• Main features:
– External parameters (elements of the
– Internal parameters (formal structure; knowledge
structure; linguistic structure)
• A specialized text must be written by a
• Those who want to translate specialized texts
should get familiar with their specialized
context, and should know the domain
conventions and lexical/structural peculiarities
• Formal structure
• Knowledge structure
• Linguistic structure:
• Specialized texts are precise, more concise, and more
• Precision is a discreet feature. Only experts can
Modality and Scientific Discourse
Modality concerns with the speaker’s
assumptions or assessment of possibilities;
It indicates the degree of confidence (or lack
of confidence) the speaker has in his/her
• Modality is “matter of knowledge, belief or
opinion rather than fact”.
• Modality is to be interpreted as “showing the
status of the speaker’s understanding or
• Strong, weak, and intermediate modality
• “absence of certainty”,
• the “lack of commitment to the truth value of
a given proposition”,
• the desire not to be too categorical.
Detecting hedging in scientific discourse
• surface textual features:
– Cognitive verbs (think, believe, suppose,
– Lexical modifiers (verbs, adjectives, etc. e.g.
indicate, suggest, propose, advise; approximate,
advisory, likely, possible, consistent with)
– Adverbial forms, e.g. barely, nearly, slightly
Units of specialized knowledge*
“A unit of specialized knowledge (SKU) is a unit that represents
specialized knowledge at the content level, and communicates it
at the linguistic level by using different level units that reflect
the structure of knowledge in which the SKU is organized
within its field.
“Specialized knowledge units are cognitive units, because they
represent and set specialized knowledge.
“At the linguistic level, they are linguistic units because they are
formed within a linguistic system and are integrated to it.
“At the social level, they are considered to be communicative
units, because they ensure the transfer of knowledge in given