Language and linguistics articles from across Nature Portfolio

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion |

    In a multilinguistic science learning environment, science educators should rely on effective pedagogies to teach students with different mother languages and socio-cultural backgrounds. Institutes that invest in bias awareness training for students and instructors will help to create an inclusive learning environment. This can be achieved by opening science classrooms to social science researchers who can inform the development of a signature pedagogy of science.

    • Hagar I. Labouta
  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Historical linguistics is the study of language change and stability, of the history of individual languages, and of the relatedness between languages. In spite of numerous acknowledgements, the adoption of quantitative methods in historical linguistics is still far from being mainstream and it falls below the level of other branches of linguistics. This comment considers the adoption of quantitative methods in recent historical linguistics research, and compares a study on 2012 publications with a similar study conducted seven years later. This comment argues for the advantages of a wider adoption of quantitative methods among historical linguists, and considers various reasons for the relatively slow progress in this direction. It also clarifies when quantitative methods are not the preferred route.

    • Barbara McGillivray
    •  & Gard B. Jenset
  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    In this article, and the topical collection accompanying it, we aim to challenge so-called knowledge translation (hereinafter KT) in medicine and healthcare. The abbreviation ‘KT’ refers to a variety of scientific practices and research activities, bound together by the common goal of ‘bridging the gap’ between science in laboratories and clinical application, and, more generally, putting research-based knowledge into policy and practical care. Our objective, then, is to challenge KT by working through and with the convergence and divergences between different translational epistemologies. As KT has had a massive impact on practical healthcare, global health, and knowledge policy, as well as governance relating to sustainability, a critical examination of KT is of huge academic and societal significance. The point of departure for the contributors to this collection is the observation that KT is based upon a reductive understanding of translation and knowledge transmission. Standard models of KT take translation and knowledge transmission as a phenomenon for granted, and accordingly downplay the complexity of translation as an entangled material, textual and cultural process, which inevitably affects the ‘original scientific message’. By contrasting KT with historical, cultural, and epistemic differences from its scientific ‘prehistory’, and by analysing it with reference to broader humanistic and material views of translation, we aim to develop concepts of medical translation that can cope with contemporary epistemic and cultural differences.

    • John Ødemark
    •  & Eivind Engebretsen