Antje Heine & Marlene Rummel. 2019. Funktion statt Transformation – kausale Relationen in wissenschaftlichen Texten. In: Ines-Andrea Busch-Lauer (Hg.). DaFF-Impulse – Deutsch als Fremd- und Fachsprache an Hochschulen. Berlin: Frank & Timme. 11-32.
Although causal relations are crucial to every domain of communication and especially to scientific reasoning, functional differences between the various means of expressing them are rarely discussed in teaching materials for German as a foreign language. Many exercises require learners to merely transform one structure into another, implying both arbitrary distribution of expressions to different registers and semantic equivalence of the structures in question. In this article, we examine (1) causal expressions that are typical of engineering texts in order to provide future engineering students with more adequate instructions, and (2) differences between verbal and nominal structures that scrutinize transformation tasks in the field of causal relations in general. Throughout the analysis, our own corpus Gingko will be compared to six other corpora (composed of scientific and non-scientific texts). That allows us to distinguish features specific to engineering jargon from those applying to scientific texts in general.