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Halliday’s Textual Function Theory and Foreign Language Composition Teaching

Author: DiHongHua
Tutor: XuRuMin
School: Qufu Normal University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: Chapter functions Foreign Language Writing Halliday Structural level Cohesion Theory Cohesion and Coherence Writing Composition Teaching Descriptive Linguistics Writing Practice
CLC: H09
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2001
Downloads: 651
Quote: 5
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Abstract


The last three decades or so has seen a considerable growth of interest in text linguistics. As a unit of language beyond sentence level, text has been widely studied in descriptive and applied linguistics (McCarthy, 1991). With the foundation and full bloom of functional grammar, more and more researchers use Halliday’s textual function theory to analyze and construct a text. Being one of the components of textual function, cohesion theory has been introduced and studied widely in China at the same time, it has aroused great interest of the Chinese scholars. But unfortunately its application in foreign language teaching is by far not satisfactory, especially in Writing' dissertation">Foreign Language Writing Teaching. Lack of awareness of cohesion and coherence can be found in most students’ compositions. Hence students’ lower scores in writing spur us to make an integration of cohesion theory and foreign language teaching, in the hope that the introduction will by all means improve students’ writing competence.This paper consists of seven parts, including the introduction and the conclusion. The introduction discusses the purpose of this dissertation, the theoretical framework adopted in it, current situations of English writing teaching in China and finally the necessity of the integration of the cohesion concept and the writing teaching.hapter 1 first introduces the three metafunctions by Halliday and then tries to define the term text and the concept of cohesion from the perspective of Textual Function. It also presents a brief review of the literature on the studies of cohesion as well as the relation between cohesion and coherence in a text.Chapter 2 deals with the concept of cohesion at non-structural level, based on Halliday & Hasan’s model in 1976.A detailed description is devoted to the five cohesive devices: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and lexicalcohesion. These five devices are nonstructural forms yet they are of value in judging the cohesiveness of texts.Chapter 3 discusses the concept of cohesion at structural level, based on the Halliday & Hasan’s model in 1985. Theme and Rheme, which serve as the starting point and the focus of information, interplay in the thematic patterns that contribute a lot to the comprehension as well as the construction of a specific of a text. Information structure, which frequently emerges in spoken language, also plays a role in the interpretation of the written language. The interaction of information structure and thematic structure suggests that it is important to take into account not only the particular clauses in question but also some other elements such as the context, the co-text and knowledge shared by the speaker/writer and the listener /reader.Chapter 4 moves into a bit of practical one. The bulk of this chapter is devoted to the analysis of students’ problems concerning cohesion both at non-structural and structural level. It further strengthens with evidence that it is necessary to integrate the concept of cohesion with practical writing instructions.Chapter 5 puts forward some strategies for cohesion teaching in EFL, based on the previous discussion. After synthesizing the merits of the two approaches now used in present writing classrooms, the author proposes an integrated approach. This approach intends to commit three systematically developmental stages: the reading-based stage, the exercise-based stage and the writing stage. The implementation of this approach will involve not only the writing class but also the cooperation of reading class.The conclusion is the retrospect and the prospect of the whole paper, in which we summarize the thesis, address its limitations and at the same time point out the unsolved problems that need more efforts in the future.

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