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Lengua Inglesa II

Unit 7: Coherence and Cohesion
2008-2009

Mick O’Donnell
VI-bis 302
michael.odonnell@uam.es

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

1. Course Information

My Name: Mick O’Donnell
Office: Modulo VI-bis 302 (near secretary)
Email: michael.odonnell@uam.es

Webpage for course:
http://www.wagsoft.com/L2/index.html

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0. In context of the “plan”
8-12 Dec Grammar: Topic 6 COORDINATION and SUBORD
15-19 Dec Practical exercises topic 6
8-9 Jan Grammar: Topic 7 COHESION AND COHERENCE
12-16 Jan Practical exercises topic 7
11-13 Feb Grammar: topic 8
16-20 Feb Practical exercises topic 8 +Introduction to grammar project
23-27 Feb Grammar in text
2-6 March Seminar on Grammar Project
9-13 March Grammar in text
16-20 March Grammar in text
23-27 March Seminar on Grammar Project
30-3 April Grammar in text
14-17 April Grammar in text
20-24 April Grammar in text
27-30 April Grammar in text
4-8 May Exam practice reading 9
11-15 May Exam practice reading 10
18-22 May Oral presentations. Exam

1. Cohesion
1. 1 Introduction

"the use of explicit linguistic devices to signal
relations between parts of texts."

• Grammatical devices:
1. Reference:
I met a boy named John. He was nice.
2. Ellipsis:
We saw a movie and [] had a meal.
3. Substitution:
Do you like icecream. Yes, I do
4. Conjunction:
He cheated on me. Consequently, I left him.
5. Lexical Cohesion
I’ve met another boy. This boy is sincere.

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1. Cohesion
1. 1 Introduction

Showing how cohesion works
1. Reference:
I met a boy. John was nice. (he)
2. Ellipsis:
We saw a movie and we had a meal. (ellipsed)
3. Substitution:
Do you like icecream. Yes, I like icecream (do)
4. Conjunction:
He cheated on me. I left him. (Consequently)
5. Lexical Cohesion
I’ve met another boy.
This student is sincere. (boy)

1. Cohesion
1. 2 Referential Cohesion

• A nominal reference can refer to either:
• An entity referred to elsewhere in the text (endophoric
reference):
I like John. He is nice.
• An entity external to the text (exophoric reference):
I like John.

• Cohesion includes only the first of these cases.
• The chain of references to an entity tie the
meanings together.
• Thus the name ‘cohesion’.

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1. Cohesion
1. 2 Reference

Two main types of referential cohesion:
• Anaphoric reference: the writer refers back to
something previously mentioned in the text.
I met a boy named John. He was nice.
• Cataphoric reference: The writer introduces us to a
participant as if known, then later introduces that
participant:
Here he comes, our award-winning host... it's John Doe!"

1. Cohesion
1. 2 Reference

Three main forms of referential devices:
• Personal Pronouns:
• 1st and 2nd person always exophoric
• 3rd person forms can be endo- or exophoric
• As Head: He As Determiner: His arm
• Demonstratives:
• this/that, these/those, here/there, now/then
• As Head: I loved her. But that was not enough.
• As Determiner: I met a man. This man was kind.
• As Adjunct:I thought France was cheap. There I was wrong
• Comparatives: another, similar, bigger, as big as, equally,
etc.
• Differ from personals and demonstratives in that they do not refer
to the same entity, but to a constrasting one or set.
• E.g., Have another biscuit. (makes reference to the first biscuit)

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1. Cohesion
1. 3 Ellipsis

Ellipsis: where part of the sentence is left out, in such a
way that the reader knows what is left out, and thus makes
a connection to the prior text (thus ‘cohesion’).
• Cases:
1. Ellipsis of Noun: :
Q: Give me some money! A: I dont have any -. [money]
2. Ellipsis of clause part: yes-no questions: Rather than
answering a yes-no question with a whole clause, one provides
just the Subject and finite, ellipsing the rest.
Q: Can you row? A: yes, I can. [row]
3. Ellipsis of clause part: wh- questions: The answer can
provide only the parts which are relavnt to the question.
Q: Who is coming? A: John is [coming]
Q: Who is coming? A: John [is coming]
Q: When is he coming A: [He is coming] Tomorrow.
4. Ellipsis of clauses: Rather than answering a yes-no question
with a clause, one provides just ‘yes’ or ‘no:
Q: Can you row? A: Yes. [I can row]

1. Cohesion
1. 3 Ellipsis

Other Examples
A: I think you ought to tell me who you are, first.
B: Why? [ought I to tell you who I am]

A: They're at it again.
B: Who are? [at it again]

A: Does it hurt?
B: [] Not any more.

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1. Cohesion
1. 4 Substitution

Substitution: in many cases where words are
ellipsed, a single word can be given to mark the
missing words
• Cases:
1. Substitution of Noun or noun phrase:
Q: Give me your wallet! A: I don’t have one.
2. Substitution of clause part: yes-no questions:.
Q: Do you study English? A: yes, I do. [study English]
3. Substitution for whole clause
A: You need to lose weight.
B: I know, but I don’t like to be told so. [that I need...]

A: Does your watch tell you what year it is?
B: Of course not. [Of course my watch does not tell me
what year it is]

1. Cohesion
1. 4 Lexical Cohesion

Lexical Cohesion: the writer uses choices of lexical
(open class) items to make the reader aware
that she is referring again to an entity
• Cases:
1. Repetition:
I met a bear. The bear chased me.
2. Synonyms:
I saw a raven. The bird was beautiful.
They all cheered, and he loved the applause.
3. Part-whole:
I got the bottle and took out the cork.
4. Antonyms:
I fell asleep but was woken by a loud bang.

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2. Coherence

• Cohesion concerns how the parts of a text
connect together.
• Coherence concerns whether a text makes
sense as a set of ideas.
• A text is cohesive in regards to the language it
is written in, and it is coherent to the individual
reader or hearer.
• Coherent / incohesive:
• Mary's exam was about to start. The palms were
sweaty.
• Incoherent / cohesive:
• Mary's exam was about to start. Her friends had
remembered her birthday.

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