A Study of Lexical Cohesive Devices in High School English Writing
|Keywords||high school English writing cohesion coherence lexical cohesive device|
Writing is always one of the most important and difficult parts in EFL teaching. Especially as the educational reform goes on in recent years, writing is becoming more and more important in all kinds of large-scale examinations. It has become a hot topic in English teaching and aroused wide concern among teachers and researchers. One of the major objectives of writing is to create texts that are coherent and cohesive in order to establish successful communication within a community. Cohesion, one important part of a text, plays a great role in the process of creating text coherence. Lexical cohesion is one of the major types of cohesion which contributes greatly to the forming of multiple relationships and the major mode of creating texture. Thus, the study of the use of cohesive devices is becoming a hot topic among researchers and language instructors involved in the study and teaching of writing. The teaching of lexical cohesive devices is often the center of ESL writing classes. Lexical cohesion, a necessary part of text linguistics has provided useful information for English writing.This study, based on the combination of taxonomy of lexical cohesion made by Halliday, Hasan and Hoey, aims to answer three questions. First, what are the characteristics of the adoption of lexical cohesive devices in compositions written by high school students? Second, what are the differences of adopting cohesive ties between the high-lever group students and low-lever group students? Third, what is the relationship between lexical cohesive ties and the quality of high school English writing?Samples of this study are 150 copies of compositions written by the Grade Two students from one of the high schools in Suzhou. These compositions were selected from their mid-term examination in the second semester. They were reassessed by three qualified postgraduate students who had taken part in grading large-scale examinations for many times, and, ranked them by computer software and taken the first forty of them as high-level group and the last 40 of them as low-level group. The present study has adopted both the quantitative and the qualitative methods to analyze the data. Independent Sample T-tests were conducted to get the statistical analyses of the differences between the two groups in using lexical cohesive ties. Correlations were conducted to get the statistical analyses of the relationship between lexical cohesion and writing quality.As a result, the thesis shows that high-lever students prefer to use a lot of simple repetitions in their compositions. In comparison, the high-level students tend to use more high-level cohesive ties. Also they perform better in variety and amount. However, the low-level group tends to use more general words than high group. Finally, of all the five lexical cohesive devices this paper focuses on, synonym and antonym are closely related to the quality of high school students’English writing.