Language Learning & Technology
Vol. 5, No. 3, September 2001, pp. 152-173


Paginated PDF version

Terry Murphy
Yonsei University, Seoul


This study uses the concept of "emergent texture" to analyze the corpus behavior of the four nominal demonstratives -- this, that, these, and those -- in an interlanguage corpus created at Yonsei University in the Fall of 1999. "Emergent texture" refers to the manner in which interlanguage texts gradually develop their use and control of the grammatical and semantic means used to establish textual cohesion. The study investigates a corpus of 109 single paragraphs created at Yonsei University in the Fall of 1999. The concept of markedness is emphasized as a way of mediating the debate over the issue of interlanguage development, linking this to the extensive description of inter-sentential cohesive relations in Halliday and Hasan's 1976 study, Cohesion in English. The investigation proper begins with the analysis of a single sample paragraph of low-level interlanguage taken from the corpus in order to establish a frame of reference for what follows. It then examines various aspects of interlanguage cohesion within the corpus as a whole, including reiteration, synonyms and near-synonyms, the behavior of the nominal group, and cataphoric reference. The paper concludes with a discussion of future research possibilities in the area of interlanguage cohesion.


The investigation of the written compositions of second language learners has been a central issue for applied linguists since the mid-1960s. Although the school of contrastive rhetoric (the study of the cross-cultural aspects of second language writing) remains highly influential, there has been a recent and growing interest in using corpus analysis to understand this area of second language learning (Beaugrande, 1997; Connor, 1996; Freedman, Pringle, & Yalden, 1979; Kaplan, 1966; Kroll, 1990). One central concern for applied linguists interested in corpus analysis has been the problem of how to measure the learner's growing second language sophistication (Laufer & Nation, 1998; Shaw & Liu, 1998). A majority of the applied linguists who have investigated this issue take some definition of lexical richness to be central in any adequate account of measurement. In other words, when approaching the issue of the development of second language writing, applied linguists draw a sharp line between the categories of lexis and grammar in order to focus their attention on the development of lexis. This decision is reflected in the fact that virtually all such measures, including those used by the major available software, rely on the notion of a stable grammatical denominator in their calculations of lexical richness. This paper marks a departure in suggesting that the concept of "emergent texture," which offers itself as a measure of the development of interlanguage grammar and semantics, may prove to be useful for analyzing some central aspects of the development of second language writing. Utilizing the basic framework of the work of Halliday and Hasan on first language textual cohesion, the present study demonstrates its usefulness in a detailed analysis of an interlanguage corpus created at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.


This study situates itself within the emerging schools of corpus and textual linguistics. The research was carried out on an interlanguage corpus created during the Fall 1999 semester, assembled from the various genres of single paragraph compositions written by two undergraduate writing classes at Yonsei University. Utilizing the basic framework of textual cohesion outlined in Halliday and Hasan's Cohesion in English (1976), the study analyses the manner in which certain basic grammatical units, the nominal demonstratives, become progressively integrated into second language writing. An underlying assumption of the study is that the concept of markedness, associated with functional grammar and text linguistics, might be used to shed light on this process of integration (Greenberg, 1966; Halliday, 1994; Jakobson, 1957; Rutherford, 1982). The degree of interlanguage cohesion is a useful measure of the writer's ability to make significant choices among grammatical and semantic elements. The basic approach adopted here to the issue of interlanguage development is dialectical and qualitative. In the words of Lucien Goldmann (1964),

the only possible starting-point for research lies in isolated abstract empirical facts; the only valid criterion for deciding on the value of a critical method lies in the possibility which each may offer of understanding these facts, of bringing out their significance and the laws governing their development. … The advance of knowledge is thus to be considered as a perpetual movement to and fro, from the whole to the parts and back to the whole again, a movement in the course of which the whole and the parts throw light upon one another. (p. 5)

An initially qualitative approach is necessary to avoid the risk of a probabilistic study flattening out what is most distinctive about interlanguage: its existence as a series of snapshots, highlighting uneven patterns of textual sophistication. Second language corpus analysis involves the investigation of a whole series of texts and textual component parts at various stages of development. It is neither possible nor immediately desirable in the study of interlanguage to attempt what Halliday (1992) elsewhere rightly suggests ought to be the approach taken to the study of the first language: "grammar [has] to be studied quantitatively, in probabilistic terms" (p. 61).

