By Cally Guerin
Looking through my notes from the 2017 Writing Research Across Borders conference (WRAB) (held at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia in February), I was struck by how much of the program I was unable to participate in. Any conference with parallel sessions means missing out on many of the papers. However, this time, as a monolingual English speaker at a largely Spanish-speaking conference, I really missed out!
Although not usually a victim of FOMO (fear of missing out), this time I was acutely aware of being surrounded by fascinating conversations that I couldn’t access. What was going on around me? What are the pressing issues for those writing doctoral theses in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese? Are they the same as those faced by scholars writing in English? Is this different again when writing a thesis in English as an additional language? I suspect that many supervisors who work in English-speaking countries have little awareness of the different language and cultural conventions and expectations that come into play.
The posts here on the DoctoralWritingSIG blog have, until now, focused on the issues relating to writing a thesis in English. We cover all sorts of aspects: topics specifically focused on thesis writing; on grammar and style more broadly; on writing practices; and on the issues around identity and emotion that arise in the context of doctoral writing.
It would be of great interest to extend our understandings of the issues around doctoral writing in other languages. If you work with doctoral candidates in languages other than English, or with candidates writing in English as an additional language, we’d love to hear about your experiences and insights into the challenges faced and helpful solutions you’ve found. Or if you are a student writing your doctorate in a language other than English, you may have insights you’d like to share. We see from our website statistics that we have readers from nearly every country in the world, so there is a wealth of knowledge out there amongst you.
Here at DoctoralWritingSIG we’d like to host a special themed month on doctoral writing from the perspective of those using languages other than English. We will accept contributions in English as well as other languages. Our practice is to always review posts before they go live and this will also be the case for these submissions (with some translation help if not in English!).
Please send us your proposals (100-200 words) so we can start this conversation. We’ll work with you to prepare your ideas for publication on our website as a blog post of 600-800 words. Email your proposals before 31 July to firstname.lastname@example.org.