Cohesion in English

2590 Words Feb 24th, 2011 11 Pages
0. Introduction: Meaning of Cohesion

One thing that comes to mind at the mention of cohesion is the word: text. A text can be written or spoken, prose or verse, dialogue or monologue, etc. It ranges from a few sentences to thousands. A text is not usually defined by size. It is not a grammatical unit but a semantic unit; it is a unit of language in use and any attempt to analyse a text usually shows that it is a product of an ongoing process of meaning. Cohesion prevents texts from being a mere collection of sentences. Johnstone maintains that cohesion is “what distinguishes a written text or a conversion from a random list of sentences” (118). Linguists have defined cohesion in different ways. For Matthews, cohesion is “the
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One important thing to know about the use of him….he... him…he…and his in the passage is that their meaning depends on the reader’s ability to form a kind of “mental connection” between them and their antecedent .i.e. Joe (cf. Toolan 26). Essentially, anaphoric reference of the type identified above occurs when the writer wants to avoid unnecessary repetition. Hence, not only does it help to link meaning within the text, anaphoric reference also helps to remove monotony in a text. Anaphoric reference is equally achieved when a writer or speaker switches from the use of an indefinite article to the use of the definite article apparently in the subsequent mention of the same thing. Consider the use of the in this short passage: “Jacob’s wife gave birth to a set of triplets. The triplets were very pretty but he had no money to take care of them. So he went out begging for arms.” The use of “the” with “triplets” is informed by the previous mention of the word, and “the” therefore functions anaphorically. Apart from anaphoric reference, there is also another kind of reference known as cataphoric reference. Although cataphoric reference is less common than anaphoric, it can perform cohesive function in both spoken and written texts. In cataphoric reference, something is mentioned in the abstract before it is identified. For example: “Here he comes, our award-winning host…it’s Johnmary!” The use of cataphoric reference can
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