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Ex.4 Use the previous text to answer the following questions.



1. Can you comment on the expression «it sounds smoother»?

2. What synonyms can you give to the expression «it sounds smoother»?

3. What devices make the second passage more relevant?

4. What does the term «to cohere» mean?

5. Can you give your comments on the expression «Effective English writing is coherent»?

6. What are the characteristic features of effective academic writing from the point of view of coherence?

Introduction (continuation)

It is the responsibilities of the writer in English to make it clear to the reader how various parts of the paragraph are connected. These connections can be made explicit grammatically and lexically by the use of different reference words. Every text has a structure. It is not just a random collection of sentences. The parts that make up the text are related in a meaningful way to each other. In order to make these relationships in the text clear, it is necessary to show how the sentences are related. Words like "it", "this", "that", "here", "there" etc. refer to other parts of the text. You need to understand how to use these connections or links.

There are four main types of links used in academic texts: reference, ellipsis and substitution, conjunction and lexical cohesion.

Reference

Certain items of language in English have the property of reference. That is, they do not have meaning themselves, but they refer to something else for their meaning.

Example The scientific study of memory began in the early 1870s when a German philosopher, Hermann Ebbinghaus, came up with the revolutionary idea that memory could be studied experimentally. In doing so he broke away from a 2000-year-old tradition that firmly assigned the study of memory to the philosopher rather than to the scientist. He argued that the philosophers had come up with a wide range of possible interpretations of memory but had produced no way of deciding which amongst these theories offered the best explanation of memory. He aimed to collect objective experimental evidence of the way in which memory worked in the hope that this would allow him to choose between the various theories.

In this text "he" and "him" refers to "Hermann Ebbinghaus". In order to create such a text, you need to use these words correctly in the text.

Example These theories all stem from some underlying assumptions about people. To a large extent unproven, they tend to represent the dominant mood or climate of opinion at that time. Schein has classified them as follows, and it is interesting to note that the categories follow each other in a sort of historical procession, starting from the time of the industrial revolution.

Other words used in this way are "him", "it", "this", "that", "these", "those", "here", "there" etc.

Substitution and ellipsis

Substitution is the replacement of one item by another and ellipsis is the omission of the item. If writers wish to avoid repeating a word, they can use substitution or ellipsis.

ExampleThe scientific study of memory began in the early 1870s when a German philosopher, Hermann Ebbinghaus, came up with the revolutionary idea that memory could be studied experimentally. In doing so he broke away from a 2000-year-old tradition that firmly assigned the study of memory to the philosopher rather than to the scientist. He argued that the philosophers had come up with a wide range of possible interpretations of memory but had produced no way of deciding which amongst these theories offered the best explanation of memory. He aimed to collect objective experimental evidence of the way in which memory worked in the hope that this would allow him to choose between the various theories.

The writer has substituted "studying memory experimentally" with "so". Other words that can be used are "one", "ones", "do", "so", "not".

Ellipsis is substitution by zero.

Example Some of the water which falls as rain flows on the surface as streams. Another part is evaporated. The remainder sinks into the ground and is known as ground water.

"Another part" means "Another part of the water" and "The remainder" means "The remainder of the water".

Conjunction

Conjunction shows meaningful relationships between clauses. It shows how what follows is connected to what has gone before.

Example The whole Cabinet agreed that there should be a cut in the amount that the unemployed were receiving; where they disagreed was in whether this should include a cut in the standard rate of benefit. The opposition parties, however, were unwilling to accept any programme of economies which did not involve a cut in the standard rate of benefit.

The word "however" shows that this statement is opposite to the ideas that have come before. Other words used are "for example", "as a consequence of this", "firstly"," furthermore", "in spite of this", etc.

Lexical cohesion

This is a way of achieving a cohesive effect by the use of particular vocabulary items. You can refer to the same idea by using the same or different words.

Example Patients who repeatedly take overdoses pose considerable management difficulties. The problem-orientated approach is not usually effective with such patients. When a patient seems to be developing a pattern of chronic repeats, it is recommended that all staff engaged in his or her care meet to reconstruct each attempt in order to determine whether there appears to be a motive common to each act.

For cohesion to occur, it is not necessary for each word to refer to exactly the same item or even be grammatically equivalent. All the words related to "debt" contribute to the cohesion.