In spite of this large caveat, this analysis does attempt to make meaningful and potentially verifiable statements regarding interlanguage. Moreover, it accepts that the true measure of second language textual development is what is currently known about the whole of first language textual behavior, including the massive advances in the accuracy of judgments about the English language associated with the development of corpus linguistics in the 1990s. Nevertheless, while corpus linguistics has demonstrated the falseness of many previously held intuitive judgments about language, this does not mean that linguists are free to dismiss previous work merely because that work happens to predate the era of corpus analysis. In the first place, it is possible to make a strong case for Cohesion in English as a significant precursor of corpus linguistic work proper. This is because the work employs actual texts in its analysis of texture, as might be expected from Halliday's commitment to the quantitative and probabilistic study of grammar. More importantly, recent corpus analysis has served to extend the previous work of Halliday and Hasan rather than undermine it, most notably in the case of the nominal demonstratives themselves (McCarthy 1994).1

The chief merit of using the theoretical framework set out in Cohesion in English in a corpus-based analysis of second language texture, however, is the promise that this holds out for rapid progress in a new area of research. Naturally, if the empirical results obtained through a corpus analysis begin to diverge widely from the work of Halliday and Hasan, this framework will need modifying or replacing. Until such time, however, it seems safer to employ a widely known framework than to attempt to devise a new one in the course of ongoing second language research. The study of second language development presents such a variety of other complications that it seems wise to reduce the linguistic difficulties where this is possible. Finally, the use of this theoretical framework has the additional merit of encouraging contributions from other scholars, particularly those already working in the fields of functional and textual linguistics.


The concept of "emergent texture" refers to the manner in which interlanguage texts gradually extend their use and control of the grammatical and semantic means used to establish textual cohesion. The development of interlanguage texture encompasses the broad range of textual devices for achieving cohesion, including the use of reiteration, synonyms and near-synonyms, the behavior of the nominal group, and cataphoric reference. The study attempts to account for these emergent textual patterns in terms of the concept of markedness. It argues that the concept of markedness helps to explain why the interlanguage texts examined in this study develop in the manner they do. Growing interlanguage textual sophistication is a function of the increased ability of the second language learner to experiment with the marked members of sets. In other words, the emergent texture of interlanguage texts becomes richer because of the increasing ability of the writer to make marked, as opposed to unmarked, grammatical and semantic choices. For example, low-level interlanguage texts tend to achieve nominal demonstrative cohesion almost exclusively by means of the use of the definite and indefinite articles. In contrast, more sophisticated interlanguage texts deploy a much wider range of nominal demonstrative reference. The study argues that the concept of emergent texture has potential in the analysis of the wider variety of grammatical, semantic, and lexical elements involved in the achievement of cohesion. With this in mind, the paper concludes with a discussion of some possible areas for the future investigation of emergent texture in interlanguage development.

A brief discussion of the history of markedness as a linguistic concept will serve to secure its legitimacy for the analysis of corpus texts, including interlanguage ones. Markedness was first utilized by N. S. Trubetzkoy of the Prague linguistic circle in his phonological analysis of the neutralization of distinctive opposites in Grundzüge der Phonologie (1939) (Greenberg, 1966, p. 11). Phonological neutralization is the process in which distinctive phonemes in given environments lose their distinctiveness, resulting in the regular appearance of the one unmarked phoneme. Trubetzkoy was the first linguist to note that in phonemic pairs differing only in a single feature of the same category, such as voiced or unvoiced, aspirated or unaspirated phonemes, it was the unmarked phoneme that regularly appears in neutralized environments. In other words, there is a hierarchical relation between the two pairs of the opposition (Waugh, 1976, p. 89). For example, it is always the unvoiced obstruent phoneme that occurs in final word or sentence position in German. Similarly, in classical Sanskrit, when the opposition between aspirated and unaspirated stops in sentence final position is neutralized, the unaspirated phoneme appears (Greenberg, 1966, p. 13). In German, therefore, it is the unvoiced phoneme that is unmarked; in Sanskrit, it is the unvoiced and unaspirated phonemes. Generally speaking, the quality of being unmarked is associated with the absence of a given feature, while markedness is associated with the presence of that same feature.

Roman Jakobson later extended the idea of markedness to the study of grammatical categories and semantics, drawing a basic distinction between phonological distinctive features and lexicogrammatical conceptual features (Waugh, 1976, pp. 89-100). In a study published in 1957, he attempted a general definition of markedness, which allowed for the incorporation of the various levels of phonology, grammar and semantics.

The general meaning of a marked category states the presence of a certain property A; the general meaning of the corresponding unmarked category states nothing about the presence of A and is used chiefly but not exclusively to indicate the absence of A. (quoted in Greenberg, 1966, p. 25)

Jakobson's definition succeeded in substantially widening the concept of markedness beyond the realm of phonological analysis. It also allowed for the analysis of cases where more than one type of markedness functioned simultaneously. A good example of this phenomenon is the simultaneous operation of morphological and semantic unmarkedness in the word actor. In certain environments, actor is to actress as "male thespian" is to "female thespian." However, actor is the semantically unmarked of the two terms since only actor may be predicated of both male and female thespians. Actress is neutralized by the term actor in given environments because actress can only refer to female thespians. Actress is morphologically the more complex of the two terms, requiring the addition of an extra morpheme. Actor is therefore also the unmarked morphological term. More broadly, in the terms provided by Jakobson's definition, actress indicates the presence of femaleness, while actor may be used indiscriminately in a majority of instances to refer to thespians regardless of gender (Clark & Clark, 1978, p. 231; Greenberg, 1966, pp. 26-27). In the series of scholarly conversations conducted with his wife, Krystyna Pomorska, first published in French in 1980 and later translated into English as Dialogues (1983), Jakobson returned once again to this concept of markedness, suggesting:

