The Use of Cohesive Devices and Coherence in Persian Translations of “The Rain Maker”, Based on De Beaugrande and Dressler Model | July 2017 | Translation Journal

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The Use of Cohesive Devices and Coherence in Persian Translations of “The Rain Maker”, Based on De Beaugrande and Dressler Model


Cohesion as a major component of language ability plays a significant role in connecting the sentences and paragraphs of texts together. It is related to the broader concept of coherence. In this study it has been tried to compare two Persian translations of an English text, The Rainmaker, in terms of cohesive devices and coherence, based on De beugrande and Dressler cohesion and coherence model to see if there are any differences between the two translations in terms of using cohesive devices and also to find out if there are one-to-one relations between them and finally to see how the two translators have tried to build up textual coherence based on the proposed model. The results show that the frequencies of cohesive devices used by the two translators indicate great difference between the two translations especially about ellipsis and parallelism which may be because of the different writing styles of the translators or the word choice which itself has to do with the decision-making process. In continue, the findings revealed that the two translators have tried to build up coherence using pronouns to keep the continuity of senses of the text which itself is one of the features of textual coherence.

Keywords: Coherence, Cohesive Devices, parallelism, conjunctions, ellipsis

1. Introduction

As far as the communicative nature of translation is concerned, cohesion is regarded as an essential textual component both in creating organized texts and rendering the content comprehensible to the reader. Many researchers have explored the connection between the use of cohesive devices and the quality of the translation. Cohesion occurs where the interpretation of some elements in the discourse is Dependent on that of another. The one presupposes the other in the sense that is cannot be effectively decoded except by recourse to it, a semantic relation between an element in the text and some other element that is crucial to the interpretation of it. It involves the recourse of one element to another in the text for its Interpretation. Cohesion is created through grammar, such as pronouns and conjunctions, but also through lexis by the repetition of lexical items and semantically related items. This is called lexical cohesion which is a component of a coherent text. Although lexical cohesion may be achieved by relations such as Synonymy and antonymy, for different researchers, lexical cohesion is achieved by relations felt by the reader that are difficult to classify. Coherence also concerns the ways in which the components of the textual world, i.e., the configuration of concepts and relations which underlie the surface text, are mutually accessible and relevant.

2. Review of Literature

Cohesion is defined as “a semantic relation between an element in the text and some other element that is crucial to the interpretation of it” (Halliday & Hasan 1976). Cohesion is objective, capable in principle of automatic recognition, while coherence is subjective and judgments concerning it may vary from reader to reader (Hoey 1991).

De Beaugrande and Dressler (1981) regard cohesion as one of the seven standards of textuality. Therefore, in order to be communicative a text must be organized, and this organization can be achieved through the use of cohesive devices. Carter (1987) defines cohesion as the term that embraces the means by which texts are linguistically connected. According to Halliday and Hasan (1976), cohesion can be divided into two types: grammatical cohesion and lexical cohesion. The previous refers to a combination of terms between sentences that form grammatical aspect.

Gutwinski (2007) attempted to root cohesion in a stratification framework; its focus on the potential stylistic applications of cohesive studies has since provided a starting point for some research studies in stylistics.

Brown and Yule (1983) pointed out that any of formal markers does not stand in a simple one to one relationship with a particular cohesive relation: ’and’, for example, is used between sentences which indicate any of the four mentioned relationships. It does not mean that present relationships cannot be existed in the absence of formal markers, but it means that it is the underlying semantic relationship which actually has the cohesive power rather than the particular marker.

Markels (1984) provides a definition of cohesion as it elevates a random collection of sentences to the status of a text, and in the process imparts meaning, insight, and purpose to those sentences. He claims that without cohesion, the text can hardly be said to exist at all, for cohesion provides the textual means for initiating comprehension and sense.

Vande Kopple (1986) carried out experiments in reading by using texts which followed the “given first” principle and others which did not, and found a significant difference in increased readability with the former.The importance of the concept of coherence for textual analysis is that, whatever our perspective, the unity of the text is a given. The analysis of textual coherence therefore includes three aspects: (1) the internal structure of the text, i.e. how coherence is constructed through textual means; (2) the particular interaction of the text with its context of production and reception, i.e. the contextual definition and interpretation of the concrete nature of the text’s coherence; (3) the interaction between the two, i.e. the motivation of internal structural characteristics by its specific contextual unity.

