Report On a Study of Reference Cohesion in Texts of Nigerian ESL Students: Implications for the Classroom


The paper reports a study that investigated the use of reference cohesion in two essay types written by Nigerian ESL students. The sample consisted of 174 first year students of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programme. A set of pictures was used to elicit the first essay, and a topic prompt was used to elicit the second. Each study sample wrote two essays. The data was analysed using a model of analysis adopted from Hallliday and Hasan (1976). The study revealed a deployment of reference cohesion consistent with Standard English in one essay type and an inconsistency in the other. It was argued that limited knowledge of the passive form and the reading audience contributed to improper deployment of reference cohesion. Implications for teaching were discussed.

Keywords: English as a second language (ESL), cohesive devices, exophoric ties, reference cohesion, text elicitation tasks (TET)

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 20-24 (Download PDF)

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