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Independent Studies on Linguistics

Cohesive Devices on The New York Times Online Newspaper: The Career of Prabowo
Subianto
Amalia Wulansari Citra Andari 121211233058
English Department
Universitas Airlangga

Abstract
News is an important aspect of newspaper. The author has to consider the language they use since it is
important to help them to connect the words, sentences and paragraph in news articles. This study
examined cohesive devices used in an article of The New York Times Online Newspaper titled
`Indonesia Candidate Tied to Human Rights Abuses Stirs Unease` published on March 23rd, 2014. The
aim of this study is to identify the grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion that mostly used in the
article. The theory used in this study is the theory of types of cohesive devices proposed by Halliday
and Hasan (1976) and Renkema (2004), especially for lexical cohesion. The data of this study was
collected by downloading the article from The New York Times website www.nytimes.com. The results
of this study are (1) grammatical cohesion that used in the article are reference, substitution, ellipsis,
and conjunctions (2) lexical cohesion that used in the article are reiteration and collocation. The
conclusion of this study is the grammatical cohesion is more dominant than lexical cohesion in the
article.
Keywords: Cohesive Devices, Grammatical Cohesion, Lexical Cohesion, The New York Times,
Online Newspaper

Introduction
In discourse, most attention has been paid for cohesion and coherence usually called
connectivity. The connections of sentences are important elements in discourse. According to
Halliday and Hasan (1976), cohesion refers to the relations of meaning that exists in a text.
Meanwhile, according to Richard (as cited in Paltridge, 2000) cohesion refers to grammatical
cohesion and lexical relationships among different elements of a text which are called as
cohesive devices. Grammatical cohesion is divided into four categories: reference,
substitution, ellipsis, and conjunction (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). Meanwhile, lexical cohesion
divided into two categories: reiteration and collocation (Renkema, Introduction to Discourse
Studies, 2004).
The data of this study is an article of The New York Times online newspaper titled
Indonesia Candidate Tied to Human Rights Abuses Stirs Unease which was published on
March 26th, 2014. This article ws chosen as the object of this study because it was discussed
in Indonesia for few days after the article was published. It was proven by popular websites
which

discussed

the

article

such

as

Tempo.co,

Kompas.com,

Tribunnews.com,

Metrotvnews.com, Viva.co.id and VOA Indonesia. These websites were re-informed what was
being informed in the article in Indonesian. This article is chosen because it is a manifestation
of discourse. The definition of discourse is something that runs from one to another
(Renkema, Introduction to Discourse Studies, 2004). The aim of this study is to find the
grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion that exist in the article based on the theory
proposed by Halliday and Hasan (1976) and supporting theory proposed by Renkema (2004),
especially for lexical cohesion.
The previous studies were applying the theory of cohesive devices which is the same
theory with this study. They are; Michael, Muthusamy, Suppiah, Joseph and Matsurina
(2013), Febriani (2014), and Shahnaz and Imtiaz (2014). However, none of these studies
analysed about cohesive devices in the online newspaper.
Theoretical Framework
The most salient element of discourse is the connection of sentences or utterances.
This connectedness is involving cohesion as the connection in discourse. Accroding to
Halliday and Hasan (1976), the concept of cohesion is a semantic one and it refers to the
relation of meaning that exists in the text. Cohesion is one of the criteria for textuality in
discourse that these criteria have to meet each order to qualify as discourse (Beaugrande &
Dressler, 2011). The existence of cohesion in a text is detectable in discourse and the
interpretation towards a text depends on the elements in the text (Renkema, Introduction to
Discourse Studies, 2004). Cohesion is expressed partially through the grammar and partially
through the vocabulary (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). Thus, cohesion is divided into two
categories; grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion. Grammatical cohesion deals with
reference, substitution, conjunction and ellipsis. Meanwhile, lexical cohesion deals with
reiteration and collocation.
Grammatical cohesion refers to the grammar devices that used to make the meaning
of text clear and unambiguous (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). The aims of grammatical cohesion
are to help the readers understand the meaning of text and recognize the word that are
replaced and/or omitted (Harmer, 2004). There are four categories of grammatical cohesion,
they are; reference, substitution, conjunction and ellipsis. Lexical cohesion is the relation
between words that used in a text. According to Paltridge (2000), lexical cohesion refers to
the relationships among lexical items in a text and, in particular, among content words. This
cohesive device also refers to the links between the content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives,

