Data Presentation, Analysis and Language

4 thoughts on “Data Presentation, Analysis and Language”

  1. Hm, I am glad my post has inspired you! And it’s really interesting to see how differently PhD students experience the writing process. It seems like we have a lot of the same problems and some very different ones. I must admit as much as I agree with ‘language gives reality a different shape’, I don’t really have the same problems with translating from German into English – for a very simple reason: Many years ago, when I realised that I would like to become a speaker of idiomatic English, I started consuming culture and knowledge in English. Any book, television programme, film, anything, I would always get the English version. I did not want to be in a situation where the languages don’t match and where German still has primacy, you see. Pretty stupid in some ways, like when I lived in New Zealand and wouldn’t speak to other Germans because they would ‘interrupt’ my practise of English, or when I didn’t want to become friends with my neighbour in Aberdeen just because she was German (she was also a bi#*% as I later found out but anyway…). But overall I’m quite happy about that. I love reading German if that’s the original version of a book but I will always read it in English if I need to quote from it. English is a beautiful language and I am still amazed about it every single day.
    A lot of concepts don’t translate between the lnguages, of course, for interesting epistemological and idea-historical reasons (which my sweetheart might do a postdoc about). The best, I think, is to start with English and to thereby sort of forget German words. They’re not going to help you in your dissertation anyway. There’s no use getting upset about the intranslatability – but I think you know that since you said towards the end that you were moaning. Germans are much more idealistic and Anglo-Americans more empiricistic, that’s the (very) crude distinction. A lot of German concepts don’t make sense in the Anglo-American empirical world, which is why we always appear so obfuscatory and brainy to them. They, in turn, appear slow and unintelligent to us, not all the time, but sometimes (not very often actually but I have to run with this now for my argument ;)). They’re not stupid, they simply don’t do a lot of the academic stuff that we’re doing.
    I’m not sure you were searching for a solution to some kind of clearly circumscribed problem, and this isn’t a practical solution anyway, but my advice would be: Start thinking in English.
    Then there are all the other PhD writing problems…gee-wizz, it’s really crazy eh 😦 I took a day off today to clear my head and I went and bought myself two little crystals, one for balance between relaxation and activity and the other for confidence and clarity. I hope you have both on this last leg of your writing-up!! Gros bisous xxx


    1. Wow I had not expected such passionate response. Where to even begin answering?
      Yes, I was looking, and still am, for a solution, yet find it virtually impossible to follow your suggestion of forgetting about German. I am totally amazed by your ability to wipe out our mother tongue’s impact from subconscious processes. See for me it doesn’t work like this – and exactly this is the problem, insights appear predominantly in German, mixed with some English, thus the code switching. These are subconscious processes of cognitive association networks, I cannot influence.
      Yet, the probably most significant difference in our approaches is, that for me writing in English is almost like ‘going under cover’ – it is not fully and wholly me. I got asked quite often why my stories and poems are mostly in English. The two reasons for this are that English is a great language for story telling (despite the problems, I do indeed like English as a language in general), but also because I am a bit embarrassed writing stories and poems; and writing them in English kind of makes them a little less real, as an entity (not by content). The same process happens when writing my research in English; it is not quite real that way, only when I talk about it and create the personal physical space of dissemination or I talk about it in German it becomes real research, with real impact.
      So I guess the harsh summary of my argument would be: I cannot and want not ignore the German in me. Yet still need to find a way of accessing the English language on an appropriate academic level.
      I hope you enjoyed your day off! Crystals sound like a good idea … I might get my rose quartz out again. Happy Writing and frohes Schaffen 🙂 xxx


  2. Its a very helpful post for those students who are intrested in writing. Many students or experts put down their dissertation very well, but when they reach the last part i.e. writing dissertation conclusion and recommendations; they unknowingly make mistakes that hamper the whole dissertation. The final part of the dissertation must include valid recommendations with a meaningful conclusion. The pattern for writing any dissertation is given below:

    Thesis statement and methodology
    Summary results
    Discussion of summary results
    Dissertation recommendations and conclusion

    Email me for any help or you can try mailing as these guys also helped me with my dissertation.



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