These texts are aimed at providing scientific information. The function of the scientific-technical style/ substyle can be defined as “explanation (in the general sense of this word), which comprises reinforcement(закрепление) of the process of cognition, enunciation (изложение) of the results of cognition as well as recording the ways of implication of these results”.
Characteristic features of these texts are:
informativity (the value of content);
consistency (strict coherence, clear links between the main idea and details);
precision and objectivity and resulting from this clarity and comprehensibility [Streltsov, 2012: 6].
The scientific-technical texts are informative texts. They are composed by one or several authors for one or several readers. Their basic communicative function consists in the description of objects and phenomena. Cognitive information prevails in all kinds of such texts. Cognitive information implies the objective facts about the external world [Streltsov, 2012: 6].
The composition of all scientific and technical texts is more or less standard. It comprises introduction, interpretation (main body) and conclusion. In some texts the great communicative value falls onto the headings, which, actually, perform the function of introduction and this fact doesn’t change core of the matter. [Tsaturova, Kashirina, 2008: 87-88].
The most characteristic language features of scientific as well as technical texts are standard composition, use of clichés (which is explained by the prevalence of the cognitive information). At the syntactical level there observed syntactically complete utterances, analytical constructions, passive voice, impersonal and indefinite-personal (неопределённо-личные) constructions. The prevalence of the present tense of the verbs contributes to the effect of objectivity (thanks to this the information is perceived as timeless, as the ultimate truth). There are many complex sentences containing terminology and general scientific vocabulary (общенаучная лексика). <…> The author of any such text is considered a representative of all specialists in some particular field, that’s why such texts practically never reveal the author’s individuality. Hence comes such essential feature of these texts as impersonality.
However, in spite of the similarity of all the above mentioned features, the scientific and technical substyles should still be differentiated on the ground of the dominant function (функциональная домината).
The common to both styles/ substyles denotative function of language (consisting in presenting information and explaining (in the general sense of this word)) has peculiarities in the two kinds of texts. This function is revealed in the pure form in scientific texts. As for technical texts, they, unlike scientific texts, are aimed not only at presenting factual information and explaining but also at assigning the definite actions to the readers. This peculiarity of technical texts makes them in some respect similar to the texts of official documents. [Tsaturova, Kashirina, 2008: 87-88].
Drawing the parallels between the texts of technical documents and the texts of official documents is considered reasonable. This view is held, for example, by S.P. Kushneryuk, the author of “Documentary linguistics”. In the section “Linguistic characteristics of the documentary texts in the sphere of scientific-technical communication” he gives a number of proofs to support his opinion. [Kushneryuk, 2011]. Practicing technical writers also point out the similarity between the texts of technical and official documents stating that recently there has arisen a special style of technical documents comprising the features of the scientific prose style and those of the style of official documents. [A. Kurilina, 2008-2014].
The instructional character of technical texts is revealed in the set of their main genres: technical specifications (addressed to specialists), all kinds of instruction manuals and guides addressed to the specialists and laymen (i.e. common users). [Tsaturova, Kashirina, 2008: 90-91].