The conception of binary opposition at any level of the linguistic system as a relation between a mark and the absence of this mark carries to its logical conclusion the idea that a hierarchical order underlies the entire linguistic system in all its ramifications. … On the phonological level, the position of the marked term in any given opposition is determined by the relation of this opposition to the other oppositions in the phonological system -- in other words, to the distinctive features that are either simultaneously or temporally contiguous. In grammatical oppositions, however, the distinction between marked and unmarked terms lies in the area of the general meaning of each of the juxtaposed forms. The general meaning of the marked term is characterized by the conveyance of more precise, specific and additional information than the unmarked term. (p. 97)

The close relationship between the notion of markedness in both grammar and lexicon offers a certain degree of assurance that it is the same phenomenon under investigation in both cases.

William Rutherford's 1982 essay, "Markedness in Second Language Acquisition," represented an important attempt to extend the concept of markedness to the field of second language acquisition. Although he was interested in attempting to use the concept of markedness "to elucidate essentially two separate aspects of second language acquisition: transfer … and order of acquisition" (Rutherford, 1982, p. 98), it is only the second aspect that concerns the present study. Rutherford makes the general case for the important of markedness for interlanguage development in the following way:

There seems to be a lot of interlanguage data that -- whatever the original purpose of their elicitation -- reveal a tendency on the part of all learners to impose on the target language a certain structural clarity, transparency, or … explicitness. Such a tendency can be adduced by the learner's preference for coordination over subordination, by the retention of pronominal reflexes in relative clauses, and by the apparent preference (at least in English) for constructions in which raising has not taken place over those "equivalent" expressions in which it has. (pp. 98-99)

In his essay, Rutherford (1982) went on to suggest the importance of considering "the discourse function of syntactic constructions" in any use of markedness in studies of interlanguage development (p. 101). This suggestion is important because it is necessary to distinguish among choices that are motivated by the constraints of text or discourse development and those that are genuinely instances of interlanguage limitation. Rutherford's essay suggested in conclusion that there was a need to use markedness theory to move beyond "the distributional characteristics of the exponents of formal syntax [to achieve] a greater understanding of more complex language" (p. 103).

The central problem with Rutherford's subsequent study, Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching (1987) is that it equivocates on the use of natural format data in order to achieve this greater understanding. According to Rutherford, consciousness-raising, which is one of the main themes of the book, takes place at a point between two extremes. These two "extremes" are "the natural appearance of a grammatical phenomenon in 'authentic' text on the one hand and its contextless explicit formulation on the other" (p. 153). In other words, Rutherford's earlier insistence on the use of markedness theory has been compromised (p. 103). The central concern with consciousness-raising, which was absent from the 1982 essay, implies a renewed commitment to what Robert de Beaugrande calls "the rewriting of natural language as formal notation" (Beaugrande, 1997, p. 41). Shorn of any theory of language in which to embed markedness theory, Rutherford abandoned the attempt to use the concept as a means to analyze interlanguage text and discourse (personal communication, March 2, 2000).

This paper then is an attempt to complete the unfinished work of Rutherford's 1982 essay. It attempts to do this by embracing the functional linguistic concept of markedness of Halliday and his associates within a project committed to the investigation of actual interlanguage corpora. In this way, it may be possible to achieve that "greater understanding of more complex language" promised in Rutherford's essay, by means of an analysis of the function of the nominal demonstratives in the emergence of texture.


Interlanguage texts exhibit only an elementary or emergent texture because of the underdevelopment of the system of directives for creating textual cohesion. Emergent texture is also therefore a measure of the capacity of a given interlanguage text to function as a textual unity. According to Halliday and Hasan, "A text has texture, and this is what distinguishes it from something that is not a text. It derives this texture from the fact that it functions as a unity with respect to its environment" (1976, p. 2). In the sense of the term put forward by Halliday and Hasan, the texts of second language learners offer varying degrees of texture, ranging from those produced with virtually no consideration given to the relationship among sentences or particular stretches of text to those which are barely distinguishable from texts produced by native writers. Another way of putting this is to say that low-level interlanguage texts are distinguished by their relative lack of cohesion; low-level interlanguage texts demonstrate a limited range of facility and concern with the significant relations among cohesive ties within the text. As Halliday and Hasan note,

"Cohesion" is defined as the set of possibilities that exist in the language for making text hang together: the potential that the speaker or writer has at his disposal. … Thus, cohesion as a process always involves one item pointing to another; whereas the significant property of the cohesive relation … is the fact that one item provides the source for the interpretation of another. (p. 19)

Cohesion within a text is established by means of the presence of the five major categories of cohesive ties: ties of reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction, and lexis (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 4). The class of reference ties function as directives indicating that information is to be retrieved form elsewhere.

