Language and Linguistics

Characteristics of scientific language definition importance

Scientific language

The scientific language is used in articles and books specialized in various fields of science: biology, physics, chemistry, medicine, geology, astronomy, technology, computer, etc. Scientific language its characteristics

Human beings have different kinds of language to communicate ideas and thoughts: colloquial or everyday language, which we use to communicate daily, literary, which we find in novels and poems, legal (used by lawyers) and scientific-technical , among others.

Scientific language is used by specialists to communicate observations, discoveries or recommendations, in academic or research centers, or in books and articles in specialized magazines.

As advances, discoveries and innovations have occurred, scientific language has been separating from everyday language, in order to encompass new realities and incorporate new meanings.

Characteristics of scientific language


Scientific language tries to be as precise as possible about the object, topic or process it is explaining, with clear sentences, without unnecessary synonyms or adjectives or rambling (without straying from the topic it is dealing with).


Scientific language avoids subjectivity, so generally scientific papers are written in third person and frequently using the impersonal ( ” it is a preliminary study of the area assessment conducted” for example).

Use of specialized vocabulary

The different scientific and technical disciplines use a vocabulary that is often not understandable to those who are not part of that profession, or they use words of daily use with a meaning other than everyday.

That is why the existence of specialized dictionaries of physics, botany, medicine, etc.

Unique or denotative character

Scientific language uses precise terms, which are not confusing, avoiding literary figures or unclear words. That is why it is said that it uses a denotative or univocal language (with only one meaning).

This character facilitates its universality and that it is easy to translate. You will frequently observe that scientific articles, in addition to the original language, are accompanied by an abstract in English.

Exhibition and argumentation

Scientific language is expository and argumentative. Presents the topic or object on which it is going to deal, or makes a statement and after presenting it explains the theory or point of view. Both steps are repeated when it comes to refuting a theory or another argument.

Descriptive language

In certain branches of science the use of descriptive language is frequent, as in botany or zoology, using abundant specialized terms.

Use of neologisms and dead languages

Part of the difficulty in understanding scientific language is due to the use of neologisms, new words created to explain new techniques or discoveries.

It is also common, especially in the branches of biology, the use of languages ​​such as Latin to name or classify new species. This is called a scientific name.

Presence of formulas, abbreviations and graphics

Scientific language is closely related to the use of symbols, nomenclatures, formulas and numerical data. The articles are usually supported by figures, graphs, columns and tables.

Importance of scientific language

Scientific language is part of the mechanism that gives credibility to a study in any discipline. It is designed so that it can be evaluated by other researchers in the rest of the world, that is, to be universal, and to be able to be verified or compared with other similar investigations. Scientific language its characteristics

It is necessary because not always everyday language can explain phenomena of life and nature, increasingly complex and alien to everyday experience, as happens in fields such as genetics, quantum physics, or developments such as nanotechnology.

Differences from common language

Although scientific language is detached from natural or everyday language (it is not another language, although it sometimes seems like it), there are several elements that differentiate it.

Discard subjectivity

Scientific language rules out the use of the first and second person and tries to be as impersonal as possible. In this sense, it shares similarities with other specialized languages, such as legal.

Specialized terminology

Scientific language is full of technical words or neologisms that can only be understood by specialists or students of each discipline or science.

Rejection of imprecision

Scientific language rules out the use of too generic terms and tries not to be speculative or reflect personal opinions. Accuracy is essential.


Scientific language has a very close relationship with mathematics and with the use of statistical data, which takes it away from everyday language and is reflected in the use of formulas, graphs and tables.

Needs reinterpretation

To be accessible to the common public, scientific language must be “translated” into a more accessible language. This is what science journalists and popularizers do.

Examples of scientific language

In botany

The potato or potato (S olanum tuberosum ), is a food species of the Solanaceae family, native to the Andes. It is a herbaceous, tuberous, perennial plant through its tubers, deciduous, with a semi-deciduous stem that can reach up to one meter in height.

In physics

Newton’s Second Law: The change in motion is directly proportional to the printed motive force and occurs according to the straight line along which that force is printed. Scientific language its characteristics

In astronomy

Definition of black hole: It is a region of space-time where gravity is so intense that nothing – neither particles nor electromagnetic radiation such as light – can escape from there.

In genetics

Molecular markers are tools that help to study and understand nature, from the analysis of different molecules, such as proteins, RNA and DNA.

The most widely used markers for decades have been isoenzymes, but now there are new techniques that provide more information on genetic diversity, ethology, adaptation, speciation, etc.

In chemistry

“If 4 chlorine atoms act on the 6-sided prism C12 H12, the chlorine will take two hydrogen atoms and this hydrogen will be replaced by two chlorine atoms, forming C12 H10Cl2 …”. Auguste Laurent (1807-1853).

In medicine

“The involvement of the upper limb usually begins as a distal oligoarthritis that affects the wrists, metacarpophalangeal (MF) joints, especially 2nd or 3rd, or proximal interphalangeal (PIP). The inflammatory signs follow a classic nictameral rhythm, with a symmetrical character ”. In Medina Macías, S. et al: Rheumatic hand surgery . Scientific language its characteristics

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