Introduction John Kerry and George Bush’s rhetorical speeches are very different with regards to cohesion and coherence. McCarthy (1994) explains that cohesion focuses upon pronouns and articles, and what they refer to, and how substitution and ellipsis carry information which is understood from shared knowledge and previous utterances…
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This paper will explain the concept of cohesion in greater detail, and will apply the concepts introduced to two different speeches, one from John Kerry and one from George W. Bush. Discussion According to Cutting (2008), cohesion may take either the form of grammatical cohesion or lexical cohesion. In grammatical cohesion, a referring expression links with another referring expression which is cohesive with “the previous mention of the referent in the text” (Cutting, 2008). In other words, certain words, known and endophora, refer back to certain other words – the word “them” will refer back to an earlier noun, and the word “this” will refer back to an earlier sentence. Further, endophora may be associative, which means that the context in which a word is used tells the listener or reader the meaning of that word. Anaphora means a word which refers to the previous text, and cataphora refers to following text (Cutting, 2008). Moreover, Kerry uses anaphora much more than Bush does, with 7 different anaphoric sentences, compared to 3 different anaphoric sentences in Bush’s speech. ...
Basically, grammatical cohesion is a type of short-hand, where short words are used to refer back to other words, and ambiguous words are defined by their context. Further, endophora may be contrasted with exophora, which refers to outside context and not what occurred in the text – the listener knows the meaning of the word through its context (Cutting, 2008). Exophora reference is a cohesion concept that both George W. Bush and John Kerry use extensively. Both men used exophora 8 different times in the speeches. However, while much of John Kerry’s use of exophoric terms are some variation of “you,” “we,” “our” and “us,” with Bush, he doesn’t use these same terms. He uses the word “we’ve” in three different sentences – 16 to 18 – but, other than this, the terms that Bush uses which are exophoric are “lofty” sentences such as “freedom” in sentence 12, “liberty” in sentence 13, and “great land” in sentence 23, as well as the term “our alliances” in sentence 10. Hoey (1991) states that cohesion can further be broken up into five classes – conjunction, reference, substitution, ellipsis (all part of grammatical cohesion) and lexical cohesion. Conjunctions are words which mark a semantic relationship to a previous sentence. These words might include “however,” which signifies that the coming sentence is an exception to the rule of the previous sentence, or “alternatively,” which means that the coming sentence presents an alternative from the previous sentence. Reference is a semantic relation and the identity of the word can be ascertained by the previous text – pronouns such as “them” and “this” in the examples above would be an example of a reference. Substitution refers
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