Demonstrative reference is reference by means of location. The writer locates this type of reference along a scale of proximity. This scale is defined in terms of the selective participation and circumstances that define the textual occasion (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 37). Demonstrative reference is therefore distinguished from both personal reference and comparative reference. Personal reference is defined by its function in the speech situation; comparative reference is a form of indirect reference that is established by means of identity (p. 31). The eight demonstratives that together constitute the grammatical means for establishing demonstrative reference may be divided into two basic sets. The more important of the two sets is the one that selectively locates the text with respect to participant and number: this, that, these, those. The other set, which locates the text with respect to time and place, is less significant: here, there, now, then. The major grammatical unit for analysis for the investigation of this first set of demonstratives is the nominal group. As Halliday and Hasan point out,

What distinguishes reference from other types of cohesion…is that [it] is overwhelmingly nominal in character. With the exception of the demonstratives, here,there, now, and then, and some comparative adverbs, all reference items are found within the nominal group. (p. 43)

It may well be the case that the second set of demonstratives plays the greater, or at least a significantly more prominent, role in the formation of cohesion in spoken and extemporaneous texts. However, interlanguage composition at the university level approximates the stereotypical model of writing outlined by Douglas Biber: students aim to create texts that are structurally complex, unified, abstract, and free from most forms of situation-dependent reference (Biber, 1988, p. 37). The nominal demonstratives alone will be the focus of this corpus investigation of the emergence of cohesion and texture.


The basic hypothesis of this study is that interlanguage textual development is revealed in an increasingly sophisticated deployment of the nominal demonstratives. Briefly put, the absence or presence of the four nominal demonstratives in a given interlanguage text is a central indicator of its emergent texture. Patterns of interlanguage cohesive development ought to be consistent with what is known about the complexities involved in the formation of texture. The division of labor among the nominal demonstratives in Standard English is somewhat unusual. As Halliday elaborates in the second edition of An Introduction to Functional Grammar (1994):

Given just two demonstratives, this and that, it is usual for that to be more inclusive; it tends to become the unmarked member of the pair. This happened in English; and in the process a new demonstrative evolved which took over and extended the 'unmarked' feature of that – leaving this and that once more fairly evenly matched. This is the so-called 'definite article' the. (p. 314)

In other words, the relations among the four nominal demonstratives are made somewhat complex in Standard English by the evolution of the lexical item, the. In addition, there is a distinction to make between the unmarked demonstrative when functioning as a Head and when functioning as a Deictic.

Historically, in fact, both it and the are reduced forms of that; and, although it now operates in the system of personals, both can be explained as being the 'neutral' or non-selective type of the nominal demonstratives – as essentially one and the same element, which takes the form it when functioning as Head and the when functioning as Deictic. (Halliday and Hasan, p. 58)

What this implies is that low-level interlanguage texts will rely heavily on the use of the definite article to establish cohesion. The cohesion of low-level interlanguage texts will mostly takes the form of strings of anaphorically referenced lexical items introduced by the Deictic the, with further cohesion provided by the use of it as a Head. The four marked nominal demonstratives therefore will be conspicuous mostly by their absence.

In an article building on the work of Halliday and Hasan and other linguists who have examined the functioning of it, this and that in Standard English, Michael McCarthy has suggested a slight refinement of this basic scheme. McCarthy's work is particularly useful since it bases its conclusions on the analysis of a large sample of genuine texts. According to McCarthy:

  1. It is used for unmarked reference within a current entity or focus of attention.
  2. This signals a shift of entity or focus of attention to a new focus.
  3. That refers across from the current focus to entities or foci that are non-current, non-central, marginalizable or other-attributed. (McCarthy, 1994, p. 275)

The table reproduced below helps explicate the distinction between unmarked, or non-selective, and marked reference among the nominal demonstratives. In its stark division between the choice between non-selective and selective, the table, which has been modified slightly from that presented in Halliday and Hasan's book to stress the primacy of non-selection, highlights why the definite article tends to predominate in low-level interlanguage texts:

Table 1. Demonstrative Reference (modified presentation from Halliday & Hasan, p. 38)

Low-level interlanguage texts possess only the most rudimentary system for specifying and identifying chains of lexical items in the text, nothing more. In comparison with these two uses of the unmarked demonstratives, each of the four forms this, that, these, and those are marked. In other words, the theory of markedness can furnish an explanation for why low-level interlanguage texts tend to eschew the use of the nominal demonstratives. In turn, this helps to explain the fact that low-level interlanguage texts possess only emergent texture, the upshot of their unsophisticated deployment of the devices for achieving suitable levels of cohesion.