adverbs) which are used in subsequent segments of discourse (Renkema, Introduction to
Discourse Studies, 2004). There are two categories of lexical cohesion; reiteration and
collocation.
Method of the Study
In this study, qualitative approach is used. Qualitative research is concerned with
developing explanations of social media (Hancock, 1998). In this case, the data of qualitative
research usually in the form of words rather than numbers have always been the staple of
some fields in the social science, notably anthropology, history and political science (Miles &
Huberman, 1994). Thus, the qualitative approach is used in this study because the data of this
study is an article of The New York Times online newspaper.
Technique of Data Collection
In collecting data, the writer had to download the article from the website of The New York
Times, www.nytimes.com.
After collecting the data, the writer read the whole article, indentify the cohesive devices that
are grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion in the article and calculate them. Then, the writer
analyzed, interpreted, and concluded the findings of this study

Discussion
Based on the findings found in the article that discusses about Prabowo Subianto and
published by The New York Times online newspaper on March 26th, 2014, the writer finds that
grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion are exist in the article. In grammatical cohesion,
the writer of article used all of the types of grammatical cohesion, they are; reference,
substitution, ellipsis and conjunction three. In lexical cohesion, the writer finds the used of
reiteration and collocation.

Grammatical Cohesion

Types of Cohesive Devices
Reference
Substitution
Ellipsis
Conjunction

Personal
Demonstrative
Comparative
Nominal
Nominal
Verbal
Additive
Adversative
Temporal

Frequency
39
53
3
6
1
1
21
3
9

Total
Number

Total

95
6
2
33

136

Lexical Cohesion

Reiteration

Repetition
Synonymy

Collocation

56
8
1

64

65

1

a. Grammatical Cohesion

Grammatical cohesion refers to the grammar devices that used to make the meaning of text
clear and unambiguous (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). There are four categories of
grammatical cohesion, they are; reference, substitution, conjunction and ellipsis.
1) Reference

Reference refers to the specific nature of information that is signaled for retrieval
(Halliday & Hasan, 1976). There are three types of reference; personals, demonstrative and
comparative. The type of reference that mostly used in this article is demonstrative reference.
The example of reference item that found in the article is he.
(1) Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces commander, kicked off his party’s campaign for
legislative elections with a rally last weekend that the local news media characterized as “military
style.” He rode into a Jakarta stadium in a jeep to greet the party faithful, mounted a horse to circle the
grounds and paraded before uniformed party cadres standing at attention.

In this case, the personal reference he refers to Prabowo Subianto that has already
mentioned in the previous sentence. The word he plays a role as a subject of the second
sentence.
2) Substitution

Substitution is a relation of wording rather than meaning (Halliday & Hasan, 1976).
This cohesive device refers to the relation between linguistics items, such as words or
phrases, and the lexicogrammatical relation, the level of grammar and vocabulary.
Substitution has three types; nominal, verbal and clausal. In this article, substitution
type that found only nominal substitution. The substitution item that found in the
article is some.
(2) The abductions case did end Mr. Prabowo’s military career. He was discharged in August
1998 for “exceeding orders” by arresting the activists, some of whom, according to Mr.
Prabowo, had bomb-making equipment.

In these sentences, the substitution some refers to the activist that was arrested who had
bomb-making equipment according to Mr. Prabowo. It means that not all of the
activists had the bomb-making equipment.
3) Ellipsis

Ellipsis refers to the omission of an item that is the item replaced by nothing (Halliday
& Hasan, 1976). Or simply, we can say that ellipsis is `substitution by zero`. There are
three types of ellipsis; nominal, verbal and clausal. The types of ellipsis that found
were nominal ellipsis and verbal ellipsis.

(3) “The main thing about Prabowo is, he’s never been investigated, let alone prosecuted, for
the long list of things he’s been linked to,” said Matthew Easton, a former program director
for Human Rights First, an organization based in the United States.

