Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Coherence through Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Coherence through Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

Article excerpt


This study includes an analysis of coherence to one of the famous short stories of Katherine Mansfield "Miss Brill". The paper tries to define coherence and what to follow in order to understand how a text is coherent. In fact, it is not a condition that a cohesive text must be coherent and vice versa. Each relation is found and possible to be analyzed according to different models and to totally different criteria. Therefore, the researcher attempts to analyze the short story according to a mixed model: that of Van Dijk and that of Winter.

Keywords: coherence, coherence relations, global coherence, local coherence, Miss Brill

1. Introduction

In discourse studies, coherence is often described as the way in which a discourse is "sewn" together with pieces related to other pieces. Mann and Thompson (1988, cited in Renkema, 2009) defined it as the absence of non-sequitures, i.e., a coherent. Text is one where all the parts form the whole: for every paragraph included in any discourse has a benefit of connecting the events and consequences to the previous and the next paragraph keeping the whole discourse coherent to the reader. Renkema (2004, p. 103, cited in Renkema, 2009) indicates that coherence refers to the inferences made by the receiver (reader/listener) depending upon his understanding the text and relating it to the outside world. Those connections are often captured in the form of coherence relations.

Al-Sahlany (2013) states that the basic conditions of coherence are referential (extensional) and not based on conceptual (intentional). He defines discourse coherence as a "sequence of propositions is coherent if the facts, events, actions and situations it refers to, are related". This relation may be casual, temporal, or enabling. In other words, a discourse is coherent if it satisfies a model and the relations between facts denoted by the propositions and the participants need an amount of the world knowledge. More shared knowledge allows discourse to be more "incomplete" or "less explicit". The definition of discourse coherence emphasizes that different mental models of a text knowledge, emotional involvement and goals as contextual properties of participants may influence the way they construe, more or less mental models of the texts by readers (their models) may be very different from that intended by the writer.

The idea of language function can go a long way towards solving the problem of what binds utterances together as a discourse in the absence of formal links. If we can ascertain the function of utterances, we will be able to perceive a unity of a different kind. Coherence for (Cook, 1989) is the quality of meaning, unity, and purpose perceived in discourse. Blommaert (2005) asserts that coherence is those grammatical and semantic patterns that connect various parts of discourse into a structural and meaningful whole.

In studying coherence, at paragraphs of any discourse which include units of meaning of varying complexity, the cognitive perspective becomes more important. These semantic units of their connection to the receiver's understanding is to have a coherent discourse, and according to the reader's inference activity, this connection may be either explicit on the surface or completely untrusted. Thus, this relation between successive individual units (words or sentences) is called local coherence, while logic that defines the place of individual units in the hierarchy themes and subthemes is called global coherence.

2. Kind of Coherence

2.1 Local Coherence

A discourse is locally coherent if the meaning of the sentences is related in some way. Al-Sahlany (2013) argues that local coherence may be referential or functional. A discourse sequence is referentially coherent if it has a model. Functional local coherence is defined in terms of the relations between the propositions themselves. For example, where one proposition has the function of being a specification, a generalization, an example or contrast of another proposition. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.