A New Perspective on Cohesion in Expository Paragraphs

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Southern Illinois Press, 1984 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 110 pages
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Intuitively all users of language under­stand whether a unit of discourse is co­hesive, whether it makes sense. Markels seeks to “formalize some of this innate knowledge about discourse by describing some of the textual cues that contribute to cohesion in particular types of English paragraphs.”


Focusing on expository paragraphs, she investigates the “semantic relations among nouns necessary to create noun chains and the syntactic information necessary to invest those chains with cohesion.” Other researchers have inves­tigated cohesion only as a semantic phe­nomenon, but by pursuing this new ap­proach, Markels gives equal weight to syntax. She points out that “while noun chains establish semantic consistency only the interaction of those chains with syntactic information that thematizes them can create cohesion.”


Markels identifies and describes four common patterns through which para­graphs achieve cohesion or unity. In de­scribing these cohesion patterns, she also identifies paragraph structures based on semantic and syntactic relationships that produce cohesion.

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About the author (1984)

Robin Bell Markels teaches English at Ohio State University and is an invited member of the National Conference on Research in English.

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