Coherence Halliday And Hasan S Theory

Topics: Writing, Coherence, Essay Pages: 5 (1523 words) Published: April 17, 2015
This essay will identify how coherence is achieved in texts and will also explore Halliday and Hasan’s theories about coherence and cohesion. Coherence is the logical connections that readers or listeners perceive in a written or oral text. Coherence accounts for the fact that we do not communicate by verbal means only. The traditional concept of coherence, which is solely based on relationships between verbal textual elements, is too narrow to account for coherence in interaction. Ultimately, coherence in interaction is not established in the text but created in the minds of the interlocutors in their attempt to make sense of the different verbal, perceptual, and cognitive means at their disposal “(Edda Weigand, Language as Dialogue: From Rules to Principles. John Benjamins, 2009). "Coherence is fundamentally not an objective property of the produced text. Rather, that text is a by-product of the mental processes of discourse production and discourse comprehension, which are the real loci of coherence." (T. Givón, English Grammar: A Function-Based Introduction, Vol. 2. John Benjamins, 1993). Coherence is elusive but it has a lot to do with the way that the propositional content of texts is organised. If the content of a (written) text is organised in such a way that it fulfils the reader's expectations, it is more likely to achieve its communicative effect. This means that learners can be helped to write coherent texts through the analysis of the generic features of particular text types. This has long been the approach to teaching business, technical, and academic writing.  More important still, is second-guessing the intended reader's questions, and then answering them. This means that it is important that, when doing writing tasks, students have a clear idea both of the purpose of the text, and of the intended readership. Good writers are able to "keep their reader in mind". Keeping your reader in mind does not guarantee coherence, but it would seem to be a prerequisite.  Textual cohesion is achieved through paying close attention to the way sentences are linked in texts. There are a variety of cohesive devices, both lexical and grammatical, of which linkers (and, so ,but) are just one. Cutting short texts up and asking learners to order them is a good way of drawing attention to the way that they are linked. I am fond of using short articles from children's encyclopedias.  Identifying lexical chains in texts - that is, repetitions, the use of synonyms and hyponyms, and words from the same lexical field - is also a useful way of alerting learners to the key role that lexis has in binding a text together. In a coherent text, there are logical links between the words, sentences, and paragraphs of the text. Another way to describe coherence is to say that it has to do with good and smooth text flow. A writer must maximise understanding of a text by making it as clear and logical as possible. If a speaker of English hears or reads a text of the English language which is more than one sentence long, they can normally decide whether it forms a unified whole or is just a collection of unrelated sentences. Cohesion is what makes the difference between the two (Carter et al, 2007). Halliday and Hasan (1976) support this in saying that cohesion is what gives a text texture. They explain that a text is “a unit of language in use”. What distinguishes a text from a non –text is its “texture”. The texture is provided by the cohesive relations that exist between certain linguistic features that are present in the passage and can be identified as contributing to its total unity. In other words, the texture of a text is formed by the cohesive ties that it contains. Halliday and Hasan recognise that there is a distinction between cohesion and coherence. They argue that the presence of cohesive markers are extremely important in making texts flow and this point is one of the limitations of Halliday and Hasan’s theory of cohesion...
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