Lexical cohesion revisited. A combined corpus and systemic-functional analysis


In this article I argue for a refinement of the classic SFL approach to lexical cohesion. First, a literature overview is provided in which key principles and related categories are examined. In addition, the connection of cohesion and discourse coherence is addressed and an overview is provided of the wide range of applications that the former has in such fields as genre studies, language teaching and learning, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics, among others. The core SFL models of cohesion are then revisited in order to propose a modified taxonomy of lexical cohesion, involving five distinct types (repetition, synonymy, opposition, inclusion and association) that are cross-classified by four kinds of distance-based ties (immediate, immediate-mediated, remote and remote-mediated). After this, the model is attested in the telephone conversation and broadcast discussion components of the International Corpus of English-Great Britain. The analysis of 10,042 cohesive ties reveals that repetition and association are the most frequently used lexical cohesion strategies across the two genres. They are overwhelmingly produced over speakers’ turns and remote-mediated ties. The results further indicate that lexical patterns collaborate in topic management, staging and turn-taking strategies.


lexical cohesion; repetition; synonymy; opposition; inclusion; association; distance-based ties; systemic-functional linguistics

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Electronic ISSN: 2444-1449