Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Topic: Cohesion and Coherence.

10-second review: For awhile in the history of writing research, researchers were interested in studying the relationship between cohesion and coherence. This particular study defines the two.

Title: “Textual Cohesion and Coherence in Children’s Writing Revisited.” DL Spiegel and J Fitzgerald. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1990), 48 – 66. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Cohesion is at the sentence level and involves sequence in sentences. Coherence is at the whole composition level and involves primarily unity of the composition.

Cohesion was measured by detecting certain elements that related sentence to sentence: repetition; synonym; antonym; hyponym (animal/dog; dog/cat/ giraffe); meronym (hand/finger; United States/ Texas) and equivalence (Mr. Bush/ President).

The authors concluded that the existence of these elements in relating sentences led to greater unity in the complete composition.

Comment: Before I read this research, I never realized that cohesion of sentences was an element in coherence or unity of the entire composition. I know. I’m dumb. Why wouldn’t it? RayS.

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