Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Grammar

A Study on Grammatical Cohesion in English Business Letters

Author ZhouLi
Tutor ShiShunLiang
School Lanzhou University of Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords discourse analysis grammatical cohesion business letters
CLC H314
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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Cohesion is a basic term initially used in text-linguistics/discourse analysis. Discourse/text is the object of study of discourse analysis/text linguistics. According to different scholars, the term cohesion has diverse meanings. In this thesis, cohesion refers to the non-structural text-forming relation. Grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion are two basic terms in cohesion theory. Based on Halliday and Hasan’s classic cohesion theory, the thesis aims to study business letters and analyze grammatical cohesive ties used in them.A corpus of one hundred and twelve sample letters comprising approximately 18,000 words are investigated in this thesis. All the sample letters are selected from three books edited or written by native speakers of English with the aim to introduce business letter writing. All the cohesive ties were counted with five research questions listed as below:1. Do all the grammatical cohesive ties occur in business letters? 2. Which grammatical cohesive tie plays a more important role in business letters? And why? 3. What are the features of grammatical cohesive ties used in business letters? 4. What is the relationship between grammatical cohesive features and the characteristics of business letters? 5. How do these grammatical cohesive ties realize textual function?The results show that all the grammatical cohesive ties occur in business letters. The most frequently used cohesive tie is reference, followed by conjunction. Substitution and ellipsis are the least used cohesive ties in business letters. Because business letters are a vehicle for communication between two companies, institutions, or individuals, the use of personal references are quite important. The logical characteristic of business letters may cause the frequent use of temporal cohesive ties. And in order to avoid the ambiguity, substitution and ellipsis are not favored in business letter writing. Last, it is found that grammatical cohesive ties realize their textural function through coherence.The present study reveals grammatical cohesive features thoroughly in business correspondence. It is meaningful in the teaching of business English and in the sphere of discourse analysis.

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