The Concept of Grammatical Cohesion


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Cohesion is considered as a semantic concept that combines the various parts of text in smooth way and gives it meaning that sender aims to deliver; Halliday and Hasan (1976) define it as “relations of meaning that exist within a text and that define it as a text”. Grammatical Cohesion identifies the grammatical rules of a text or utterance. It refers to the various grammatical devices that can be used to make relations among sentences more explicit. The aim is to help the reader understand the items referred to, the ones replaced and even the items omitted. Halliday and Hassan (1976) classified grammatical cohesion into four categories are, reference, substitution, ellipsis and conjunction.

Types of Grammatical Cohesion

  1. Reference
  2. Reference is that items in a linguistic or situational text that enables a reader to interpret what a writer intended, by reference to another item in the same discourse. Yule (2006) defines reference as an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to identify something. In other word, reference is the relation between words refers to the things. For example the word book has reference to a collection of stapled papers to write and read. In line with Halliday and Hasan (1976), there are three types of reference, personal reference, demonstrative reference and comparative reference.

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    1. Personal Reference
    2. Personal reference is the linguistic element used as referring device; “reference by means of function in the speech situation through the category of person”. Personal reference uses personal pronouns, such as ‘I, me, you, we, they, he, she, it’, and possessive pronouns such as ‘mine, yours, ours, theirs, his, hers’, and possessive determiners such as ‘my, your, our, their, his, her’.

    3. Demonstrative Reference
    4. Demonstrative reference it is reference to an item by the use of demonstrative determiners; reference by means of location on a scale of proximity. It is attained by the use of proximity determiners such as ‘this, these, that, those’ and adverbs like ‘here, now, there, then’.

    5. Comparative Reference
    6. Comparative reference it is a linguistic elements used to fulfill the function of comparison; indirect reference by means of identity or similarity. It uses adjectives such as: ‘ same, identical, equal, similar, additional, other, different, better, more etc. (comparative adjectives and quantifiers’ and adverbs like ‘identically, so, such, similarly, likewise, differently, otherwise, less, equally’.

  3. Substitution
  4. Substitution is the replacement of one item by another at a particular place in a structure. In English, the substitute may function as noun, as a verb, or as a clause. Some items commonly used in substitution include one, same, do and not. There are three types of substitution, nominal, verbal and clausal substitution.

    1. Nominal Substitution
    2. The substitution “one/ones” always functions as head of a nominal group and can substitute only for an item which is, it head of a nominal group. In the following example, This car is old and I will buy a new one (one substitutes car).

    3. Verbal Substitution
    4. Verbal substitution in English is “do/does” this substitution functions as head in the verbal group in the place that is occupied by the lexical verb, and its position is always final in the group. For example, Cinderella danced with the prince and her stepsisters did too.

    5. Clausal Substitution
    6. Clausal substitution is not an element within the clause but the entire clause. The words used as substitute are “so and not”. The example as follow, Her stepmother did not let her go to the ball, and her stepsisters said so (so substitutes go to the ball).

  5. Ellipsis
  6. Ellipsis is a form of substitution in which the item is replaced by nothing, but reader or listener still can understand the meaning by looking back to the preceding item. There are three types of ellipsis as follow.

    1. Nominal Ellipsis
    2. The structure is as head with optional modification. The modifying element includes some, which precede the head and some, which follow it. The modifier is combined with another structure on the experiential dimension, which consist of element deictic, numerative, epithet, classifier, and qualifier. For example, One day, they hijacked to the rice field with only a cow. They used to use two.

    3. Verbal Ellipsis
    4. In the verbal group, there is only one lexical element that is the verb itself. It is defined as a verbal group whose structure does not fully express its systematic features. The following example is, I have done the housework and they have.

    5. Clausal Ellipsis
    6. The clause in English is considered as the expression of the previous speech functions, such as statement, question, response, and so on has two parts structure consisting of modal element and propositional element. For example, My mother is searching a novel and my father is.

  7. Conjunction
  8. Conjunction involves the use of formal markers to relate sentences, clauses, and paragraphs to each other. There are four types of conjunction namely, additive, adversative, causal, and temporal.

      The second type of conjunction is defined by Halliday and Hasan (1976) as adversative. The basic meaning of the adversative conjunction is to introduce a contrary point to what has been said. The adversative relation can be characterized as proper, contrastive, corrective and dismissive. Halliday and Hasan (1976) define the third type of conjunction as causal. This type of conjunctive relation establishes a link between sentences that can be labeled as the cause consequence relation. And the last is a temporal relation between sentences.

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