Lexical Cohesion in English and Persian Abstracts

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran

2 Islamic Azad University, Shiraz Branch, Iran


This study compares and contrasts lexical cohesion in English and Persian abstracts of Iranian medical students’ theses to appreciate textualization processes in the two languages. For this purpose, one hundred English and Persian abstracts were selected randomly and analyzed based on Seddigh and Yarmohamadi’s (1996) lexical cohesion framework, a version of Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) and Halliday’s (1985) taxonomies. For contrastive analysis, the SPSS package was used. The results revealed some similarities and differences in the use of lexical cohesion sub-categories in the parallel English and Persian texts. The occurrence of all sub-types is nearly the same in the two groups of texts and the two- tailed t-test employed showed that the differences are not statistically significant. Both languages exhibit a general tendency in using repetition, but synonymy and meronymy are the least used sub-categories. Regarding the density of the texts, the analysis indicates that Persian abstracts are denser than their corresponding English ones.


Castro, C. (2004). “Cohesion and the social construction of meaning in the essays of Filipino college students writing in L2 English”, Asia Pacific Education Review, 5(2), pp. 215-225.
Evans, M., Markowitz, J., Smith, R., Warmer, O. (1983). Lexical Semantic Relations: A Comparative Survey, Edmonton, Alberta: Linguistic Research Inc.
Flowerdew, J. (2006). “Use of signaling noun in a learner corpus. Lexical Cohesion and Corpus Linguistics (Special Issue)”, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 11(3), pp. 227-247.  
Francis, G. (1994). Labelling discourse: An aspect of nominal group lexical cohesion, in Coulthard, M. (ed.), Advances in Written Text Analysis, London: Routledge.
 Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, London: Edward Arnold.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1989). Text, Context, and Learning, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Hasan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English, London: Longman.
Ikegami, Y. (1980). “Linguistic typology and textual cohesion: Some notes on Halliday and Hasan’s cohesion in English”, Sophia Linguistica, 6, pp. 92-105.
Johns, A. M. (1980). “Cohesion in written business discourse: Some contrasts”, The ESP Journal, 1(1), pp. 35-44.
Kai, J. (2008). Lexical cohesion patterns in NS and NNS dissertation abstracts in applied linguistics: A comparative study. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2009, from http://www.linguistics- journal.com/December_2008-ik.php.
­­Linnarud, M. (1987). “The Swedish project: Lexical chains and lexical cohesion”, Nordwrite Reports II. Trondheim Papers in Applied Linguistics, pp. 29-39.
MacMillan, F. (2007). “The role of lexical cohesion in the assessment of EFL reading proficiency”, Arizona Working Papers in SLA and Teaching, 14, pp. 75-93.
Mirshekaran, I. (2003). Lexical Cohesion in Persian Narrative and Expository Text Types, Unpublished MA thesis, Shriaz University, Iran.
Mohebbi, B. (1998). A Contrastive Analysis of Ellipsis in English Texts and their Translation Equivalents in Persian, Unpublished MA thesis, Shiraz University, Iran.
Morris, J. and Hirst, G. (1991). “Lexical cohesion computed by thesaural relations as an indicator of the structure of text”, Computational Lingustics, 17 (1), pp. 21-48.
Morris, J. and Hirst, G. (2003). “Term relationships and their contribution to text semantics and information literacy through lexical cohesion”, Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Information Science. Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Nourmohammadi, E. (1988). Contrastive Analylsis of Cohesion in English and Persian, Unpublished MA thesis, Shiraz University, Iran
Saharagard, R. (1992). “Lexical Cohesion in English and Persian”, paper presented at Tabriz- Baku 1st Conference on Language Teaching Issues, Tabriz. Iran.
Seddigh, F. and Yarmohammadi, L. (1996). “Lexical Cohesion in English and Persian in Contrast”, Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 22 (1).
Taboada, M. T. (2000). Collaboration Through Talk: the Interactive Construction of Task Oriented Dialogue in English and Spanish, Unpublished doctoral thesis. Madrid University, Spain.
Tanskanen, S. (1995). “Continuity and interaction: Aspects of lexical cohesion in conversation”, Anglicana-Turkuensia, 10, pp. 99-114.
Veisi, A. (2002). Lexical Cohesion in English and Kurdish in Contrast, Unpublished MA thesis, Shiraz University, Iran.
Ziahosseiny, S. M. (1999). A Contrastive Analysis of Persian and English and Error Analysis, Tehran: Vira Publication.