The notion of coherence is intricately linked to the notion of text, which arises out of the observation that a sequence of linguistic signs can display a “continuity of senses” (De Beaugrande & Dressler 1981, p. 84) – a condition for being understood as a syntagm – without belonging to a syntactically comprehensive structure reflecting that semantic continuity.

A study of cohesion and coherence with respect to genres was carried out by Cox and Sulzby (1990) Narrative stories and expository reports of third and fifth grade students were examined in terms of appropriate use of cohesive devices and cohesive harmony. Cox and Sulzby state that narrative and expository writing do not differ in the amount of cohesion required (Cox and Sulzby, 1990), but in the use of types of cohesion devices, an issue considered in the statistics of the present study. Does students’ writing reveal individual differences in understanding the use of cohesion and its function in narrative and expository texts?

Cook (1989) defined cohesion “as the quality of being meaningful and unified.” It is a quality clearly necessary for communication and second language learning. His claim that cohesive devices are “formal links between sentences and clauses” is acceptable to the present framework of analysis. Cohesion theory has been under severe criticism by process-oriented researchers. Carrell (1982), for instance, argues that a text can be coherent but not cohesive. See her example below: the picnic was ruined. No one remembered to bring a corkscrew.15She explains that coherence is achieved by the reader’s schema of a picnic, not by the lexical ties of picnic and corkscrew.

Xuefan (2007) analyzed the use of lexical cohesive devices by 15 each of 1st- and 3rd-year English majors from Wuyi University in China. The findings of the study demonstrated that proficiency levels did not influence the students’ implementation of cohesive devices in their writing. Furthermore, the researcher indicated that repetition was more significantly used than other types of lexical cohesion. Alarcon & Morales (2011), who stated that cohesion refers to the linguistic features which help make a sequence of sentences a text. The mastery of cohesive devices is a crucial element of effective academic translation and essential for academic success in any university program where English is the medium of instruction. Consequently, the utilization of cohesive devices in academic translation has attracted the attention of many researchers who are endeavoring to address the issue of lack of cohesion in students’ writing, especially in those countries, such as Oman, where English is taught as a foreign language.

Wales (2014) observes that pro-form is concerned with the relation between words and extra-linguistic reality: what words stand for or refer to in the outside world or universe of discourse. In linguistics, care is usually taken to distinguish knowledge of the world from knowledge of language: the extra-linguistic notion of pro-form is contrasted with the intralinguistic notion of sense, a property arising from the meaning relations between lexical items and sentences, (Crystal, 1985).

As for Thrall and Hibbard (1960) the principle of parallelism simply indicates that co-ordinate ideas should have co-ordinate presentation. Within sentence, for instance, where several elements of equal importance are to be expressed, if one element is cast in a relative clause, the other should be expressed in relative clauses.

Mashkour (1994) assumes that the avoidance of lengthy sentences and the observation of economy principal are the main reasons for ellipsis.

Ellipsis is one of the means of cohesion and its main feature is omission of words or phrases whose meanings can be understood or recovered from the context. Ellipsis is used both by speakers and writers and especially in speech it can be considered a marker of informality as Carter (2006: 902) observes. Definitions of ellipsis are more or less the same, however, when it comes to its division, different attitudes towards it may be observed.

The conjunctive elements serve to reinforce and highlight the relationship between other elements of the text (Donnelly 1994). The specific choice of the conjunctive marker provides the reader with clues as to how the writer perceives the statement to be related‘, i.e. how he or she thinks the reader should understand the text.

Recurrence is frequently used to reassert and re-affirm one’s point of view or to convey surprise at occurrences that seem to conflict with one’s viewpoint. Recurrence is a frequent phenomenon in probably all languages of the world. Recurrences of any kind usually serve rhetorical purposes. They indicate that there is similarly regular relation between formal and content-related entities, usually expressing a relation of equivalence, but sometimes also of opposition (De Beau Grande & Dressler 1981). This subsection deals with the identification and explanation of recurrence in English from the viewpoints of some specialists in the field of text linguistics and discourse analysis. Among these, the model proposed by de Beau Grande (1980) and de Beau Grande and Dressler (1981) will be exploited for the purpose of the present study.