Example In each of these cases the basic problem is the same: a will has been made, and in it a debtor is left a legacy of liberation from what he owes the testator. The question is, if he has subsequently borrowed more from the testator, up to what point he has been released from his debts. It is best to begin with the second case. Here there is a straightforward legacy to the debtor of a sum of money and also of the amount of his debt to the testator. This is followed by a clause in which there is a general damnation and also a general trust that the legacies in the will be paid. The debtor goes on to borrow more money, and the question is whether that is taken to be included in the legacy too. The response is that since the words relate to the past, later debts are not included.

Other commonly used are "repetition", "synonyms" and "near synonyms", "collocations", "super/sub-ordinate relationships" (e.g. fruit/apple, animal/cat) etc.

Anaphoric nouns

Another useful way to show the connection between the ideas in a paragraph is what is called anaphoric nouns. Look at the following text:

ExampleMoulds do not usually grow fast, and conditions had to be found in which large quantities of Penicillium notatum could be produced as quickly as they were wanted. The solution to this problem was helped by N. G. Heatley, a young biochemist also from Hopkins's laboratory in Cambridge, who had been prevented by the outbreak of war from going to work in the Carlsberg laboratories in Copenhagen.

The phrase "this problem" summarizes the text in the first sentence and thus provides the connection between the two sentences.

ExampleGenetics deals with how genes are passed on from parents to their offspring. A great deal is known about the mechanisms governing this process.

The phrase "this process" summarizes the first sentence.

The phrase: This/these + noun is very useful in showing the connection between sentences and therefore in making sure that the paragraph flows. Other nouns typically used in this way are: "account, advice, answer, argument, assertion, assumption, claim, comment, conclusion, criticism, description, difficultly, discussion, distinction, emphasis, estimate, example, explanation, fall, finding, idea, improvement, increase, observation, proof, proposal, reference, rejection, report, rise, situation, suggestion, view, warning".

(http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex12.htm)

Ex.5 Identify the references in the following texts:

Exercise a

We all tend to complain about our memories. Despite the elegance of the human memory system, it is not infallible, and we have to learn to live with its fallibility. It seems to be socially much more acceptable to complain of a poor memory, and it is somehow much more acceptable to blame a social lapse on 'a terrible memory', than to attribute it to stupidity or insensitivity. But how much do we know about our own memories? Obviously we need to remember our memory lapses in order to know just how bad our memories are. Indeed one of the most amnesic patients I have ever tested was a lady suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome, memory loss following chronic alcoholism. The test involved presenting her with lists of words; after each list she would comment with surprise on her inability to recall the words, saying: «I pride myself on my memory! ». She appeared to have forgotten just how bad her memory was.

 

B Identify examples of substitution and ellipsis in these texts:

Exercise b

The human memory system is remarkably efficient, but it is of course extremely fallible. That being so, it makes sense to take full advantage of memory aids to minimize the disruption caused by such lapses. If external aids are used, it is sensible to use them consistently and systematically - always put appointments in your diary, always add wanted items to a shopping list, and so on. If you use internal aids such as mnemonics, you must be prepared to invest a reasonable amount of time in mastering them and practicing them. Mnemonics are like tools and cannot be used until forged. Overall, however, as William James pointed out (the italics are mine):«Of two men with the same outward experiences and the same amount of mere native tenacity, the one who thinks over his experiences most and weaves them into systematic relations with each other will be the one with the best memory».

 

Exercise c

This conflict between tariff reformers and free traders was to lead to the "agreement to differ" convention in January 1932, and the resignation of the Liberals from the government in September 1932; but, until they resigned, the National Government was a genuine coalition in the sense in which that term is used on the continent: a government comprising independent yet conflicting elements allied together, a government within which party conflict was not superseded but rather contained - in short, a power-sharing government, albeit a seriously unbalanced one.

 

Exercise d

The number of different words relating to "camel" is said to be about six thousand. There are terms to refer to riding camels, milk camels and slaughter camels; other terms to indicate the pedigree and geographical origin of the camel; and still others to differentiate camels in different stages of pregnancy and to specify in-numerable other characteristics important to a people so dependent upon camels in their daily life.

Exercise e

There were, broadly, two interrelated reasons for this, the first relating to Britain's economic and imperial difficulties, the second to the internal dissension in all three parties.

 





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