The basic distinction in the deployment of the marked demonstratives is in relation to the point of view of the writer of the text. Within the text, this is used to make anaphoric reference to something that has just been mentioned by the writer or that is in some other way being taken as "near." The singular demonstrative that is used anaphorically to indicate something that is being taken as "far" from the writer's point of view (Halliday, 1994, pp. 314-315). Similarly, the nominal demonstratives, these and those, differentiate between proximate and remote plural reference from the point of view of the writer. Since "pro-forms save processing time by being shorter than the expressions they replace," the greater frequency of the four demonstratives in a given interlanguage text is usually associated with the writer's ability to create efficient texts (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1981, p. 64). The marked nominal demonstratives are thus important in establishing the coherence or structure of a mature interlanguage text.

The distinction that Halliday and Hasan  (1976) make in relation to the unmarked nominal demonstratives the and it also applies to the marked nominal demonstratives this, that, these, and those. In general, the demonstrative this will occur as a Modifier in sentences such as this tree is an oak or as Head in sentences such as this is an oak. In low-level interlanguage texts, the presence of this as a Modifier ought to set definite restrictions on the lexical sophistication of the nominal group to which it belongs. One mark of interlanguage textual development is observed in the gradual elaboration of the linguistic environment in which this is discovered functioning as a Modifier. Nevertheless, the principal function of this in what appears to be a majority of extended English language texts is as an indicator of extended reference (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 66). If Halliday and Hasan are right, growing interlanguage sophistication will be revealed in the gradual reorientation of the demonstrative adverb this away from its function as simple Modifier or more elaborate Head toward its use as an indicator of extended reference within the text. In other words, this will occur more frequently and in a wider variety of contexts in more sophisticated interlanguage texts. Its use will gradually extend to the introduction of nominal groups used to refer to segments of texts as linguistic acts in their own right. Sophisticated interlanguage texts will include nominal groups with the marked demonstratives, the textual function of which are "labels for stages of an argument, developed in and through the discourse itself as the writer presents and assesses his/her own propositions and those of other sources" (Francis, 1994, p. 83).

Anaphoric reference tends to predominate in the interlanguage texts exhibiting the least cohesion. One upshot of this is that sophisticated interlanguage texts will exhibit less imbalance in their ratios of anaphoric and cataphoric reference. In other words, examples of cataphoric cohesion, which may involve the use of either this or here, will begin to emerge at higher levels of interlanguage development. In all likelihood, however, the emergence of cataphoric reference will consist largely in instances of what Halliday and Hasan refer to as grammatical cataphoric reference. In other words, the majority of instances of structural cataphora -- "the simple realization of a grammatical relationship within the nominal group" -- will be non-cohesive, even in high level interlanguage texts (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 68). Though highly revealing as examples of collocational fluency, structural cataphora is not an example of a cohesive tie and does not enter into the formation of texture. In contrast, examples of genuine cataphoric reference, though occurring with relative infrequency, may be evidence for the relative sophistication of a given sample of interlanguage. There is a necessary caveat, however. Particular genres appear to offer different possibilities for actualizing lexical and grammatical arrangements. Process paragraphs, for example, are an obvious example of a paragraph genre that allows for the actualization of genuine cataphoric reference. In this sense, it may prove more useful to analyze sub-corpora of particular genres in an effort to isolate more quickly the difference between texts with developed texture and those that employ compensatory strategies for achieving more limited forms of cohesion.


The interlanguage corpus for this research project was created over the course of the Fall 1999 semester by the students enrolled in my Writing and Beginning composition classes at Yonsei University. During the first 2 weeks of the new term, diskettes were distributed to all the students who had enrolled. The students were advised that the work that they would submit during the course of the semester would subsequently form part of an interlanguage corpus. They were told to submit all their work on the diskette, together with paper copies of the initial drafts of each assignment, for collection on scheduled dates throughout the semester. By the end of the semester, 109 single paragraphs had been collected from the students. In terms of genre representation, the corpus consists of 38 samples of illustration, 27 samples of description, 18 samples of comparison/contrast, 11 samples of process, and 11 samples of persuasion. Sample titles from the illustration genre, together with the word count, are as follows:

"My Family's Three Values" (253 words),
"Painful Experience Often Teaches Valuable Lessons" (301),
"Personality Through Clothes" (136),
"About My Mother I Most Admire and Love" (383),
"Buddha as a Real Egalitarian" (336), and
"Kim Ku, The Only Politician Whom I Admire (296).

The description paragraphs include

"A Blue Man on the Rainy Day" (280 words),
"A Possession I Value (272),
"My Crowded but Comfortable Room" (318),
"An interesting person" (245), and
 "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant" (257).

