医学英语论文时,会发现有许多类似的常用表达法(stock phrases,包括词汇、短语和句型)频繁出现在发表在各种期刊的不同论文中,这就是生物医学论文英语写作的另一个显著的语言特征:标准化和规范性。在科研论文中,科研内容的创新是首要的,传达科研信息和表达科研成果的语言并不需要太多的创意和新颖,而是要力求简明、准确和规范。正如读者已习惯于科研论文标准的结构格式IMRAD一样,他们也习惯于读到标准规范的语言表达法,因为它们以规范的语言形式使思想内容得以清晰表达,帮助读者迅速捕捉和理解作者要表达的意思。

  在此,作者从本文引述的四篇文章中,略举一些在生物医学类英语论文各个部分中典型而规范的常用表达法。

  4.1 摘要部分

  Cancers may arise from rare self-renewing tumor-initiating cells(T-IC). However, how T-IC self renewal, multipotent differentiation, and tumorigenicity are maintained remains obscure. (说明相关课题研究的状况)

  We sought to assess the relationship between the magnitude of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol(LDL-C) lowering and rates of elevated liver enzymes, rhabdomyolysis, and cancer. (阐明本文写作和研究目的)

  4.2 引言部分

  Recent evidence also suggests that activation of opioid receptor produces cardioprotection.

  The present analysis examines the relationship between the degree of LDL-C lowering and the risk of abnormal liver enzymes and rhabdomyolysis in large randominzed statin trials.

  4.3 方法和材料部分

  Forty-five minutes before VF was induced, animals were randomized into groups by the closed envelop method.

  A P value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. SigmaStat version 3.1 (Systat Software, Inc., Point Richmond, California) was used for statistical analyses.

  4.4 结果部分

  There was no significant relationship between percent LDL-C lowering and rates of cancer(R = 0.09, P = 0.92)(Fig.7) .

  This property correlates with the ability to expel dyes, defined as a flow cytometry side population(SP) .

  4.5 讨论或结论部分

  Because T-IC are rare within tumors, they are difficult to study, and little is known about what regulates their critical ability to self renew and initiate tumors.

  The present observation is consistent with many epidemiologic studies associating low cholesterol levels with higher incidence of cancer.

  以上常用表达法在生物医学英语论文中使用频率甚高,有些已成为人们惯用的信号词,被视为特定语境中的规范表达方式。这类表达法在生物医学英语论文中随处可见,枚不胜举,写作者应利用这一语言特点,在平时阅读论文时有意识地收集这类stock phrases,并在写作中运用乃至整个句式完全套用,以便更有效和更规范化地表达自己。

  5 结束语

  生物医学英语论文使用的语言还必须具有其它特点,如学术性、专业性等等,但由于篇幅所限,本文侧重生物医学英语论文的最基本语言特点,将其归纳为简明性、准确性和规范性这三方面语言特征。作者运用了Day的科技论文写作理论指导原则,通过实例分析生物医学英语论文的语言特点,指出一些基本的写作原则和技巧,以期广大医学工作者在阅读和撰写生物医学英语论文的过程中,了解并正确把握这些语言特征和写作原则,提高英语写作能力和写作技巧。本文也是作者多年从事医学博士生生物医学英语写作课程教学的教学经验之结晶,希望对医学工作者用英语撰写生物医学论文时有借鉴之处。

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