Arab World English Journal (December 2016)                                                          Theses / Dissertation (ID 179)

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Author: Dalal Abdullah Al-Shekaili
Thesis Title:  Cohesive features in persuasive (argumentative and non-argumentative) writing produced by Omani undergraduates
Subject/major:  TESOL
Institution: Durham University
Degree: MA
Year of award: 2011
Supervisor: Sylvie Donna
Keywords: argumentative, cohesive, coherence, function,  Omani undergraduates, persuasive



The present study examines cohesion in twenty persuasive English essays (eleven argumentative and nine non-argumentative essays) written by Omani undergraduate students (whose first language is Arabic) at Rustaq College of Applied Sciences. The goal of the essay analysis is to answer three questions: 1.) What are the cohesive features in persuasive writing composed by these Omani undergraduate English majors? 2.) To what extent do these Omani undergraduates use cohesion devices in their writings? 3.) Do these Omani students have any problems with the use of cohesion in their writing? If so, what are they? The analysis of cohesion ties is based on Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) model. The twenty persuasive essays are quantitatively analysed to identify the difference in use between lexical cohesive devices (i.e. repetition, synonyms, and antonyms) and grammatical cohesive devices (i.e. references, conjunction, substitution, and ellipsis). The analysed persuasive essays show that references are the most frequently used cohesion ties. It also indicates that there is no significant difference between argumentative and non-argumentative essays in terms of the cohesive devices used and their frequency. The study shows that students in the study overuse references while they underuse other grammatical cohesive ties. These Omani students overuse repetition of some lexical words, and their compositions exhibit a limited use of synonyms and antonyms. Substitution and ellipsis were not found in the students’ compositions. In addition, the analysis shows that the students experienced problems with the appropriate application of some of the cohesion ties. Insights gained from the current study suggest that these students’ awareness of cohesion in English needs to be enhanced and the grammatical functions of each cohesive tie should be implemented in the writing curriculum.

Note: Citing this thesis, please use:
Al-Shekaili, Dalal Abdullah. (2011). Cohesive features in persuasive (argumentative and non-argumentative) writing produced by Omani undergraduates. Durham University, Language Centre (Master’s Thesis).
Retrieved from (Arab World English Journal Database. (ID Number: 179, December 2016).