Revisiting Cohesive Devices in Academic L2 English Writing: What Do Successful Writers Use?

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2007
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Sinicrope, Castle
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Inspired by contradictory findings and an overwhelming focus on comparing cohesive devices with the quality of writing in previous research, this study seeks to provide a descriptive, more nuanced picture of cohesion in successful L2 writing. Additionally, it investigates to what extent the use of cohesive devices varies across successful L2 writers and across different writing tasks. Writing samples were collected from different genres such as explanatory writing, text analysis, library research paper, and were analyzed following Halliday and Hasan’s (1796) taxonomy for cohesive devices. The results revealed that successful L2 writers employed more cohesive devices as well as the many subtypes of cohesion. In addition, in general, reference and conjunctive cohesion use was uniform across writers. Lexical cohesion use, on the other hand, differed more drastically between writers, suggesting that cohesion may differ more across text types than across individual writers. Finally, although successful L2 writers tend to use more cohesive devices, the presence of such devices does not guarantee a comprehensible and coherent text, so cautious interpretation on the results should be made.
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cohesive devices, academic writing, cohesion, L2 writing
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27 pages
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