Linguistics and the Human Sciences, Vol 14, No 1-2 (2018)

The Language of Vietnamese School Science Textbooks: A Transitivity Analysis of Seven Lessons (Texts) of Biology 8

Van Van Hoang
Issued Date: 10 Apr 2020

Abstract


In this article, an attempt is made to explore in some depth the transitivity features of seven lessons (texts) of a Vietnamese science textbook – Sinh học 8 (Biology 8). The findings show that in constructing biological knowledge in their texts, the Vietnamese biologists as textbook writers have employed very high frequency of material and relational processes, virtually no behavioural process, very low percentage of mental, verbal and existential processes, relative small number of circumstances, high percentage of participants/Subjects, high lexical density, high frequency of grammatical metaphor, and only two types of expansion clause complex: elaboration and enhancement. These transitivity features constitute part of what Halliday (2005a: 59) refers to as the ‘prototypical syndrome’ that characterizes the language of Vietnamese school science textbooks. They explain in part why the language of school science textbooks often creates a feeling of ‘alienation’ (Halliday and Martin, 1993: 2) to school students.

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DOI: 10.1558/lhs.31751

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