Coherence and Cohesion

Topics: Discourse analysis, Anaphora, Semantics Pages: 16 (6043 words) Published: November 27, 2012
This paper discusses that a meaningful English text is always coherent. Also, the role of cohesion in a coherent English text is discussed in the light of literature. In order to further understand the significance of cohesion in discourse, we have analysed two English texts; a poem, 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth and an advertisement from a UK website A report is then developed on the textual analysis, which discusses that different genres have different elements that bring coherence. However, it is noticed that lexical cohesion forms strong cohesive ties and bring coherence in case of both the texts analysed. The paper argues that although cohesion is an important aspect of developing a coherent text, yet coherence is also possible without cohesion. Key words: Coherence, Cohesion, Text, Discourse, Analysis

The focus of this paper is to review the concept of coherence and the importance of cohesion in coherent texts. Coherence and cohesion are important aspects of language structure and knowledge of the usage of the two devices is essential for the scholars who write in English. Therefore, this paper has special significance for the readership of this journal as this paper helps understand the two concepts through their application. It tries to make the concepts interesting and easily grasped by the South Asian readers, through textual analysis of two simple texts. The paper also brings forth the importance of some other devices, apart from cohesion, in developing a coherent English text; these are also investigated in the sections discussing coherence. Firstly, we will introduce the terms cohesion and coherence as used in discourse analysis. Coherence is the device which identifies a text (a passage that forms a unified whole), spoken or written, in any language. On the other hand, cohesion is only one of the various elements which help forming coherent discourse. Cohesion provides relationship between different items of discourse in a text. Coherence is a semantic relation, so is cohesion. Coherence is possible when cohesive devices, grammatical and lexical, combine to give meaning to the text by connecting it to a social context. Most importantly, a coherent text can be found without any cohesive ties used. In the following sections, we will be discussing scholarly view on the two terms in some detail. We will then consider and clarify our position with regard to cohesion and its role in the coherent text. Later in this paper, we will be analysing the coherence (including, of course, the cohesion) in two pieces of discourse. The report on the comparison between the two analyses will follow. Finally, we will summarize the entire argument in the conclusion. 2. COHERENCE

Every unified piece of discourse is a coherent set of sentences. Davies (2005) explains the idea of a text when she says, “not all sequences of sentences form texts- they have to be coherent sequences”. Thus she marks coherence as an identity of a text. Halliday and Hassan (1976) followed by McCarthy (1991) and Paltridge (2006) used the term texture or textuality for coherence. Paltridge (2006) writes that the texture of a text can be obtained where various items are tied together to provide meaning to the text which in turn relate to the social context in which the text occurs. Hassan (1989:71; cited in Paltridge, 2006:130) describes texture as ‘a matter of meaning relations’. Brown and Yule (1983) explain that in a coherent text the meaning is clear and the various fragments of the text seem connected either with or without cohesive devices. Hatch (1992) defines that the textual coherences can be obtained only if the communication system, the social norms and restrictions, language scripts for particular speech acts, suitable for particular speech events are all considered carefully. Thus, Brown and Yule (1983) and Hatch...
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