Communicating science in English: exploring the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English



Friday 24 February




Adam Huttner-Koros

Communications Officer

National Computational Infrastructure


Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

Freelance writer, Science Communicator, Linguist

Words Apart


Scientists whose first language is not English report disadvantages with academic communication internationally. This paper explores preliminary evidence from a case study of non-Anglophone scientists in an Australian research organisation, where English is the first language. Findings suggest that scientists from non-Anglophone language backgrounds are limited by more than their level of English language proficiency. Academic science communication may in addition be underpinned by perceptions of identity that are defined by the Anglocentric hegemony in science, which dictates not only how academic science is communicated but also who can communicate it.

Academic References:
Huttner-Koros, A. & Perera, S. (2016). Communicating science in English: a preliminary exploration into the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English. Journal of Science Communication 15 (06), A03.

Mauranen, A., Hynninen, N. and Ranta, E. (2010). English as an academic lingua franca: The ELFA project. English for Specific Purposes 29 (3), pp. 183–190.

Ferguson, G., Pérez-Llantada, C. and Plo, R. (1st March 2011). ‘English as an international language of scientific publication: a study of attitudes’. World Englishes 30 (1), pp. 41–59.

Popular References:
For a simpler description of the Anglophone nature of science, read Huttner-Koros, A. (2015). ‘The Hidden Bias of Science’s Universal Language’. The Atlantic.

For an example of a way of expanding science beyond its Anglocentric frame, read Prescod-Weinstein, C. (2015). ‘Decolonising Science Reading List’. Medium.

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