Functional Characteristics Of Concept Medicine In The English Educational Discourse
People have been constantly appealing to medicine since the ancient times. Moreover, today human life is also becoming increasingly dependent on medicine. That is why concept MEDICINE is widely discussed in modern English mass media - television, newspapers and magazines. The Internet is also one of the most powerful channels for translating the slippery issues related to this concept. Due to its significance, this concept continues to be studied in details in professional medical high schools and in other educational institutions of the similar professional profile. Constant improvement and development of medicine is contributing to the discovery of new, previously unknown diseases and renewed methods of treatment facilitating the invention of modern equipment and medicaments. On account of the innovations in the medical sphere, there arises a necessity to give appropriate names to new facts, phenomena, and objects related to medical area. New medical terms are frequently occurring in English newspapers and magazines, moreover, they are regularly fixed in dictionaries and reference books and usually mentioned and explained in the textbooks for doctors and health assistants. It is due to the relevance of the above mentioned issues the detailed study of concept MEDICINE is of vital importance nowadays.
Keywords: Conceptdiscourseeducational discourselinguistic markersmedicine
The human appeal to medicine contributes to the utmost importance of concept MEDICINE in the life of modern society. Due to its significance, this concept is not only widely discussed throughout the mass media and around the Web, but the concept is also occupying a considerable space among other research projects worked out within the high school establishments and other educational institutions both in Russia and in English speaking countries. Consequently, various ways and means of concept MEDICINE verbalization within the English educational discourse are considered in the present paper. Due to a great importance of English educational discourse in improving modern communication schemes, the present study focuses on discursive parameters characteristic for a certain type of English educational space represented by concept MEDICINE. Constant improvement and development of medicine is contributing to the discovery of new, previously unknown diseases and to the improvement of renewed methodologies aimed at innovating treatment procedures facilitating the invention of modern equipment and medicaments. In view of the innovations in the field of medicine, there arises a vital necessity to nominate appropriately the new facts, phenomena, and objects related to medical sphere. Traditionally new medical terms are usually mentioned, explained or deciphered in the textbooks for doctors and health assistants. It is due to the relevance of the above mentioned issues the detailed study of concept MEDICINE is of vital importance nowadays. Regular updating of knowledge within the boundaries of modern medical paradigm, on the one hand, and the necessity of ordering the information about the medical achievements in modern educational institutions on the other hand are stimulating the present research. The description of functional parameters of the English educational discourse may contribute to a valid representation of concept MEDICINE in modern English worldview. The results of the study can be applied for creating educational materials for people studying professional English at different levels (from elementary to advanced), as well as for translation practice and compiling terminological glossaries.
In view of concept MEDICINE various ways of verbalization in diversified types of discourse that are supported by a great number of the similar topical publications in English which is universally acknowledged as a language of international communication, there is an objective requirement for systematizing the corresponding data dealing with various aspects of the above concept functioning within the English linguistic space. Since the English educational discourse is aimed at producing influence upon communication and improving communicative schemes a lot the current paper focuses on discursive parameters of the above concept within a type of educational space under consideration. Consequently constant enrichment of knowledge within the boundaries of modern English medical paradigm, on the one hand, and the importance of systematizing and ordering the information about the medical achievements in modern educational institutions on the other hand are simulating the present research project.
The present study is aimed at answering the following research questions:
What is the role of discourse in the context of university and school educational analysis?
Which medical linguistic markers are actualized within the process of verbalization of concept MEDICINE within the English educational discourse?
What are the functional characteristics of concept MEDICINE in modern English educational discourse?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research is to study the ways and means of concept MEDICINE verbalisation in the English educational discourse.
The following general scientific methods of research are used in the present paper: descriptive method, method of observation, quantification and classification methods accompanied by such special methods as systematic approach to linguistic and semantic analysis, and elements of discourse analysis.
Theoretical background of the study is based upon the research projects realized by key native and foreign scholars in the field of Linguistics whose scientific interests are concentrating upon the study of general issues of discourse organization and specific functional aspects of the English educational discourse (Aleksandrova, Mendzheritskaya, & Kharkovskaya, 2008; Bogutskaya, 2010; Karasik, 2002; Kharkovskaya & Dyumina, 2016; Shevchenko, 2008).
