Academic Lexical Literacy: Investigating the Cohesion of Arabic Speakers' Essays in English


One way ideas are linked in texts is through cohesion, the network of surface features that connect texts and signal underlying relationships within and between sentences. Cohesive features include reference, conjunctions, substitution, synonyms, to name only a few. Cohesion has been a major area of concern in text analysis since the 1970s, and a number of advances has been made towards the understanding of texts. Since Halliday and Hasan's (1976) seminal work on cohesion, research has included work on both native and non-native student compositions to see how different cohesive devices in these texts contribute to the production of "good" writing. While cohesion may not be a characteristic of all 'good' writing, it seems to be one significant element that marks much high-rated writing (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996). De Beaugrande & Dressler (1981) identify cohesion as one of the seven standards without which a text would not be a text. Harnett (1986) argues that "...words that signal relations are important resources for writers ... if "good is expressed partially ... through linguistic cohesion, it seems useful to analyze cohesion in writing ..." (p.l42). Peters (1986) further argues that the use of cohesive devices becomes even more significant in academic writing since it is a form of a monologue and "...thus apart from indications of macro-structure, readers expect ...micro­ structure details to supply cohesion and to show the logical connections between one statement and anot]•Cl" (p.170).


Nahla Nola Bacha, Martin Cortazzi, Fouad Nakhle