The comparison and contrast paragraphs include

"My Best Friends Eun Lang and Hae Won: the N and S Poles of a Magnet" (307),
"My Personality: in Childhood and as a University Student" (285),
"The Real Face of University Life" (226),
"My Two Completely Opposite Friends" (295), and
"The Movies; The Christmas in August and A Letter" (233).

The process paragraphs include the titles

"How To Appear More Intelligent Than You Are" (235),
"How to Break up with Your Boy Friend" (434),
"How to Break Up With Your Girl Friend" (349), and
"How to Care a Hangover" (332).

Finally, the persuasion paragraphs include

"Suh Kap-sook, a Case for Censorship?" (231),
"Globalization: Ideology or Reality" (447),
"The Brain Korea 21" (410), and
"Views on the Millennium -- Korean Economy" (378).

The total running length of the corpus is 31,641 words. The paragraphs vary in length from a low of 123 words in the case of "Pablo Picasso" to a high of 603 words for "My Favorite Coffee Shops I Highly Recommend." The paragraphs in the corpus written by the Writing class students were all completed by the time of the mid-term examinations. These sets of three paragraphs cover a range of basic paragraph genres including description, illustration, and comparison/contrast. The paragraphs in the corpus written by the Beginning Composition students include all five written assignments required for the course of the semester. The paragraphs include the genres of description, illustration, process, and persuasion.


It is useful to prelude an extensive analysis of the corpus with an examination of a representative corpus sample of low-level interlanguage composition. By examining the elementary cohesive ties within this type of composition, it will become clearer what aspects of the English cohesive system are subject to development. The following paragraph, entitled "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant," was written by a first-year male student in the Writing class as fulfillment of the requirement for a descriptive paragraph. Shinchon is the area of bars and restaurants frequented by students immediately around the front gate of Yonsei University:

1. There are a lot of places in Shinchon I often go. "Backstage" is my favorite bar where we can enjoy music videos on screen with kinds of drink. I will introduce here to you. Descending steep stairs, you can see a filthy door to which diverse ad-posters attach. After opening the door, the air in the inner part is thick with tobacco smoke and it is too dark for here to see the front for a while. To the left of the door, a well-lighted counter is opposite to two large pillar stuck to posters of famous rock bands. The counter is filled with many video tapes and various beverages. In front of the door or the counter, sofas are put from left to right facing a large screen which displays all sorts of rock music clips. On the screen you can see several genre clips that are from USA, Japan, Europe and even the Third World. Near the screen stand four huge speakers somewhat-broken by careless persons. In several places, there are some TV that is for those who are far from main screen or want to appreciate video clips in detail. Around the wall adhere some pictures, posters and scribbles on the base of grotesque wallpapers. You can feel this place so strange if you are not accustomed to dark atmosphere or rock music. However, Backstage will be your best friend if you pay attention to rock or be your eccentric fellow if you have an eye for the unknown world.

There are a number of points that can be made about the texture of this particular paragraph. The most basic point is this: at levels of development represented by texts like this, interlanguage texts rely almost exclusively on the neutral non-selective the to establish textual cohesion. The second point is that interlanguage texts at this level of competence reveal a definitely limited capacity for lexical reiteration. According to Halliday and Hasan (1976),

reiteration is a form of lexical cohesion which involves the repetition of a lexical item, at one end of the scale; the use of a general word to refer back to a lexical item, at the other end of the scale; and a number of things in between -- the use of a synonym, near-synonym, or superordinate. (p. 278)

Reiteration in texts such as "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant" takes place almost exclusively at the end of the scale marked out by repetition. In other words, reiteration as a form of lexical cohesion in interlanguage texts like this involves simple lexical repetition and the neutral non-selective use of the definite article as an anaphoric device. In addition, there is only one use of the word it as a Head: "After opening the door, the air in the inner part is thick with tobacco smoke and it is too dark for here to see the front for a while." This sentence is an example of it as a relational attributive Head, a form of non-cohesive grammatical cataphora (Halliday, 1994, p. 143). In this clause, it could be replaced as Subject by the circumstantial demonstrative, here. There is one other use of the circumstantial demonstrative in the composition: I will introduce here to you. Both of these citations precede the subsequent use of the marked nominal demonstrative, this place. There is thus only a single citation for this. What is more, this citation is in relation to the subject of the description itself and does not occur until the penultimate sentence: "You can feel this place so strange if you are not accustomed to dark atmosphere or rock music." The nominal group this place is an example of what Francis has called a "retrospective label," one that "serves to encapsulate or package a stretch of discourse" (Francis, 1994, p. 85). As Francis suggests, the central defining quality of a retrospective label is that "there is no single nominal group to which it refers: It is not a repetition or a "synonym" of any preceding element. Instead, it is presented as equivalent to the clause or clauses it replaces, while naming them for the first time" (Francis, p. 85). It is a working hypothesis that the first labels to emerge in low-level interlanguage texts are retrospective labels that encapsulate the meaning of the entire text itself, echoing, if they echo anything at all, the title of the composition. At a higher level of interlanguage, advance labels, in which "the label precedes its lexicalization" (Francis, p. 83), will start to emerge. Once again, it might be expected that advance labels would be used in the first place to indicate the purpose of the entire text. However, the distinction in single paragraphs between advance and retrospective labels that encapsulate the meaning of entire texts and those that encapsulate only a portion of them is fuzzy. In order to demonstrate the correctness or otherwise of these more or less intuitive judgments, a contrastive analysis of the extent of cohesion and labeling in a corpus of five paragraph essays will be necessary.

