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The Birth of Scientific English Reading Answers IELTS Sample

Updated on 13 December, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

To acquire top band scores in IELTS, one needs thorough preparation of all the sections. Hence, regular practice is the key. The passage segment is a part of the reading section that contains various questions based on the entire passage.

In this article, examinees can practice the sample on ‘the birth of scientific English.’ Notably, the FAQ section explains how to approach each question.   

Scientific discoveries need a suitable channel, like research publications, to reach the public. Today, numerous journals and magazines on the internet contain almost the entire scientific database. Most of these international journals have English as their primary language. The birth of scientific English has opened the doors for innovative and cutting-edge research to cross several borders. However, the inclusion of this language in publishing science-based work has an exciting story. Before the 17th century, Latin was the most important language for European researchers and intellectuals. In fact, no one knew how to write scientific work in English.

In the period from the 14th to the 16th century, the European Renaissance was instrumental in motivating individuals to explore various aspects of human civilization. During this tenure, European states indulged in the revival of learning. These nations invested in exploring trade and linguistic knowledge. The curiosity amongst scholars led to an expansion of revolution in the scientific sector. This renewed interest was pivotal in the birth of scientific English beyond the European continent to countries like America and India. However, popularizing this international language was a result of discoveries like magnetism. For instance, the theory of magnetism led to the invention of the compass. This equipment proved as a catalyst in the birth of scientific English.   

During this phase, theories of astronomy, one of the most important scientific revolutions, found its linguistic channel through English. In addition, theories like the movement of Earth with respect to the stars and the planets, which Copernicus developed in the period, 1473 to 1543, ramped up the birth of scientific English profoundly. The credit for the increasing popularity of English has to be given to England. The scholars of this country adopted Copernican ideas and implemented them in their scientific culture. Two of the most notable names in this process were John Wallis and John Wilkins. The duo contributed by facilitating the establishment of the Royal Society around 1660. The aim was simple. This society was formulated to promote empirical scientific findings and research.

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The birth of scientific English gained momentum with the formation of similar European societies. Until the mid-17th century, scientific writings were not available in English. Material like textbooks, encyclopedias, translations, and other popular discoveries was published in respective native languages like English. It was Newton who published his work on Optics (properties of light) in English. Before this release, he published Principia, the well-known mathematical treatise in Latin. Researchers across Europe were highly inclined towards releasing their work in Latin. The reasons for this persuasion were simple. Across the globe, scholars, scientists, and intellectuals preferred Latin as the apt tongue for studying scientific discoveries. On the contrary, English was popular amongst the local audience and the general public. As a result, only popular science was written in English. Another vital aspect of using Latin as the scientific language was related to secrecy and confidentiality.

For instance, some scientists used to put forth ideas that weren’t concretely implemented in the real world. Presenting such concepts in English could dispose of such secret and sensitive information to the local audience. Hence, the birth of scientific English took considerable time. During the mid-17th century, the concept of Intellectual Property Rights became quite prevalent in the scientific community. Researchers were cautious in publishing their original work, which was a result of intense hard work. Also, there was a concern about the commercial exploitation of scientific discoveries and concepts. On the social front, Latin was considered to be more suitable for scholars, intellectuals, and gentlemen. Since this language wasn’t highly popular amongst the masses, releasing technical and innovative material had a great probability of reaching only the ‘knowledgeable’ audience. Notably, the use of Latin and obscure languages were common among Mathematicians. They intended to keep their discoveries confidential and wrote their work in ciphers. These ciphers were deposited in a sealed box under the confinements of the Royal Society. Even Doctors considered Latin to be an 'insider language.’

The birth of scientific English also took considerable time due to the lack of technical vocabulary. This language wasn’t highly evolved during the 17th century. It also had limited grammatical resources to present scientific ideas and discuss empirical relations. In 1664, members of the Royal Society established a publication in English. This decision was taken to encourage linguistic reach for a wider public. Gradually, researchers published monographs in English. In 1665, Robert Hooke used scientific English to explain his microscopic experiments in his work, ‘Micrographia.’ Soon, in the same year, the journal, ‘Philosophical Transactions’ came into existence. This publication was perhaps the foundation of the birth of scientific English. Notably, it contained short and concise accounts of certain experiments during that era.

The growth of scientific English wasn’t an exponential phenomenon. Soon, Germany became a leading source of scientific discoveries. As a result, the European continent witnessed German as a major language of science. By the end junction of the 18th century, there were approximately 400 German scientific journals. On the other hand, there were only 50 active journals in England. The birth of scientific English is thus similar to a see-saw. First, it faced a strong challenge from Latin. Next, it had its own grammatical limitations. The rise of Germany as a major location for scientific discoveries also halted its widespread utility. However, the industrial revolution proved instrumental in creating a new vocabulary, giving rise to professional societies. Hence, from the 19th century, scientific English became a widely-used language in the scholar community. 

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Examinees need to carefully analyze the reading answers IELTS sample to answer the related questions. It is also crucial to follow the instructions carefully.

In this case, examinees should scan the story of scientific English and locate the correct answers. This section offers a glimpse of some of the main questions.

Complete the required summary.

Choose around one to two words from the essay for each answer.