The pervasiveness of repetition has been highlighted by many authors and Halliday and Hasan indicate that reiteration is a form of lexical cohesion that involves the repetition of a lexical item, at one end of the scale; the use of a general word to refer back to a lexical item, at the other end of the scale; and a number of things in between the use of synonym, near-synonym, or superordinate. (Halliday & Hasan 1976, p. 278).

In his discussion of the lexicology of composition, Nash maintains that one effective device of lexical cohesion is simply to reiterate a word until it becomes “a pervasive motif, insistently claiming and directing the reader’s attention” (Nash 1980, p. 46).

According to Quirk et al. (1985) even in language that is being used in less specialized way, repetition is common enough to convey emphasis. Moreover, repetition in ordinary discourse also occurs to indicate the repetition, extent or confirmation of a phenomenon.

3. Research questions

  1. What differences are there between the two translations in terms of using cohesive devices?
  2. Are there any one-to-one relations between the two translations?
  3. How have the two translators tried to build up coherence, regarding the model?

4. Methodology

4.1. Materials

The Rainmaker is a 1995 novel by John Grisham. This was Grisham's sixth novel. It differs from most of his other novels in that it is written almost completely in the simple present tense. So the source text would be The Rainmaker and the two translations as target texts by Adel pour (1997) and Ziadlou (2006). Two chapters have randomly been selected to conduct this research.

4.2. Procedure

First, the source text has been read carefully to identify cohesive devices used in the source text. Two chapters were randomly selected to conduct the study. Second, both Persian translations have also been read carefully to identify frequencies used by the two different translators in terms of cohesive devices introduced in the proposed model and also coherence, so as to compare the two translations if there are any one-to-one relations between them and also to see how the two translators have tried to build up coherence there and finally to see what differences can be seen in terms of cohesive devices according to the proposed model.

5. Data Analysis

For the sake of brevity, here are some examples of analyzing cohesive devices and then coherence.

1. Thank you," Miss Birdie says. She turns and smiles at Booker and me. We both lean forward on our elbows and once again look at the crowd. "Now, “she says dramatically, "for the program today, we are so pleased to have Professor Smoot here again with some of his very bright and handsome students.

1.خانم بردی گفت متشکرم و برگشت و به من و بوکر لبخند زد. ما هر دو روی آرنج های خود خم شدیم و یکبار دیگر به جمعیت نگاه کردیم. خانم بردی گفت حالا ما خیلی خوشحالیم که پروفسور اسموت را همراه با شاگردان باهوش و خوش قیافه اش مجددا در اینجا داریم.

TT1: recurrence: و , خانم بردی , ما , گفت , parallelism: باهوش و خوش قیافه , conjunctions: و , که , را

2. خانم بردی تشکر کرد و او برگشت و به من و بوکر لبخند زد. هر دوی ما به جلو خم و بار دیگر به جمعیت نگاه کردیم. او حالا با هیجان گفت خیلی مسروریم که پروفسور اسموت و دانشجویان خوش تیپ و دانایش را برای برنامه امروز اینجا داریم.

TT2: recurrence: و , او , به, pro-forms: او for خانم بردی , ellipsis: شدیمafter خم, parallelism: خوش تیپ و دانا , conjunctions: و , را, که

In this example the TT1 has not used ellipsis and pro-form while the TT2 has done. Also the number of cohesive devices used by the two translators is different.

2. My first conference. Last summer I clerked for a small firm downtown, twelve lawyers, and their work was strictly hourly. No contingency fees. I learned the art of billing, the first rule of which is that a lawyer spends much of his waking hours in conferences.

1. اولین سخنرانی من تابستان گذشته بود. در یک کمپانی کوچک در وسط شهر کار می کردم ، ما دوازده وکیل بودیم و کار ما دقیقا ساعتی بود. هیچ پول تصادفی وجود نداشت. من هنر شکایت کردن را آموخته بودم. اولین قاعده آن انست که یک وکیل بیشتر ساعت خود را در کنفرانسها می گذراند.

