You are on page 1of 6

2001 2 132

No.2, March 2001 Journal of Foreign Languages General Serial No.132

1004-5139 2001 02-0023-06 H0-06 A

Hasan 1985 1994

On Cohesion
(Foreign Languages College, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China)

Abstract: The present paper explicitly shows the necessity of differentiating cohesion as relations of textual
meaning and the formal mechanisms that realize the cohesion. It discusses the contributions to the theory of
cohesion made by Halliday & Hasan (1985) and HU Zhuang-lin (1994), as well as the existing problems in the
theory. On the basis of the basic functions of cohesion, it further expands the scope of cohesion and equates it with
the textual meaning that links clauses and the units above the clause. The author argues that cohesion is not only
textual meaning that organizes meaning realized by formal features within language, but also that connecting the
text with the context of situation. In this sense, cohesion is the textual meaning that expresses the semantic
relations linking the clauses and units larger than the clause, and relations linking the text with the context of
situation. In this way, the difference between cohesion and coherence is that the former is the concrete semantic
relations of the text and the latter is the effect these relations produce.
Key words: cohesion; coherence; text

Cohesion in English, [1:7]




1 She found herself in a long, low hall which
was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the
roof. There were doors all round the hall, but 1.
they were all locked.
1 2.
the hall hall they 3.
doors Hall roof
doors locked

hall hall
they doors turn-taking adjacency
doors locked pair


Language, Context and Text [2]


referentiality co-classification

[1][2][3] coastwise fruit steamer with a cargo of
waterlogged basketballs

3 M(other): Well, Eva, what now?
E: Mamma, couldnt I take care of you one
night just one? I know I shouldnt make you
nervous, and I shouldnt sleep. I often lie awake
nights thinking .
M: Oh, nonsense, child nonsense! You are
such a strange child.
E: But may I, mamma? I think that Mammy
isnt well. She told me her head ached all the time
[H. Stowe, Uncle Toms Cabin: p.174]
2 An arrogant gray parrot and his arrogant
mate listened, one African afternoon, in disdain
and derision, to the lovemaking of a lover and
his lass, who happened to be hippopotamuses.
He calls her snooky-ookums, said Mrs nonsense
Gray. Can you believe that? may couldnt shouldnt
No, said Gray. I dont see how any male
in his right mind could entertain affection for a
female that has no more charm than a capsized
Capsized bathtub, indeed! exclaimed Mrs
Gray. Both of them have the appeal of a
coastwise fruit steamer with a cargo of
waterlogged basketballs.


Snooky-ookums capsized bathtub a

4 Couldnt I take care of you one night just

6 A: Can you tell me the time?
B: Well, the milkman has come.

Dans [4]
the time
Fries [5]
Brown & Yule [6]
has come A
the time


5 True ease in writing comes from art, not
As those move easiest who have learned to
Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
[Pope, An Essay on Criticism] van Dijk [7:108]

missing links

dance chance

Dance art 7 Mary is in love with that fellow over there.
art chance

that fellow nowadays.
there Ann

That there


8 It is not that one, idiot, that one. The one 1
over there.
9 A: Ive done that.
B: Really? Thats great.
8 that one 6 A
that one

9 Ive done that
6 a. A: Can you tell me the time? (of the
That one done that present moment, as standardly indicated on a
watch, and if so please do so tell me. )
3 the time

10 Hey, you, you just scratched my car with
your frisbee.
my car your frisbee 12 A: Wheres Bill?
B: Theres a yellow VW outside Sues


7 Mary

11 The truth is, Ann, nothing is as good 12 a. A: Wheres Bill?

B: (Im not sure where he is, but I think
he might be in Sues house, because ) there is a
yellow VW outside Sues house, (which is
similar to his car.)

Bill yellow VW
Bill Sue [1] Halliday, M. A. K. & Hasan, R. Cohesion in
English [M]. London: Longman, 1976.

[2] Halliday, M. A. K. & Hasan, R. Language,

Context and Text [M]. Victoria: Deakin University

Press, 1985.

[3] . [M].


[4] Danes, F. Functional sentence perspective and the

organization of the text[A]. Danes, F. Papers on

Functional Sentence Perspective[C]. The Hague:
Mouton, 1974. 106-128.
[5] Fies, Peter. On the status of theme in English:
[1] argument from discourse[J]. Forum Linguisticum,
1981, 6(1): 1-38.
[6] Brown, G. & Yule, G. Discourse Analysis [M].

Cambridge: CUP, 1983.
[7] Van Dijk, T. A. Text and Context: Explorations in

the Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse [M].

London: Longman, 1977.