中国作者英文医学论文写作中的常见句法错误

日期:2018-08-06    作者:詹小青    来源:海外英语       分享:

引言:在科学研究国际化的大背景下,医学研究者和医学生面对在高影响因子杂志上发表学术论文的压力。不少科研机构将在高影响因子杂志上发表文章的数量作为研究者晋升的重要标准,一些高等院校也将发表高因子SCI 论文作为研究生毕业的重要条件。由于绝大部分高影响因子杂志都是英语期刊,这意味着论文的撰写需采用英文,这对母语为非英语的中国作者来说无疑是一个巨大的挑战。

本文主要探讨的是句法层次的常见错误。下面我们结合归纳的典型实例逐一呈现各类错误。





常见语法错误被动语态的使用有误

相对于汉语,英语中使用被动语态的频率较高,特别是在比较正式的文体如科技文体中。科技语言重视叙述的客观和规范性,论述的往往是事实、现象、过程等,因此使用被动语态可以突出动作作用的对象,突出论述的主旨。基于这一点,我国的英语课堂教学特别强调被动语态的训练,结果造成学习者对被动语态的过度使用。另一方面,近几十年来西方科技论文的写作风格发生了变化,从使用被动结构变化为直接简洁的表述。通过对我们构建的范文库的分析,我们发现本族语作者主要在论文的方法和结果部分运用被动语态,而引言和结论部分更倾向于运用主动语态,主要是第一人称(一般是we)作主语。




例1

误例:In four cases in our study, elevated ALT levels were ob? served, indicating...

改为:In four cases in our study, we observed elevated ALT levels, indicating...

例2

误例 :In this paper, further studies to explore the optimal physical parameters and practical application of A- tDCS in treat? ing chronic neuropathic pain are conducted in rats.

改为:In this paper, we conduct further studies to explore the optimal physical parameters and practical application of A- tDCS in treating chronic neuropathic pain in rats.



事实上,很多杂志都不忌讳甚至鼓励第一人称的适量使用。因为这样能减少句子的字数,使其更加简洁;并且能降低阅读难度,提高效率,如例2 中的误例,过长的主语加重了阅读的负担。状语位置错误中国人习惯直线式思维模式,汉语表达习惯按时间逻辑顺序依次展开,中式表达一般倾向于先过程后结果的描述,而西方思维模式则相反,习惯先描述结果后描述过程。因此在汉语中,时间、地点状语等通常位于句首,或句中,按照“直线式思维模式”顺畅自然地表达出来,而英语则习惯于置于句尾。



例3

误例:Since its discovery in 1935, because of its anti-inflammation property, glucocorticoid is widely used in the treatment of various kinds of inflammation.

改为 :Since its discovery in 1935, glucocorticoid is widely used in the treatment of various kinds of inflammation, because of its anti-inflammatory property.



例4

误例:The results of this study confirm that, either in the patients with whole vaginal cancer or squamous cell cancer, the OS and DFS rates are significantly different among different stages.

改为:The results of this study confirm that the OS and DFS rates are significantly different among different stages, either in the patients with whole vaginal cancer or squamous cell cancer.



例5

误例:Definitive conventional radiotherapy, except for selective contact X-ray, endocavitary radiation, and highly selective preoperative chemoradiation, is rarely applied to treat low-lying rectal cancer patients who firmly refuse to undergo APR.

改为:Definitive conventional radiotherapy is rarely applied to treat low-lying rectal cancer patients who firmly refuse to undergo APR, except for selective contact X- ray, endocavitary radiation, and highly selective preoperative chemoradiation.



以上三个误例修改后,原因状语、地点状语和条件状语分别被放在了句末,重点更加凸显。总之,将重要的内容提前而将状语这一修饰成分后置方便读者快速提取重要信息;也符合英文的表达习惯,容易得到编辑的认可。主语选择欠妥英语科技论文中的句子一般有明确的主语。英语是主语凸显的(subject-prominent)语言,而汉语则是主题凸显的(topic-prominent)语言。汉语注重内容大过注重形式,只要意思清楚,句子的某些成分可以省略。中文科技论文中,由于文章作者一般是研究行为的发出者,是句子的主语,因此常常省略主语。而英语注重句子结构的完整性,缺失主语就不成为句子。并且主语一般是名词或名词性词语(NP),而谓语由动词(VP)充当,主谓语一起构成了句子最核心的主干部分。



例6

误例:Gain geometric transformation matrix G by the following formula.

改为:Geometric transformation matrix G was gained by the following formula.



例7

误例:Predict the target genes of the differentially expressed microRNAs, and construct the gene-protein-pathway map.

改为:The target genes of the differentially expressed microR? NAs were predicted, and the gene-protein-pathway map was con? structed.



上面两个例子都出自论文“方法”部分,因为句子的主语不言而喻是研究者,因此作者受中式表达习惯的影响直接省掉了主语。其实在该部分遇到这种动作发出者不言自明的情况,汉语的无主句常可用英语的被动句来表达。



上文提到,英语句子的主语是名词或名词性词语。而汉语中,几乎什么词都可以直接作主语,因为汉语的主语可以只是一个“话题”,具有很大的词类兼容性。除名词性事物外,动词性、形容词性、数词性及表述情景事物的词语都可以成为话题。



例8

误例:On the other hand, Leu16 replaced by Arg in HD5 result? ed in weakened antiviral potency.

改为:On the other hand, the replacement of Leu16 by Arg in HD5 resulted in weakened antiviral potency.



