Home Interesting Facts Scientists admit how academic language can cover up their hilarious mess ups

Scientists admit how academic language can cover up their hilarious mess ups

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Image via flickr

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that most people on this planet do not read scientific research reports.

That being said, for those who do, one must understand not only what it is about but also the language it’s written in.

Academics excel at using heightened verbiage to explain simple ideas while using complex sentence structures to practice it.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

But a handful of scientists have recently revealed that their published stories can be hilarious at times thanks to such complex sentence structures — which actually artfully code mistakes in science speak so no one outside the field would understand and make fun of said scientists.

The academic language includes, for example, discipline-specific vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, and applications of rhetorical connections and devices are typical for a content area such as essays, lab reports or discussions of a controversial issue.

They all agree that in order to master it — the objectives should zero in on language as well as content.

Image via flickr

“Some language demands are related to text types, which have specific conventions with respect to format, expected content, tone, common grammatical structures (e.g., if…, then…), etc. The language demands of other tasks are not as predictable and may vary depending on the situation,” they write.

But how does academic language develop? According to The California State University, Northridge says there not one way to go about it.

“For text types, it is important to make the conventions explicit, often providing graphic organizers when students are first learning how to produce the text type,” they write.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

“For less predictable language tasks, students need to understand the nature of the task and the range of possible responses and associated language. When students are just learning to use a particular form of academic language, they will need more scaffolding and support. For example, an English teacher trying to develop students’ abilities to follow up on a student comment might invite students to brainstorm different types of responses (e.g., agreement with elaboration, agreement with qualification, disagreement) together with some typical sentence starters or grammatical structures for each type of response.”



“If you read in a frog paper ‘specimen was released in the field immediately after capture; chances are very good that what it actually means is ‘I dropped the d*mn frog and despite the fact that we fell all over each other no one could recapture it.”

And according to tumblr, NASA also has a few phrases up their sleeve that are equally as clever.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

“Underwent unplanned rapid disassembly” – it exploded, and it wasn’t an explosion we wanted to happen.

“Lithobraking maneuver” – it stopped because it hit the g*dd*amned ground.

“Engine-rich exhaust” – the engine bell melted or evaporated, or the engine ejected itself out the back of the rocket without having a very good reason to do so.

“Fishing orbit” – the craft is in the ocean instead of space and we didn’t mean to put it there.

“Thrust was observed along an undesired vector.” – the engine leaked and the rocket spun off into oblivion.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. James Lefty Larimer

“Wearing his manager hat.” – a moron who shouldn’t be an engineer ( a reference to the infamous quote “take off your engineer hat and put on your manager hat” in the meeting which the Challenger was cleared for launch.)

“Received an unrequested transfer.” – he’s dead.

Welp, time to read up on some scientific reports!

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