Coherence and Cohesion in English Discourse

Czech Science Foundation project 405/08/0866

Project duration 2008 – 2012

The Project investigates some aspects of cohesion and coherence in spoken and written English discourse. The research has a theoretical aspect related to the conceptualization of cohesion and coherence as constitutive components of human communication. Since the researchers view coherence as a scalar notion, i.e. as a matter of interpretation dependent on the current hearers’/readers’ comprehension skills and social and cultural background knowledge, they approach the study of cohesion and coherence from a pragmatics point of view.

The applied aspect of the investigation is to explore how coherence is achieved in different registers and genres of spoken and written discourse, namely face-to-face conversation, telephone conversation, panel discussions, political speeches, media discourse, academic writing, and to show that the differences between discourse varieties are reflected in the language means that speakers/writers use when encoding the messages they want to convey to their addressees, and which the hearers/readers have to decode in order to arrive at meanings coherent with the speaker’s/writer’s communicative intentions. At a later stage of the research, the coherence and cohesion strategies typical of the genres under investigation will be compared in order to delimit general language strategies from genre-specific features which are motivated by the specific situational context and the communicative intentions of the participants in the communication.