n Per Linguam : a Journal of Language Learning = Per Linguam : Tydskrif vir Taalaanleer - How isiZulu speakers use cohesion in their academic writing in English

Volume 33 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0259-2312
  • E-ISSN: 2224-0012



Achievement rates for black students in South African higher education remain low after 20 years of democracy. Writing academic English according to existing conventions is a complex skill. One aspect of this skill is producing cohesive text. In this article, the writing of a group of isiZulu speakers at Wits is analysed to determine how Hallidayan cohesion is operating therein: how does this language group use conjunctions, lexical cohesion, referencing, ellipsis and substitution when writing in English? From this analysis, it is evident that there are elements of referencing, conjunction use and lexical cohesion which are well developed in their writing. At the same time, evidence of speech-type syntax in the data indicates areas where further development is possible. These findings have led to suggestions on how academic language input could facilitate writing skills development for this language group.

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