不难看出,原句作者写这句话时脑海中对应汉语是“HD5 中Leu16 被Arg 替代引起抗病毒能力减弱”。用“HD5 中Leu16 被Arg 替代”这一话题作主语在汉语中无可厚非,但直译为英语却是病句。导致“抗病毒能力减弱”的其实是“代替”这一行为,因此英语中应将“replacement”这一名词性词语作为主语。



此外,英语的主语是句子的中心、整句话谈论的对象,与谓语之间逻辑关系密切。谓语动词的作用是陈述主语的主要情况,表示其动作或状态(张道真 2010)。而中国作者写作的句子中,存在谓语并非陈述主语的情况,导致逻辑关系错误。



例9

误例:LXRβ deletion in male mice suffers from adult- onset motor neuron degeneration.

改为:Male mice with LXRβ deletion suffer from adult-onset motor neuron degeneration.



误例中,谓语“suffers from”(患上……疾病)陈述的对象是 male mice,因此不应随意选用其他词或短语作主语,而应将 male mice 用作句子主语。



为了避免直译所造成的麻烦,在撰写论文之初,撰稿人应先查阅相关的英语文献,以形成一定的英语思维习惯,掌握英语的表达方式与方法, 并用这样的方法把自己所要传达的内容表述出来,更容易撰写出高质量的SCI学术论文。句子衔接与连贯问题英语重“形合”,语篇的衔接与连贯主要靠完整的句法形式和各种显性功能词来体现,如连接代词、连接副词、关系代词和关系副词等。而汉语重“意合”,衔接与连贯是靠叙事的事理逻辑和意境等隐性关系来实现(祝朝伟 2003)。受母语表达习惯的影响,中国作者写作的英文论文常缺少连贯和衔接,读者需要根据上下文推断逻辑关系。



例10

误例:Rapid detection is the most prominent advantage of this method; the sample detection step can be finished within 15 min.

改为:Rapid detection is the most prominent advantage of this method, as the sample detection step can be finished within 15 min.



误例采用分号连接两个的句子,而分号只能表明相关句子间联系较紧密,不能表明其具体的逻辑关系。因此最好添加一个标明语义连接的接点。根据上下文推断,这两个分句间是因果关系,因此可以添加连词“as”。



例11

误例:In 1971, Folkman reported the theory of angiopoiesis, which states that if there is no blood vessel, tumor diameters will not exceed 2-3 mm. A great deal of research has been focused on anti-angiogenic therapies.

改为:In 1971, Folkman reported the theory of angiopoiesis, which states that if there is no blood vessel, tumor diameters will not exceed 2-3 mm. Since then, a great deal of research has been focused on anti-angiogenic therapies.



本例第一句提到“Folkman 报道了血管生成理论”,第二句话突然跳转到谈论“抗血管生成疗法的研究情况”。若在第二句前加上时间标记“Since then”(自本理论报道以来),则可使读者快速明白前后两句间的逻辑关系,且更符合英语“形合”的特点。

长句的不合理使用多个内容同时放在一个句子中表达因为英语具备句尾开放性,英语的句子一般较汉语长(陈宏薇 2004)。即便如此,一般知名度高的科研期刊并不欢迎包含很多复杂长句的稿件,因为科研论文的主要宗旨是清楚明白地传递科研信息,使读者快速高效获取科研资讯。因此,写作时要尽量避免用一个句子表达多层意思,或一次表述多件事物(魏尔清 2009)。



例12

误例:MPM has multiple advantages: it eliminates the possibility of damaging the skin when compared with WCM, and it's a more simple technological flow compared with Hu Huaxin’s method; it is a technology that is safe and easy to perform; as indicated by the quality control test, accurate results can be obtained via different personnel after a short training period.

改为:MPM has multiple advantages. It eliminates the possibility of damaging the skin when compared with WCM. Also, it's a more simple technological flow compared with Hu Huaxin's method. Furthermore, it is a technology that is safe and easy to perform. Lastly, as indicated by the quality control test, accurate results can be obtained via different personnel after a short training period.



例12 中的误例十分冗长,给阅读带来了较重的负担。修改后的句子将原句拆分为了五个小句,并适当添加连接用语明确各句之间的逻辑关系,更加清楚、自然、易于阅读。一个内容嵌套在另一个内容中表达使读者更难理解的是在同一个句子中,一件事物中隐含着另一件事物(魏尔清 2009)。这需要读者花更多的时间来理清不同事物间的逻辑关系。




例13

误例:A sample of 10 healthy women who were exclusively breastfeeding their babies (age 8~23 weeks old) was studied.

改为:A sample of 10 healthy women was studied. All subjects were exclusively breastfeeding their babies (age 8~23 weeks old).



例14

误例:We began by performing needs analysis of some visiting scholars who returned from the Western countries in the affiliated hospitals of our university to identify their major needs.

改为 :We began by performing needs analysis. We interviewed some visiting scholars who work in the affiliated hospitals of our university and returned from the west to identify their major needs.



修改后的两个句子把隐含在另一件事物中的内容抽提出来单独成句,易于读者理解。


在我们的误例库中还可以找到其他一些例子来例证本文提到的五类典型句法错误。当然除此五类外还存在其他类型的句法错误,由于篇幅的限制本文并未一一列出。此外,由于我们目前的误例库样本量相对较小,对错误类型还不能穷尽,未来有待于进一步的扩充和优化。