"My Favorite Bar or Restaurant" contains 15 instances of the use of the non-selective definite article the. Among this total there are 7 instances of specific anaphoric reference back to a previously introduced noun: a well-lit counter, a large screen, and a filthy door. Moreover, in each one of these 7 instances, the repetition takes the simplest form of unadorned Modifier and Head. In other words, no premodifying elements are realized; and the Head is a form of cohesion achieved though repetition rather than lexical modification. In addition, a large number of references are explained by the content-free status of the definite article. As Halliday and Hasan write, "the definite article … merely indicates that the item in question IS specific and identifiable; that somewhere the information necessary for identifying it is recoverable" (1976, p. 71). The fact that this text offers a description of the interior of a favorite bar in Shinchon serves to explain the references to the air in the inner part, the left, the front, Around the wall, and the base of grotesque wallpapers. Nevertheless, even this sample of interlanguage bears out Halliday and Hasan's contention that "purely anaphoric reference never accounts for a majority of instances [of cohesive textual reference in any textual sample, written or spoken]" (1976, p. 73). Of the 15 examples of reference involving the definite article, seven of them -- or approximately one half -- are anaphoric. One possible implication of Halliday and Hasan's work is that samples of low-level interlanguage are characterized by the relative absence of cataphoric reference. Further corpus analysis will reveal whether the relative sophistication of an interlanguage text is measurable in terms of the ratio of anaphoric to non-anaphoric reference. In this particular example of low-level interlanguage, the ratio is approximately 50:50, which seems unusually tilted toward anaphoric reference.

As has already been suggested, this interlanguage text makes only limited use of the demonstratives themselves. There are, for example, no textual citations for that or these. There is one example of a structurally cataphoric (but therefore non-cohesive) instance of those in the nominal phrase: for those who are far from main screen or want to appreciate video clips in detail. The dominance of the definite article is a central indication of the linguistic absence of a developed capacity for the type of nominal demonstrative textual pointing. Moreover, where there are nominal demonstratives present, the text has previously established a "right to point" in the form of a series of collocationally significant semantic references (cf. Halliday & Hasan, 1976, pp. 284-288). In the case of the text under consideration, this series of references includes the steep stairs, filthy door, and the air in the inner part of this place. In this way, the interlanguage text indicates that the information necessary for the identification of this place is textually available.

From this brief analysis, it is possible to draw out a number of working hypotheses about the emergent texture of low-level interlanguage. First, there is the tendency to rely almost exclusively on the definite article to carry the burden of cohesion, even if this means confining properly cohesive relations to anaphoric reference alone. In other words, low-level interlanguage is characterized by an absence of meaningful cataphoric reference. Furthermore, it seems that whatever exophoric reference in low-level interlanguage there is takes the form of well-established collocational items such as the Third World and an eye for the unknown. Thirdly, low-level interlanguage texts such as this one appear to be characterized by the absence of even the simple kind of forward reference in which the definite article refers to a modifying element within the same nominal group (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 72). This is in contrast to "most other varieties of spoken and written English [where the] predominant function [of the] is cataphoric" (Halliday & Hasan, p. 73). Finally, low-level interlanguage texts like "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant" lack a developed capacity for signaling what Michael McCarthy has termed the "topical entity in current focus." The exclusive use of it as the unmarked demonstrative demonstrates an inability to highlight its noun phrase antecedent for signaling shifts in textual content (McCarthy, 1994, p. 273). This is because the use of it simply allows for the continuation of what the text is focusing on; "it does not itself perform the act of focusing" (McCarthy, p. 271). In contrast, the function of this and that is to "operate to signal that focus is either shifting or has shifted" (McCarthy, p. 272). The relative absence of the marked demonstratives therefore indicates an underdeveloped capacity for switching the focus of attention for purposes of textual interest and complexity. Nevertheless, in spite of these obvious limitations, "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant" does demonstrate the meaningfulness and usefulness of the concept of emergent texture. It is from such elementary beginnings that the capacity for establishing extensive cohesive relations will develop.


