Literary Stylistics:
Workshop Notes no. 18(c)

Conjunctive Cohesion

From a non-technical perspective, the term cohesion is occasionally understood in terms of the conjunctive linkages that a writer makes between the clauses of the text. We thus come to the third way, according to Halliday, through which cohesive linkages can be established between clauses: through the use of conjunctive adjuncts, which consist of certain adverbial groups or prepositional phrases. The use of conjunctions to link clauses, or its lack, has a parallel in classical rhetoric with the concepts of polysyndeton and asyndeton. In polysyndeton, relatively many conjunctions are used to link clauses, but in asyndeton, conjunctions are avoided. Thus a link can be made between Halliday's approach to conjunctive cohesion and classical rhetoric, in the sense that polysyndeton depends quite a lot on conjunctive cohesion, but asyndeton avoids it.

Like the tactic linkages between clauses within the sentence in our study of clause complexing, the cohesive conjunctive linkages between clauses (which may extend beyond the sentence) can also be seen in terms of elaboration, extension, and enhancement. The conjunctive adjuncts which give rise to elaboration and extension are given in the first table below, whilst those which give rise to enhancement are given in the next table (adapted from section 9.4 of the earlier editions of Halliday's Introduction; see also the slightly different tabulation in the third edition [section 9.3; pp. 542–3]). Like the table of modal adjuncts given in workshop notes no. 8, the lists of conjunctive adjuncts are not complete, nor are students expected to have a photographic knowledge of them in order to do stylistic analysis. It must also be noted that some of these adjuncts can also function as modal or circumstantial adjuncts, depending on the context in which they appear; some of the lexical items given below, like “actually,” “still” and “yet,” in fact appear in both the lists of modal and conjunctive adjuncts. In order to distinguish conjunctive adjuncts from the other types of adjuncts, you should keep the textual metafunction of conjunctive adjuncts uppermost in your minds: i.e., is the primary purpose the linkage between one part of the text and another?

DOMAIN

TYPE

MEANING

 EXAMPLES    

ELABORATION:

Apposition

expository

“i.e.”

that is (to say), in other words, I mean (to say), put it another way

 

exemplifying

“e.g.”

for instance, for example, thus, to illustrate

Clarification

 

 

 

 

 

 

corrective

“rather”

or rather, at least, to be (more) precise

distractive

“by the way”

by the way, incidentally

dismissive

“in any case”

in any case, anyway, leaving that aside

particularizing

“in particular”

in particular, more especially

resumptive

“to resume”

as I was saying, to resume, to get back to the point

summative

“in short”

briefly, to sum up, in conclusion

verifactive

“actually”

actually, in fact, as a matter of fact

EXTENSION:

Addition

 

positive

“and”

and, also, moreover, in addition, besides

negative

“nor”

nor

Adversative

adversative

“but”

but, on the other hand, yet, however, conversely

Variation

 

 

replacive

“instead”

instead, on the contrary

subtractive

“except”

apart from that, except for that

alternative

“alternatively”

alternatively

 

DOMAIN

TYPE

MEANING

EXAMPLES        

ENHANCEMENT

Spatio-Temporal

simple

1) following

then, next, afterwards, first...then

 

2) simultaneous

just then, at the same time

 

3) preceding

before that, hitherto, previously

 

4) conclusively

in the end, finally

complex

1) immediate

at once, thereupon, straightaway

 

2) interrupted

soon, after a while

 

3) repetitive

next time, on another occasion

 

4) specific

next day, an hour later, next morning

 

5) durative

meanwhile, all that time

 

6) terminal`

until then, up to that point

 

7) punctiliar

at this moment

simple internal

1) following

next, secondly, my next point is, first...next

 

2) simultaneous

at this point, here, now

 

3) preceding

hitherto, up to now

 

4) conclusive

lastly, last of all, finally

Comparative

 

 

comparative

positive

likewise, similarly, in the same way;

 

negative

in a different way

expression of means

“in the same manner”

in the same manner

Causal-conditional

 

 

 

 

 

 

causal: general

“therefore”

so, then, therefore, consequently, hence, because of that, for

causal: specific

 

 

1) result

in consequence, as a result

2) reason

on account of this, for that/this reason

3) purpose

for that purpose, with this in mind/view

conditional

 

 

1) positive

then, in that case, in that event, under the circumstances

2) negative

otherwise, if not

3) concessive

yet, still, though, despite this/that, even so, all the same, nevertheless, however

Respective

 

positive

“here”

here, there, as to that, in this/that respect; as far as that's concerned

negative

“elsewhere”

in other respects, elsewhere

 


 

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