1. In Europe, scientific English didn’t find a comprehensive utility until the formulation of the nation-state. Hence, in the beginning, European intellectuals considered _____ as an important scientific language 

2. In Britain, scientists believed that English lacked _____ and _____, which were some of the main reasons for taking considerable time to become a popular language

3. To keep their work highly confidential, scholars like mathematicians and _____ perceived Latin to be an apt language


4. Scientists and scholars believed that English did not have _____ to express their ideas

5. The birth of scientific English gained momentum with the formation of _____ in 1660

6. The _____ language posed a significant challenge to the widespread popularity of English as a scientific language

7. The _____ in the 19th century was instrumental in accelerating the birth of scientific English  

Answer TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN after evaluating the passage

TRUE: If the given line aligns with the essay

FALSE: If the sentence does not adhere to the passage

NOT GIVEN: If the sentence and its content is not available in the essay

8. The most important discovery during the Renaissance was the theory of magnetism

9. In Renaissance Europe, scientists had fierce competition with each other

 10. Around the 16th century, scholars indulged in exploring several learning avenues

Choose a maximum of two words from the passage to complete the correlations.

11. Identify the language’s utility:

Latin: Original Science, English: _____ Science

12. Examples:

Latin: _____, English: Encyclopedias

13. Target audience

Latin: International Scholars, English: _____


Question Serial NumberAnswerExplanation

A) Latin


In the sixth line of the first paragraph of this reading answers IELTS sample, one can clearly find the answer. According to the passage, Latin was the most important language for European intellectuals and researchers before the 17th century. 


A) Technical vocabulary; grammatical resources


Both answers are present in the sixth paragraph of the story of scientific English. One can clearly read that English lacks technical vocabulary. Also, the limited grammatical resources made it difficult to establish empirical relations.



A) doctors


To complete this statement, one must scan through the fifth paragraph of this reading answers IELTS sample. Eighth line onwards, there is a mention of the lack of Latin’s popularity amongst the masses. Hence, scholars released technical and innovative material in this language. This way, only a ‘knowledgeable’ audience could analyze the content. There is a mention of mathematicians in the final lines of this paragraph. Further, the writer mentions how doctors considered Latin an ‘insider language.’ So, ‘doctors’ is the correct answer.


Ans. Grammatical resources

One can locate the answer to this incomplete sentence in the sixth paragraph. In the second line, the writer explains how English didn’t evolve during the 17th century. The lack of grammatical resources made it challenging to put forth scientific ideas and empirical relations. The trick to answering such questions is to locate essential keywords in the birth of scientific English passage.

In this case, ‘ideas’ and ‘English’ are the most important terms. Also, one should have an adequate understanding of the sample’s order.



A) Royal Society


Read paragraph three from its fifth line. The writer mentions how scholars adopted Copernican ideas in the scientific culture. Next is a remark on John Wallis and John Wilkins, who helped establish the Royal Society in 1660. One must relate the sentences to understand how credit for the increasing popularity of English is connected to the formulation of this society.



A) German



The answer is present at the beginning of the seventh paragraph. The writer mentions how Germany became the major source of science-based discoveries. In the next line, one can read that the entire European continent acknowledged German as the main language of science. So, it is clear that the growth and popularity of English faced practical challenges from the presence of the German language.



A) industrial revolution



One can find this question’s solution in the last paragraph of the reading answers IELTS sample. The industrial revolution played a significant role in developing the vocabulary of this global language. This way, the scholar community initiated the use of scientific English in the 19th century. A trick to locating this answer quickly is to scan the passage for the words, ‘19th century.’ This way, one can save time in reading the entire passage.





Locate the first line of the third paragraph. The sentence clearly states that theories of astronomy were one of the most important scientific discoveries. Hence, this statement is untrue according to the reading answers IELTS sample.






After reading the birth of scientific English passage thoroughly, it is clear that this information is unavailable in any paragraph. There are only two instances of the mention of the Renaissance. Notably, none of them provide details about any competition among European scholars. So, the candidate should confidently write ‘NOT GIVEN’ as the answer.




The answer to this question tests a person's logical ability and critical thinking skills. In the second paragraph, one must read the content from the third line. The terms or phrases like ‘revival of learning,’ ‘linguistic knowledge,’ and ‘exploring trade’ imply several learning avenues. Also, this paragraph starts by mentioning the 14th to 16th-century era. Hence, one must connect all these factors and deduce that the statement is factually correct.


A) Popular


The tenth line of the fourth paragraph provides a clear-cut answer to complete this correlation. Also, one can find multiple instances throughout this reading answers IELTS sample about the journey of English’s popularity in the scientific domain.



A) Principia/ Mathematical Treatise


The fifth line of the fourth paragraph contains the answer to this question. Both encyclopedias and Latin are present in this section. Hence, one can find the answer in such a paragraph. The writer mentions how Newton published ‘Principia’ in Latin. Therefore, answering this straightforward correlation does not require much effort.



A) Local audience


The fourth paragraph of this IELTS passage mentions how English was more suitable for the local audience and general public. One can locate this information on the ninth line of this section. As these questions are relatively straightforward, candidates should try answering them as quickly as possible. A pro tip is to analyze the birth of scientific English reading passage thoroughly. This way, it becomes easier to correlate the content chronologically.

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