Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis

Coherence and cohesion

Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis

Difference between Coherence and cohesion

1- Coherence and cohesion

The texts are a structured sequence of words that are arranged in sentences, which form a string, generate the text.

The statement is a unit formed by a sequence of words and communicates a complete meaning.


“The women and men of the Upper Paleolithic were engaged in gathering, hunting and shellfish.”

2- The coherence

It is the semantic unit of a text. In other words, it is the necessary connection that must exist between the ideas presented in a text to develop the theme.


Maria’s move

When Maria arrived with her pictures, she ate the salad because not tomorrow.

The text you just read would be characterized by any reader as an inconsistent text, because it has no unity in the ideas it delivers, nor does it deliver any possibility of ordering them hierarchically (perhaps the only thing we could say about it is that each approach follows from the previous one and so on in an endless chain, unless the reader gets bored, as will probably happen). Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis

The coherence of a text is based on the basis that the elements present in it remain throughout the message. Now, in some literary tendencies where “automatic writing” and “current of consciousness” are used, the text may present an aspect of inconsistency, but that is not so, because these texts are constructed in such a way that it is possible to assign them a theme and a unit, even if it is of a different nature than we are used to.


In micro to my house 

I walk tumbling down a quick, bumpy surface that throws me against the iron. A singer saves me and sits me in the chair with a smile on my face. Give me money, dishes, piticlin, plin, plin who is the one who comes there so pretty and so gentle. Cold faces glued to the window, breeze hitting the forehead, the lady who claims she has not been given a ticket and a bed that waits wet in the house.

For a text to be consistent, it must maintain the same theme and all the elements that compose it must point to that theme. In other words, we can say that a text is coherent when each of the parts that make it up is related to the central theme.

Global coherence: For a text to be consistent, it must have a central theme, and all ideas, main and secondary, must always be related to that idea.

Local coherence: All ideas must be organized in an orderly and logical manner, that is, there must be an internal sequence that allows us to follow the text and achieve a better understanding of the information.

Local coherence is manifested through the presence or absence of certain elements, which allow to relate the different sentences that make up the text. Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis

These particular and local relationships are called cohesion . Cohesion, therefore, corresponds to the network of relationships of meaning that are established within a text through different mechanisms, with the aim of contributing to its local and global coherence.

3- Cohesion

For consistency to exist, the elements of the text must be related to each other and form a unique and unitary idea between them. From the formal point of view, coherence is based on the operation of a series of resources to establish relationships between the elements of a text. Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis

Cohesion is a textual property through which the statements of a text are correctly related from the lexical and grammatical point of view. Therefore, we will say that there is cohesion in a text when the successive statements appear duly locked by morphosyntactic and lexical-semantic, and even phonic connectors.

These are called cohesion resources .
– Reference
– Substitution
– Ellipse
– The connectors
– Repetition by recurrence
3.1- The reference
This cohesion mechanism establishes a relationship between one element of the text and another or others that are present in the same text or in the situational context. The identification of the referents is a very important aspect
in the comprehension of the texts, since it directly affects the information processing. The textual reference can be of two kinds: Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis
a) Exophoric reference
It occurs when an element of the text refers to elements of reality or extralinguistic factors that are not in the text but in the situational context.
Example: We are an essential part of the University of Antioquia.
We establish a relationship with one of the levels that is part of the University of Antioquia and is not present in the text: students, professors, employees, workers, etc.
b) Endophoric reference
It occurs when the relationship is established with a reference that is present in the same text.
Example: We made an excellent offer. In it , it accurately describes all the advantages of the alliance.
The personal pronoun she refers to a nominal group that is present in the same text: an excellent offer.
Anaphoric references can be of two types:
– Anaphoric : They occur when a retrospective reference is established within the text, that is, when a term refers to another previously mentioned. The anaphoric elements par excellence are the so-called proformas, which can be of two types: grammatical proformas (pronouns, determined articles and adverbs) or lexical proformas (so called lexical meaning elements that act as substitutes for lexical units : person, thing, do …)
– Cataphoric: They occur when a prospective reference is established within a text, that is, when the meaning of a term depends on another that appears later. As the cataphoric reference announces something, it often appears followed by a colon (:) and expressions such as, for example, etc. Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis
3.2- Lexical substitution
It is a form of cohesion that consists in substituting one term for another. Such substitution can occur through several mechanisms, among which we will cite the following:
– Synonymic substitution: It  can be by means of total or referential synonyms (correction or textual synonymy). student – apprentice, school – school – school, dog – can – animal, etc. In the previous example: Juan, the elder brother, the man, etc.
– Substitution by metaphor or metonymyIt is a special form of correction in terms of its content: it refers, in simple terms, to a “real” element through a figure, an “imagined” element.
– Substitution for lexical proformas,  very general words that can be used instead of more precise ones. Also called superhonyms.
This form of cohesion consists in suppressing the information that is implied, and which, therefore, the reader can infer without any inconvenience.
3.4- The connective
Also called connectors, conjunctive relationships or transition expressions. They serve to establish logical relationships between sentences in a text. They express certain senses and presuppose the existence of other elements. They are usually defined as a set of text indicators that allow the reader to anticipate the sense in which the writer will handle the following idea. Textual connectives can be adverbs, adverbial phrases, conjunctions, prepositions and conjunctive, prepositional or nominal phrases.
Some are:
– Addition: in addition, more, even, additional to the above, on the other hand, another aspect, also, in addition.
– Contrast : but, nevertheless, on the contrary, however, although, despite, conversely, instead.
– Cause – effect:  because, therefore, therefore, therefore, therefore, for this reason, since, since, consequently, hence, thus, for this reason, therefore, therefore, so that according.
– Temporary: after, then, later, before, then, then, in the meantime, later, now, now, immediately, immediately, when, at the moment, time later, finally.
– Comparison:   as well as, as well as, in the same way, in the same way, likewise, equally.
– Emphasis: above all, certainly, what is more, what is worse, we repeat, in other words, as if that were not enough,
Most importantly, especially.
3.5- Repetition by recurrence It
can be total or partial. In the totals there is an exact reproduction of the same word or expression in different places of the text. In partial repetition only part of the lexical signifier is repeated. Coherence and cohesion in discourse analysis
3.6- punctuation marks
These are the elements of graphic expression, that is, the pauses or intonations existing within a text, are reflected by means of written signs, which are punctuation marks.
a) Signs of Pauses:  used to give rest and coherence to the discourse, because if there were no reading or exposition of it it would be a rain and agglutination of ideas without syntax or semantics. Here are the comma, the colon, the semicolon and the period.
b) Support Signs:  are those used to add extra information elements to the text, so we know the signs of parentheses, hyphens and asterisks for footnotes.
c) Signs of Intonation:  these signs give the necessary emphasis so that an idea has the strength that it requires, likewise, it delivers the rhythm and intonation pertinent for the understanding of the discourse. Interrogative, exclamatory signs and the use of quotation marks are in this item.
3.7- The deixis
Term from the Greek meaning “show”, “point”. Grammar phenomenon that consists in certain grammatical elements pointing to their referents in the context through demonstrative and possessive, adverbs and personal pronouns.
Ex .: The novelist must always be a visionary, someone who knows how to look beyond.
There are three types of deixis:
– The staff: sender (me, we …), receiver (you, you …)
– The space:  is produced by the use of place adverbs and demonstrative pronouns e.g. here, there, there
– The temporary:  through the use of adverbs of time eg. Now, before, after.

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