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Book Review spread of English-medium post-secondary

programs in expanding circle countries.


Secondly, as a result of these
Academic Writing for Graduate developments, applied linguistics has seen
Students: Essential Tasks and Skills, a rapid expansion of research on English
John M. Swales and Christine B. for academic purposes (EAP), and
Feak. 2012. Ann Arbor, MI: particularly on the genres specific to
University of Michigan Press academia, in the form of scholarly books,
articles, theses, and dissertations. These
(418 pages). developments are reflected in this most
recent edition of Academic Writing for
This is the third edition of a book that has Graduate Students. Finally, while there
enjoyed enormous popularity since it first have been numerous valiant attempts over
appeared in 1994 with the sub-sub-title ‘a the years to address the issue of academic
Course for Nonnative Speakers of writing, this volume remains the gold
English.’ Recognizing the challenge that standard. What has made it a classic for
the academic research paper (RP) poses over twenty years is, to my mind, the
for all graduate students regardless of authors’ ability to integrate genre analysis,
language background (i.e., students from the analysis of register, cohesion and
“Inner Circle, Outer Circle, Expanding coherence, and a functional approach to
Circle,” contexts: Kachru. 2006) or syntax.
academic discipline, the authors dropped
that sub-title in the second edition (2004) The skeletal outline of all editions has
in favor of the current one, more remained essentially the same:
accurately reflecting this wider intended
audience. The general approach is analytical
and rhetorical: Users are asked to
Despite the fact that this volume has been apply their analytical skills to the
around in one form or another for over two discourses of their chosen disciplines
decades, the book warrants a fresh look and to explore how effective academic
now for several reasons. First, as the writing is achieved. (p. ix)
authors point out in the Introduction to the
Third Edition, since 2004 there have been The book contains eight units and three
a number of more recent developments appendices, plus a list of references and an
affecting academic writing at the graduate index. The first four units are
level, including an increase in the use of e- ‘preparatory,” laying the groundwork for
mail, the internet and on-line graduate more genre-specific topics in later units.
courses, new writing workshops for Unit One outlines the authors’ approach to
graduate students across all disciplines, the academic writing. Unit Two is devoted to
use of corpora for linguistic analysis, and general-specific vs. specific general texts,
the rise of English as a Lingua Franca Unit Three deals with texts organized
(ELF) and the subsequent increase in the along problem-process-solution lines. Unit
MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities Regular 18.2, 2015

Four describes ways to structure Appendix Three lists Latin phrases, their
commentary on data (e.g., qualification, literal meanings and modern usages. Like
strength and comparison of claims, how to the main sections of the book, the
present graphs and chronological data, appendices also contain useful tasks for
etc.). Units Five and Six are dedicated to students.
the writing of summaries and critiques,
respectively. The final two chapters pull it In addition to containing many more
all together under the titles “Constructing student activities than earlier editions,
a Research Paper I” and “Constructing a older sample texts have been replaced with
Research Paper II.’ more current ones. This edition also
contains more materials on science and the
Each unit opens with a brief description of hard sciences than previous ones. It
the specified topic, followed by sections includes more up-to-date research findings
on the content and rhetorical structure and makes use of the Michigan Corpus of
(e.g., “The Structure of Data Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP).
Commentary,” “Evaluating a Published On the other hand, this edition does not
Article," "Creating a Research Space,” deal in depth with abstracts nor with “free-
etc.), and sections focusing on the language standing literature reviews, writing
used in those rhetorical structures. (e.g., introductions to term papers and other
“Linking as Clauses,” “Unreal Conditionals,” course work or writing applications” (p.
“Purpose Statements and Tense,” etc.). All of xi).
this, more in the Third edition than I
remember from previous ones, is Despite these omissions, Academic
interspersed with “Tasks” based on Writing for Graduate Students is a must
authentic data from academic writing read for both non-native and native
drawn from a number of fields, requiring English speaking graduates. And it should
students to take stock of (and in many be emphasized that it is appropriate not
cases compare and contrast) the rhetorical just for students of applied linguistics.
structure, syntax and vocabulary of the RP Anyone having to write a thesis or
across a range of disciplines. dissertation in English, regardless of major
field, would benefit from this book. It
Each of the three appendixes contains would be most useful and appropriate for
clear and detailed explanations of aspects first year graduate students just embarking
of academic writing that tend to be on their graduate studies, and could be
problematic for graduate students. used in a stand-alone course on academic
Appendix One deals with the grammar of writing or used selectively in another
definitions, including relative clauses and graduate level course to teach / reinforce
common ways to reduce them. Appendix the various formal feature of an academic
Two presents an explanation of the use of research paper while also focusing on the
articles in a research paper, including content of the papers students read and
countability, generics and generalizations, write. I am currently selectively using
and abstract vs. concrete generics. sections of the book in just this latter way:

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Book Review

students are required to analyze both the


structure as well as the content of the
research articles on the course reading list.
The hope is that, in this way students will
both improve their own research paper
writing and be able to read the research of
others more critically. To date, they seem
to enjoy this approach.

References
Kachru, Braj. 2006. World Englishes:
critical concepts in linguistics, Volume
4. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.

Swales, John M., and Christine B. Feak.


2000. English in Today's Research
World: A Writing Guide. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.

Swales, John and Christine B. Feak 1994.


Academic Writing for Graduate
Students: Commentary: A Course
for Nonnative Speakers of English.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
Press.

Reviewed by
Thom Huebner
Professor Emeritus
Department of Linguistics and Language
Development
San José State University
San Jose, California, U.S.A.

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