TT1: recurrence: ما , من , در , را , یک , کار , وکیل , pro-forms: آن for شکایت , conjunctions: و , را

2. اولین کنفرانس و جلسه من تابستان گذشته بود که در یک شرکت کوچک و در مرکز شهر کار آموزی میکردم. در آنجا دوازده وکیل که ساعتی حقوق میگرفتند وجود داشت. هیچ وجوه احتیاطی وجود نداشت. من هنر صورت مالی نوشتن را یاد گرفتم که می گوید یک وکیل بیشتر اوقات در جلسه می باشد.

TT2: recurrence: من , و , که , یک , جلسه , در , وکیل , وجود , parallelism: کنفرانس و جلسه , pro-forms: آنجا for شرکت , conjunctions: و , که

In this example the TT1 unlike the TT2 has not used any parallelism and both translators have not used any ellipsis.

4. Miss Birdie cuts her eyes about, and this is my signal to keep both my head and voice low, because whatever it is she wants to confer over is serious as hell. And this suits me just fine, because I don't want a soul to hear the lame and naive advice I am destined to provide in response to her forthcoming problem.

1. خانم بردی با چشمانش به اطراف نگاه کرد و این به این معنی بود که من می بایست هم سر خود را پایین بیاندازم و هم صدای خود را ، چون او می خواهد خیلی جدی مشاوره بگیرد و این خیال من را راحت می کند چون نمی خواهم احدی مشاوره سست و ضعیف من در پاسخ به مشکلات او را بشنود.

In this example the translator of the TT1 has tried to reach the textual coherence using pronouns which is a way to build up and keep continuity of sense in a text. او refers to خانم بردی

2. خانم بردی چشمهای خود را به اطراف می دوخت و این علامتی است که من باید سر و صدای خود را پایین بیاورم زیرا هرآنچه باشد ، او می خواهد. و این برای من مناسب است ، زیرا من نمی خواهم هیچ نصیحتی را بشنوم. من می خواهم در جواب او مشکلش را حل کنم.

In this example the translator of the TT2 has tried to reach the textual coherence using pronouns which is a way to build up and keep continuity of sense in a text. او refers to خانم بردی

5. Wouldn't those fellows at Broadnax and Spear be impressed if I walked in the first day and brought with me a client worth at least twenty million? I'd be an instant rainmaker, a bright young star with a golden touch. I might even ask for a larger office.

. آیا دوستان من در موسسه بروندکس و اسپیر با دیدن مشتری حداقل بیست میلیون دلاری من تحت تاثیر قرار می گرفتند؟ من یک بارانساز فوری بودم و یک ستاره درخشان با داشتن یک فرصت طلایی در دست. من حتی می توانستم از آنان یک دفتر بزرگتر تقاضا کنم.

TT1: recurrenceمن,یک, با , در , pro-forms: آنان for دوستان من , conjunctions: و

2. من می توانستم همکارانم در شرکت بروندکس و اسپیر را با بردن موکل بیست میلیون دلاری در آنجا شگفت زده کنم. من می توانم یک بارانساز فوری باشم یک ستاره جوان و درخشان با استعداد طلایی و ناب و  می توانم حتی از آنها درخواست یک دفتر بزرگتر کنم.

TT2: recurrence: من , میتوانم , یک , با, در , parallelism: جوان و درخشان , طلایی و ناب, pro-forms: آنها for همکارانم , conjunctions: و

In this example TT1 has not used parallelism unlike the TT2 but both translators have not used ellipsis.

6. Instead, she says, "Everything else goes to the Reverend Kenneth Chandler. Do you know him? He's on television all the time now, out of Dallas, and he’s doing all sorts of wonderful things around the world with our donations, building homes, feeding babies, teaching from the Bible. I want him to have it." "A television evangelist?

