The Cohesion Factor: A Study of Japanese Junior High School Writing

Coombe, Deneys Laurence (2014) The Cohesion Factor: A Study of Japanese Junior High School Writing. Masters thesis, University of South Africa.

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This study compared cohesive devices in texts written by Japanese second-year junior high school learners with those in texts that appeared in the textbook they were studying. The purpose of the study was to determine which cohesive devices were being used in the textbook and which were used in the learners’ writing. The study used both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The quantitative analysis began by determining whether there was any significant difference between the textbook readings and the learners’ writing in terms of the frequency of cohesive devices. It then examined the kinds of devices that were used by both groups of texts. The qualitative analysis compared the patterns of reiteration in two textbook readings with those in a sample of six student texts of different levels of success. The results showed no significant differences between the student texts and the textbooks in terms of the overall frequency of cohesive devices. Among the individual devices, however, there was a significantly higher frequency of ellipsis and synonyms in the textbook readings than in the student texts. There was also a significantly higher frequency of conjunction and reference in the student texts relative to the textbook readings. In all other devices, there was no significant difference between the textbook readings and the student texts. The qualitative study revealed the importance of strong opening sentences, reinforcement of the main topic through repetition, as well as of linking new topics with the main topic in the textbook readings. However, the presence of these features varied in the selected student texts. Accordingly, stronger texts contained all these features, average texts contained some of them, and weaker texts contained few or none. This study consequently supports other studies that have shown that the way in which cohesive devices are used is far more important in determining text quality than the number of devices used. The findings of this study showed the strengths and weaknesses in the students’ writing, and highlighted the need for a greater awareness of cohesion by focusing more on sentence building, and the use of a greater variety of cohesive devices.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Martin Lucas Mkoba
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2017 11:43
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2017 11:47

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