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Title: Patterns of lexical cohesion in EFL texts : a study of the compositions of students at the Lebanese American University
Author: El-Bacha, Nahla Nola Shalhoub
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1997
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The aim of this research is to investigate lexical cohesion patterns in expository texts written by Arabic speaking students of English in the EFL Program at the Lebanese American University. Specifically, it investigates whether such patterns are an indicator of writing quality and whether there are differences between high and low holistically rated texts and study language (English and French) at the same level. The procedure entailed selecting a random sample of 40 texts, 20 rated high and 20 rated low, from a corpus of 202 texts written at the beginning of the academic year 1993-94 (Diagnostic Test 1) and the same students' re-writing on the same topic at the end of the semester after three months of regular instruction (Diagnostic Test 2). The findings indicate that there were no significant relations between lexical cohesion as identified by the frequency of bonds or bond distance and text level, but there were significant relations between frequency of a few types of links and text level indicating writing quality. There were no significant relations between study language at the same level on all variables. However, the high rated texts showed significantly higher frequencies of 1) 'sophisticated' types of links 2) bonded pairs of sentences over longer distances and 3) 'sophisticated' types of repetition in adjacent sentences. This indicates more maturity in writing than that found in the texts produced by the less proficient students. This also confirmed the holistic ratings of the texts. Findings further indicate that the sample sub texts formed from the highly bonded sentences showed satisfactory coherence ratings of organization of ideas. Together with the comments and suggestions of the students this confirmed the lexical cohesion analysis results and initial holistic text ratings. Based on the findings, a model showing the relation between cohesion and coherence is suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available