In the sentence the item of ellipsis that found is linked to. The item refers to the
allegation charges by right activist in Indonesia and abroad towards Prabowo. The
allegation charges towards Prabowo are abductions of pro-democracy activist in the
late 1990s, massacre of 300 civilians, and orchestrating riots in May 1998. In this case,
the word linked to lays a role to substitute those allegation charges.
4) Conjunction

Conjunction is the last cohesive devices which is different with the previous cohesive
devices (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). Conjunction expresses certain meanings which
presuppose the presence of other components in discourse (Halliday & Hasan, 1976).
Conjunction is divided into four types; additive, adversative, causal and temporal. The
type that mostly used was additive conjunction.
(4) Mr. Prabowo, who graduated from American military training programs in the 1980s and
is an admirer of the United States, has for years made it clear that he would like to meet with
high-level American officials.

Conjunction item that found in the sentence is and as the presuppose that Mr. Prabowo
is not only a man who graduated from American military training programs but he is
also an admirer of the United States.
b. Lexical Cohesion

Lexical cohesion is the relation between words that used in a text. According to Paltridge
(2000), lexical cohesion refers to the relationships among lexical items in a text and, in
particular, among content words. According to Renkema (2004), lexical cohesion divided
into two categories, they are; reiteration and collocation.
1) Reiteration

Reiteration is a form of lexical cohesion which involves the repetition of lexical items
(Halliday & Hasan, 1976). This lexical item also occurs through the use of a word that
is related with the previous one. Reiteration divides into five types; repetition,
synonymy, hyponymy/hyperonymy, meronymy (part vs. whole) and antonymy. The
mostly used type of reiteration was repetition.
(5) Allegations against Mr. Prabowo extend back to his early career, when he was a young
officer in the 1980s in East Timor, where an armed movement was fighting Indonesian
occupation. Some human rights groups called for an investigation over allegations that he
ordered the massacre of nearly 300 civilians. Mr. Prabowo has vehemently denied being on
the scene of the massacre or having any involvement in it.

The writer of this article was using repetition. The repetition that used is Mr. Prabowo.
This repetition also occurs in other sentences and parapragph.

(6) A government-appointed fact-finding team established by Mr. Suharto’s successor reported
that Mr. Prabowo had met in his office with military, government and political figures during
the riots. That stoked speculation that they had plotted to use the crisis as a way for Mr.
Prabowo to take over the crumbling government in a coup. Mr. Prabowo denies any such plot
and, in a recent interview, said he could have “taken over if I wanted to.”
(7) The abductions case did end Mr. Prabowo’s military career. He was discharged in August
1998 for “exceeding orders” by arresting the activists, some of whom, according to Mr.
Prabowo, had bomb-making equipment. While he accepted responsibility as a senior officer
for the torture of nine of the activists, he has said he did not order it and has denied any
knowledge about the disappearances of the other 14.
(8) The State Department denied Mr. Prabowo a visa in 2000 to attend his son’s university
graduation in Boston, although it has never explained why. And as Mr. Prabowo’s political
career took off over the last six years, successive American ambassadors have given him a
wide berth even as other foreign diplomats have met with him and as his brother, a prominent
businessman, made several trips to Washington to appeal for opening a dialogue.
2) Collocation

Collocation applies irrespective of whether or not there is identity of reference
(Halliday & Hasan, 1976). This cohesive device deals with the relationship between
words and the fact that usually occur in the same surroundings.
(9) Mr. Prabowo argues that he has been made a scapegoat for the abuses committed by the
military during Mr. Suharto’s 32 years in power.

In the sentence above, the word scapegoat is the item of collocation that found. He
thought that there should be other people who for abuses committed.
Interpretation
Based on the analysis above, it can be seen that the total number of grammatical
cohesion is bigger than lexical cohesion. The total number of grammatical cohesion is 136
while the number of lexical cohesion is 65. Thus, the interpretation of this study is the writer
of this article does introduce cohesion and gives his respond toward the structural and lexicogrammatical resources in order to give a sense and order in the text.
This interpretation is based on the theory proposed by Halliday and Hasan (1976) that
cohesion refers to the relations of meaning that exist in a text.
Conclusion

Based on the analysis above, it can be concluded that cohesive devices does exist in the
article. The cohesive devices that mostly used in the article titled Indonesia Candidate Tied to
Human Rights Abuses Stirs Unease` that published on March 23rd, 2014 is grammatical
cohesion.

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