The notion of discourse within the context of university education is characterized by a number of specific features producing an impact upon the verification of modern educational schemes aimed at improving ways and means of professional training, medical training including. The English educational discourse is a peculiar form of the cognitive knowledge paradigm aimed at forming and developing human communicative skills, patterns of cultural behaviour, and the culture of speech (Bogutskaya, 2010).
The spread of English on the global scale can’t but produce a powerful influence upon the development of professional discourse, professional medical discourse in particular. With reference to this situation, a well-known expert Milrud (2012) used to write that within the boundaries of this type of discourse “appropriation” criterion, which indicates linguistic conformity, relevant and appropriate language use in social environment, is of paramount importance (p. 118). In relation to English as a foreign language “appropriation” criterion means the opportunity of the language to adapt to local conditions, aims, and problems of communication, as well as training and upbringing goals. Taking into the account the results of the above mentioned research projects some specific English language professional educational schemes based on different socio-cultural patterns are also developing according to their ability for adaptation and social acceptability. Thus, the development of English educational projects within the boundaries of spiritually and theoretically oriented cultures is certainly correlating with literary, philological, and worldview traditions. Comprehension, digestion of scholastic texts and their presentation is usually given priority in the teaching and learning process in a foreign language. That means that a text has a function of canonic knowledge transfer in Russian pedagogical tradition (Milrud, 2012). In the meantime, it is worth pointing out that constant modernization of educational technology these days is customary not only for Russian educational system, but also for near and far-abroad countries. Consequently, the function of business communication in modern educational discourse becomes quite significant (Kharkovskaya, 2015; Kharkovskaya, 2013). Over the last years, all the resources intended for English language acquisition to support business and professional communication are enriching the British educational system (Kharkovskaya, 2012; Kharkovskaya, 2016).
Today it is an evident fact that modern training of students studying the English language professionally is oriented on more comprehensive skill sets comprising those skills that serve to aspire the feeling of confidence while communicating on various thematically akin subjects. That is why regular replenishment or systematic enrichment of thematic vocabulary in textbooks with specific terms is of outmost importance (Kharkovskaya & Cherkunova, 2007). It is the linguistic scholars’ opinion that the work with scholastic texts contributes to the appropriate arrangement linguistic skillset necessary for an effective cross-cultural communication (Kharkovskaya & Dyumina, 2013). According to the abovementioned factors, there is a requirement of educational process organization which might lead to efficient acquisition of appropriate thematic vocabulary. Within this context, it is worth noting that the vocabulary from the sphere of medicine represents quite a popular lexical block arranged within the corresponding topical boundaries. Interestingly, many modern English textbooks offer this thematically or topically-arranged block of medical terms for learning since concept MEDICINE is presented in educational discourse as well as in other types of discourse – mass-media, advertizing, popular-science fiction, etc. From Sankov’s (2015) speculations about the American well-known achievements in the sphere of advanced diagnostic medicine that are influencing strongly upon the right choice while deciding whether to place a child in a regular or special school it logically follows that the terms related to medical diagnoses are of high frequency in the educational texts today.
It is on the ground of the above theoretical issues the research materials including different English textbooks intended for Intermediate level students (see Source list of factual materials) have been selected for the present project. A group of 460 English nouns from the sphere of medicine has been registered as a result of our observations. Such language units and educational topics as
Our observation indicated that such problems as mental health, proper nutrition and daily regimen, destructive to health factors, as well as benefits of laughter are heavily involved in modern English medical academic space.
