Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching

The Comparative Study of Cohesive Devices of Non-English Major Students’ English Writings

Author AnZuoZuo
Tutor LiSong
School Northeastern University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Cohesive Devices Coherence English Writings Teaching of Cohesive Devices
CLC H319
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
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Writing in English is generally considered to be an advanced demanding skill in trying to master English Language. However, writing is a weak point for students to master a language. Hence, how to teach and improve the writing skill is a heating topic for the teachers and linguists.In recent years, cohesion and coherence has been drawn much attention according to Halliday and Hasan’s Cohesion Theory proposed in the epoch-making book Cohesion in English published in 1976. In the light of them, cohesion plays an essential role in the creation of coherence in writing articles. At the same time, one of requirements for the quality of students’writings is the coherence of the writings. That means the application of cohesion and coherence to writing is an important way for improving the students’writings.The paper, based on Halliday’s cohesion theory, attempts to analyze the application and comparisons of cohesive devices used in students’English writings, especially in narrative writings. The research compares the writings of the higher-marked English writings with lower-marked ones so as to make the research more persuasive. It investigates the distribution of cohesive devices used in the writings of the two groups and describes the different use of cohesive devices and the reason for contributing to the quality of the writings.The three issues explored in this study are:1) what are the features of cohesion devices in students’English writings; 2) what are the differences of using cohesion device between Good writings and Poor writings; 3) how does the frequency of the cohesion devices affect the quality of the composition. We reached conclusions as follows:1)’Good’writings contain more cohesive devices; few ellipses, substitution were used by two group students; 2) in ’Poor’writings, there were more using errors of cohesive devices; 3) the number of cohesive devices is positively correlated with coherence and writing quality.By analyzing the comparison between the high-marked and low-marked writings, discussing the data, it makes clear that the function of cohesive devices using in two group English writings contributes to the quality of the students’writings. The research finds that in the narrative writings, the conjunction devices popularizes most among the students’writings, following by reference, lexical cohesion, while substitution and ellipsis is merely used. In comprising the two groups, the cohesive devices are more used in higher-marked writings than in the low-marked ones and the reason is also stated. Suggestions are made concerning teaching implications for how to apply cohesive devices properly and effectively in students’ writings.

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