Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет



March 16, 2007


Ilya Martchenko has taken part in the 36th International Philological Conference (March12—17, 2007) with a report in applied linguistics that covered language programs at POISK Centre.

The study was titled ’Understanding Scientific and Technical Text in an Unfamiliar Language: Role of Background Knowledge, Motivation and Comparative Analysis’ and was presented at the section Languages in the Sphere of Professional Communication [1]. The presentation itself took place on March 16, 2007 at the Faculty of Philology, Saint Petersburg State University.

The research was prepared in collaboration with the Centre du Français Scientifique, a language centre founded at Saint Petersburg State University in 1998. Dr. Dmitry Lisachenko, Ilya Martchenko’s co-author, is the head of the Centre.

The presentation has considered methods used at POISK Centre to encourage IYPT participants to learn foreign languages. English has nearly become the universal language of science and it may seem that other European languages are ’marginal’. However, for physicists, including YPT participants, they are of invaluable importance to exchange ideas in physics, learn, communicate with other persons of the same interests, find information in articles and books [2], [3], [4], [5].

It was shown that there are many close similarities among scientific terminology and grammar in many Indo-European languages that makes it simple for a physicist to understand scientific texts or lectures, even in an unfamiliar language.

Curious examples of such practices included the experience of physicists Thomas Young, André-Marie Ampère, and even Richard Feynman who had preferred to give lectures and seminars in Portuguese with almost no previous experience in that language [6].

Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel winner for quark theory, now gives a strong impetus to the development of comparative methods in linguistics. Even a brief introduction in these methods would seriously help physicists to better understand that languages are in close relations and it is not impossible to quickly achieve basic reading, speaking and comprehension skills [4].

An experimental quantitative study performed by Ilya Martchenko in 2006—2007 has helped to analyze and clarify some aspects of understanding and using various Indo-European languages for ’special purposes’, namely the active communication in physics.

[1] И.А. Марченко, Д.А. Лисаченко. Понимание научно-технического текста на незнакомом языке: роль знаний по специальности, мотивации и сравнительного анализа. Материалы XXXVI Межд. фил. конф., фил. факультет СПбГУ, Санкт-Петербург,12—17 марта 2007 г.

[2] D. Lisachenko. Le français par la science : une langue étrangère enseignée par un scientifique aux scientifiques. Materiaux du colloque international «Apprendre une langue de spécialité : enjeux culturels et linguistiques» (École Polytechnique, Paris,14—15 Sept. 2006).

[3] Étiemble. Le jargon des sciences (Éditions Hermann, Paris, 1966).

[4] P. Alberch. Language in contemporary science: the tool and the cultural icon. Communications du colloque «Sciences et langues en Europe» (Paris,14—16 Nov. 1994).

[5] J.-M. Lévy-Leblond. La langue tire la science. Communications du colloque «Sciences et langues en Europe» (Paris,14—16 Nov. 1994).

[6] R. P. Feynman. Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman (Norton, New York, NY, 1985).

[7] M. Gell-Mann. Distant relationships among human languages, a lecture at Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, March 26, 2003, http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/download/colloq/gellmann1.rm

Ответственный за содержание: С. С. Смирнова, s.s.smirnova@spbu.ru