The bewildering complexity of the biology register
Research in Corpus Linguistics
While considerable research has been conducted on the register analysis of English language tertiary textbooks, relatively little is explored about the register analytical features of secondary textbooks. The purpose of the present pedagogically-driven study is to analyse the register of biology textbooks for secondary students from the point of view of English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching by describing the register of the biology corpus (BIOCOR) that 10th grade students need to process
... ts need to process during their studies at a bilingual secondary school. The research reports on the characteristic linguistic features of the BIOCOR with regard to the complexity of the texts syntactic structure. The BIOCOR (consisting of 7,021 words) is compared to a reference corpus (REFCOR) of general English texts at a CEFR B2 level (comprising 7,098 words) by exploring the frequency of ten types of syntactic structures (simple, compound and complex sentences of various number of dependent and independent clauses). The results of the investigation disclose that syntactic simplicity is prevalent in the BIOCOR: simple sentences abound, complex sentences are used in a modest manner, while complex-compound sentences are hardly present in the corpus. The syntactic simplicity of the biology textbook can be regarded as one of the linguistic features revealing the non-academic but popularizing nature of the secondary textbook register.