It is discovered that active lifestyle is also quite essential for mental health. A number of medical research projects show convincingly that human
Becoming aware of mental health issues pupils studying the English language professionally are invited to reflect upon possible methods of treatment for mental health illnesses. It is noted in educational texts that the focus from current health depressants (pills, vitamins, sound sleep and relaxation) is shifting to pets that help to cure souls' ailments:
Medical linguistic markers generally describing nutrient materials –
The establishment of a proper daily regimen helping to lead a healthy life-style is strongly emphasized in the English textbooks. According to chronobiology – an interdisciplinary branch of the biological and medical sciences which is concerned with the study of biological rhythms and cyclic processes in living organisms – there must be time for everything. So the text “A time for everything” (Oxenden & Latham-Koenig, 2003) offers a lot of useful pieces of advice concerning a correct order of the day period; the authors’ recommendations are supported by the medical issues dealing with the state of a human body: in the morning the back and neck muscles are strongest and less susceptible to injury, that is why it is also the best time of day to take vitamins and go to the gym. From this perspective, many text editions are full of illustrating materials including the following medical linguistic markers –
Verbalization of concept MEDICINE in the sphere of
The first serious factor interfering with human health is the problem of smoking. Nowadays volunteers and enthusiasts of the healthy lifestyle try to focus on this problem in details and undertake measures against smoking: distribution of leaflets about the dangers of nicotine, prohibition of cigarette advertising, giving special lectures on the negative effects of smoking at schools. Moreover, the majority of modern textbooks include special units titled “Your health” where students can find articles dedicated to the negative effects of smoking. Currently, many sources of information including mass media are emphasizing the danger of smoking: the article under the title “Last gasp for smokers” (Hutchinson, 2004) dwells upon banning smoking in public places because of the nicotine which was classified as a drug equal to cocaine, cannabis, and heroin. Apart from publication fragments, textbooks hold many medical terms connected with the problem of smoking and different exercises for training medical vocabulary. Schoolchildren can get acquainted with such terms as
Another modern trend in English educational discourse is the focus on the negative effects of early awakening. The central idea of the text “Early risers bite the dust” (Oxenden & Latham-Koenig, 2003) is that scientists have found a connection between early wakening and heart diseases. The possible risks of heart attack increase in the morning, which is evidently reflected in the title “Early risers bite the dust”. The idiom “bite the dust” represents ironical attitude of the author of the article towards the common idea that early awakening makes a positive contribution to a human body.
Various emergency situations also can be harmful to human health, consequently, many English textbooks contain such units as “Accidents and dramatic experience” (Tilbury, Clementson, Rea, & Hendra, 2011) or “Emergency” (Doff & Jones, 2001). These topics inform people about various accidents and the first aid provided to the injured before the arrival of a doctor. Studying these units schoolchildren or students get useful advice on how to apply the first aid for wrist cut, burns, and heart attacks; for instance, when a person cuts a wrist it is necessary to call for a doctor and stop the bleeding applying bandages tightly. Students can benefit from studying the topics “Accidents and dramatic experience” and “Emergency” because they not only learn to give the first aid but also become aware of new medical terms:
A great variety of educational texts devoted to the
On the grounds of above mentioned issues which are currently important and frequent in educational discourse it may be concluded that modern English educational discourse is notable for its entertaining and scientific content. The objective of this type of discourse is to form competences providing the development of communicative strategies and tactics in different spheres of human life and activities on the highest professional level. These competences might be effectively built on the cognitive grounds of the thematic medical vocabulary and the corresponding professional cultural space. It is due to this the authors of many educational texts introduce the names of famous people: doctors, scientists, medical assistants (Sir William Gull, Paul Wilson, Norman Cousins) since they are usually used to indicate the ample didactic potential of modern English educational discourse.
The following conclusions were drawn as a result of the present research:
the major function of the concept MEDICINE in English textbooks (see Source list of factual material) is to order information about a person and his anthropocentric characteristics in terms of medical linguistic markers;
the key features of the concept MEDICINE in the English educational discourse are characterized by coherent and logical actualization of linguistic markers explaining the fundamentals of medicine and drawing attention to the life of English-speaking society from the perspective of high-priority linguocultural tendencies specific to modern social aspects of medical educational discourse;
medical terminological markers registered in English educational texts contribute to focusing attention upon the medical and social projects providing healthy young generation’s upbringing, and creating optimal setting for healthy way of life for overall society members; these projects are also aimed at preventing aggressive medical policies and quackery which is important for the appropriate status of concept MEDICINE in English educational discourse.
The description of functional parameters of the English educational discourse in the present research paper accompanied by textual illustrative samples from English textbooks contribute to a fair presentation of concept MEDICINE in modern English worldview which is of vital importance for publishing authentic professional textbooks, for translating professional texts for specific purposes and for compiling terminological glossaries.
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VolumeEpSBS / Volume 83 - PhR 2019