ERIC Number: ED185586
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Text Cohesion and the Study of Written Discourse.
Witte, Stephen P.
M. A. K. Halliday and R. Hasan have provided a system for analyzing the cohesive relations that enable a sequence of T-units to be considered a complete text. (A T-unit consists of a main clause and all its dependent clauses.) These concepts of cohesion proved effective in analyzing the differences between five "high" and five "low" quality essays written by college freshmen. At the most general level of analysis, the two essay sets differed according to the mean number of words separating cohesive ties, with more cohesive ties appearing in T-units from the good essays. The Halliday-Hasan classifications for span of text also helped distinguish between good and poor writers, with the good writers using substantially more immediate ties and fewer mediated-remote ties than the poor writers. Mediated ties appeared about eight times more frequently in the better essays, a finding that further supported the notion of extending the lexical-semantic domain of a given T-unit beyond its normal bounds. It was proposed that poor writers' dependence on mediated-remote ties partially explained their frequent failure to elaborate and extend lexical-semantic domains, a shortcoming that prevented them from providing as much really new information as the good writers did. (Examples of each of the types of cohesive ties in the Halliday-Hasan system are attached.) (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (31st, Washington, DC, March 13-15, 1980).