1. در عوض او گفت: من می خواهم که همه چیز به پدر کنت چندلر برسد. آیا تو او را می شناسی؟ او حالا در صفحه تلویزیون ظاهر می شود ، خارج دالاس او همه گونه کارهای خارق العاده در همه جای دنیا انجام می دهد. با این پول ما او می تواند خانه ها بسازد ، بچه ها را غذا دهد انجیل را تدریس کند. من می خواهم او این پول را داشته باشد. یک کشیش تلویزیونی؟

TT1: recurrence: من , او , را , پول , این , در , همه , می خواهم , pro-form: او for پدر کنت چندلر , conjunctions: که

2. باقی چیزها به کنت چندلر می رسد. او را می شناسی؟ او حالا بیرون از دالاس همیشه در تلویزیون است. او می تواند با پول ما در سراسر دنیا کارهای خیر انجام دهد و خانه بسازد ، به بچه ها غذا بدهد و انجیل تدریس کند. می خواهم که او این پول را داشته باشد. یک مبلغ انجیل؟

TT2: recurrence: و , او , پول , در , را , pro-form: او for کنت چندلر , conjunctions: و , که

In this example parallelism and ellipsis have not been used by both the translators.

7. You can't leave it to me, Miss Birdie," I say, and offer her my sweetest smile. My eyes, and probably my lips and mouth and nose as well, beg for her to say yes! Dammit! It's my money and I'll leave it to whomever I want, and if I want you, Rudy, to have it, then dammit! It's yours!

1. شما نمی توانید چیزی را به من واگذار کنید خانم بردی. در حالی که شیرینترین لبخند خود را تحویل او می دادم. چشم ها ، احتمالا لب ها ، دهان و بینی من به او التماس می کردند که بگوید بله. می توانم لعنتی. این پول من است و من آن را به هر کس که بخواهم واگذار میکنم و من اگر از تو بخواهم که مال تو باشد پس لعنتی این مال توست.

TT1: recurrence: من , او , که , مال , تو , این , به , لعنتی , واگذار , و , parallelism: دهان و بینی , pro-forms: او for خانم بردی , conjunctions: که , و , اگر

2. من درحالیکه شیرین ترین لبخندم را به او می زنم به او گفتم: خانم بردی شما نمیتوانید آن را به من واگذار کنید. چشمان من و احتمالا لبهایم و نیز دهان و بینی ام به او التماس می کنند تا بگوید بله. لعنتی. این پول من است و به هر کس که بخواهم این را واگذار میکنم و رودی اگر از تو بخواهم که این پول را بگیری پس لعنتی این مال تو می باشد.

TT2: recurrence: من , را , که , به , پول , تو , واگذار , او , این , و , parallelism: دهان و بینی , pro-forms: او for خانم بردی , conjunctions: و , نیز , تا , که , اگر

In this example ellipsis has been remained unused by the two translators.

8. Fair enough. Who gets the money?" I ask, and I'm suddenly intoxicated by the power just bestowed upon me to draft the magic words that will make millionaires out of ordinary people. My smile to her is so warm and so fake I hope she is not offended. "I'm not sure," she says wistfully, and glances about as if this is a game. "I’m just not sure who to give it to.

1. در حالی که از قدرتی که بطور ناگهانی به من رسیده بود سرمست بودم و به این می اندیشدم که با این کلمات جادویی چه مردم عادی به افراد به مردم میلیونر مبدل می شوند. لبخند من به او انقدر گرم بود که من امیدوار بودم که او نرنجد. او مشتاقانه گفت من مطمین نیستم. او مشتاقانه گفت و به دور وبر خیره شد مثل اینکه این یک بازی است. من مطمین نیستم که آن را به چه کسی بدهم.

TT1: recurrence: من , که , او , به , گفت , چه و, parallelism: دور و بر , conjunctions: و, که , چه

2. اگر منصف باشیم باید بگوییم که پول به چه کسی می رسد؟ من پرسیدم وقتی که ناگهان از خود بیخود و مسرور بودم توسط قدرتی که به من رسیده بود تا کلمات جادویی را به کار ببرم که از مردم عادی میلیونر می سازد. لبخندم به حدی گرم و مصنوعی بود که امیدوار بودم او ناراحت نشده باشد. با حسرت و افسوس او گفت: مطمین نیستم و جوری خیره می شود گویی این یک بازی است. واقعا نمی دانم به چه کسی این را بدهم.

TT2: recurrence: من , که , او , چه کسی , این , از, parallelism: ازخود بیخود و مسرور , گرم و مصنوعی , حسرت و افسوس , pro-form: این for پول, conjunctions: و , که ,

In this example the TT1 has use used the same cohesive devices as the TT2 but the only difference is that the TT1 didn’t use pro-form         and both of the translators have not used ellipsis here.

9. Booker's client is trying desperately to regain his composure, but the tears are dropping from his cheeks and Booker is becoming unnerved. He’s assuring the old gentleman that, yes indeed, he, Booker Kane, will check into die matter and make things right. The air conditioner kicks in and drowns out some of the chatter.

1. مشتری بوکر سعی می کرد آرامش خود را مجددا به دست آورد ولی اشک از گونه های او فرو میریخت و بوکر دلسرد شده بود. او پیرمرد محترم را متقاعد میساخت که بله در حقیقت او ، بوکر کین ، موضوع را بررسی و همه چیز را درست خواهد کرد. دستگاه تهویه به راه افتاد.

TT1: recurrence: او , به , را , بوکر , ellipsis: می کند  after بررسی , pro-forms: او for بوکر , او for مشتری بوکر , conjunctions: ولی , که , و

2. موکل بوکر سعی دارد نا امیدانه خود را جمع و جور کند اما اشک از گونه های او سرازیر است و بوکر در حال عصبی شدن است. او به پیرمرد اطمینان می دهد که خود او یعنی بوکر کین همه چیز را چک و درست خواهد کرد. کولر روشن می شود و بخشی از مکالمه را تحت الشعاع قرار می دهد.

TT2: recurrence: بوکر , خود , است , و , او , را , از , می دهد , pro-forms: او for بوکر , او for  موکل بوکر , parallelism: جمع و جور , conjunctions: که , و , اما

In this example the TT1 unlike the TT2 has used ellipsis and on the other hand the TT2 has used parallelism which the TT1 has not.


6. Results

The following tables summarize the results of the analyzed data discussed above, illustrating the frequency of each of the cohesive devices in the selected parts of the two translations.

The Frequency of cohesive devices in the TT1


The Frequency of cohesive devices in TT2


7. Findings and Discussion

According to the results obtained in this chapter, after comparing the selected parts of the two works of translation with their corresponding source text, regarding cohesion, there has seen a great difference between the TT1 and the TT2 in terms of using cohesive devices especially ellipsis and parallelism. As for the TT1 the highest frequency among the five cohesive devices goes to recurrence with the frequency of 354 while the frequency of the same cohesive devices for the TT2 is 333. The lowest frequency in the TT1 goes to ellipsis with the frequency of 9 while the frequency of the same cohesive device for the TT2 is 26.Different reasons may cause the fore mentioned results. One reason may be the different writing styles each translator has. Another reason can be due to the word choice the translator made during the decision-making process which is a very important process in translation task. Some other reasons like personal knowledge of the translators must not be disregarded and the result might be affected by such intervening we can conclude that there are no one-to-one relations between the two translations in terms of using cohesive devices.

As for the coherence, the analyzed data in the previous chapter and based on the results, it was demonstrated that the translators have tried to build up textual coherence by using pronouns to keep and maintain the continuity of senses of a text which itself is one of the features of textual coherence.

Answering the first question and based on the results in chapter 4, there are differences between the TT1 and the TT2 in terms of the frequency of cohesive devices used by the two translators. The reason can be because of the style of writing of each translator and also the word choice of them and may be the knowledge of the translators on cohesion and cohesive devices can play a key role here in this issue.

Answering the second question and following the first question, the results showed that there is no one-to-one relation between the two translations since the frequency of cohesive devices used by them has been different.

Answering the third question, the two translators have tried to build up textual coherence by using clear pronouns to keep the continuity of the senses of the text so as to make the translation coherent.

8. Conclusion and Suggestions

The findings of this research and other similar studies in this field can be beneficial for translators, instructors and students of translation.

This study may make the literary translators more conscious about choices they make and their consequences, for every single action they take has a great influence on the reader’s conception. Since this causes a huge responsibility, decision-makers can try to improve the field by educating students of translation studies to be more watchful.

With the help of this study and its results, instructors and translators will become more aware of the nature of cohesion and coherence and their effects on the target translated texts.

This study focused on literary text, but it can be replicated on other text types such as religious, scientific, advertisement, etc.

This study can be done regarding the effects of shifts in the translation of cohesive devices on the quality of translation.

This study was carried out based on a comparison between two different translations of a source text, but researchers may conduct comparative study focusing on comparison of the source text with target texts.


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