Relations within the nominal group play a central role in the emergence of texture. An analysis of the nominal demonstratives consists therefore in a detailed study of the emergence of complex relations among elements of the nominal group. The relations among these functions in the nominal group are outlined in the table below:

Table 2. The Structural Analysis of a Nominal Group (from Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 40)







along the


















[Prepositional Group]

The nominal demonstratives form part of the function of Deictics, which are used for specifying by identity, both non-specific and specific, including forms of identity based on reference (Halliday & Hasan). In turn,

the Numerative specifies by quantity or ordination (two trains, next train); the Epithet by reference to a property (long trains); the Classifier by reference to a subclass (express trains, passenger trains); and the Qualifier by reference to some characterizing relation or process (trains for London, train I'm on). (p. 42)

The general limits on interlanguage flexibility evident in the use of lexical reiteration were evident in the behavior of the nominal group. The strongest evidence for the lack of flexibility was the absolute predominance of the four demonstratives with an accompanying unadorned Head in the corpus. This seems a reasonable and even predictable finding. There was a similar tendency for the definite article to appear in the company of an unadorned Head in the paragraph chosen to illustrate the more general limits of interlanguage lexis and cohesive relations, "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant." The full list of examples is as follows:

This + Unadorned Head

committee, book, idea, interest, year, allegation, article, bar (3 times), blaze, book (2 times), case, century, era, expectation (2 times), field, house (2 times), information, instance, investigation, job, kitchen, model, ordeal, person, photograph (2 times), place (7 times), plan (2 times), pressure, project (2 times), question, reason (4 times), report, restaurant (2 times), room, rule, self-development, semester, sense, shop, situation, society, stage, summer, truth, university, way (4 times), year (2 times)

That + Unadorned Head

case, man, method, money, point, policy, position, problem, question, reason, slum, time, way

A comparison of the use of both singular demonstratives with an accompanying unadorned Head reveals three lexical items in common. Both demonstratives occur with problem, question, and way. The marked singular demonstrative that also occurs with a number of other abstract nouns: method, point, policy, position, reason, and time. There are three examples where that occurs with a concrete noun: money, slum, and man. Is there a tendency for interlanguage texts to allow this to carry the burden of lexical reiteration and that to carry the burden of the abstract construction of the unfolding argument? The corpus does tend to show a pattern of use for that in relation to the past, from texts of fairly limited sophistication to more obviously complex ones:

2. Pablo Picasso is one of the most creative artists in twentieth century. He was born in 1881, and died in 1973. Though he was Spanish, he played an active part in France. At first he studied art in Barcelona, and fixed in Paris since 1904. At that time, he showed his great interest in mouldering as well as painting.

3. Last summer, on a heavy rainy day, I was sitting on the bench in front of Lotte Department store, waiting for my friend. At that time, I could see faintly someone coming towards me from a distance.

The obvious question then is under what circumstances that tends to get used with concrete nouns. In each of the three citations in the corpus, the demonstrative that is used in establishing a reference within the past:

4. The Reverend Choi is a leader of Dail Community whom I admire because of his power of love toward neighbor. He was born in Seoul, 1957 and grew up as a Christian. One day in 1988, He met a helpless and sick old man in front of railway station and couldn't pass by him, so he served that man a meal.
5. She was born in the province of Scopeye in Yugoslavia in 1910. After she was called as a nun she was dispatched to Calcutta in India, where she answered God's voice to help the poorest among the poor by establishing "Missionaries of Charity". She had served as she did God in that slum the hurt, poor and sick with whom nobody wanted to contact until the death of heart disease in 1997.
6. In 1975, it was a time that everything looked safe and stable. The restaurant was always crowded and she was six months pregnant her fifth baby. However, grandfather was defrauded of his house and every lands. His friend allured him to invest his money in a new business, but he ran away with that money.

The use of the demonstrative that with more complex nominal groups provides a small amount of evidence for the idea that its major function is to establish past references. The following paragraph, which is an extended comparison between the 1970s movie Jaws and the 1990s movie Deep Blue Sea contains three examples of that used in this way:

7. Jaws and Deep Blue Sea have many similarities despite of a long time gap. They have screaming girls in bikinis, floods of bloody water and that ominous gliding fin. In fact, the opening sequence of Deep Blue Sea is almost the same with that of Jaws; It starts with a few young people attacked by an unseen object under water. Even the posters, in which a woman is swimming in the sea and a shark is just behind her with a wide open mouth, are similar. But, these two movies are very different in the way they scare people. In Jaws we had just one, dumb shark with a heavy mechanical equipments inside, but none of the scenes of the existing horror movies have ever been as scary as that moment in Jaws when the shark first lifted its nose out of the water.

However, there are problems with this argument. If there is a tendency to use the singular demonstratives in this manner, with this used to establish concrete and present references and that used to establish abstract and past references, it might be expected that the same tendency would be discovered with the plural demonstratives. The corpus citations for these and those, however, are inconclusive, even if the small number of citations for the use of the latter is taken into account.

These + Unadorned Head

accidents, cooks, days (2 times), dishes, examples, expectations (2 times), facts, governments, instruments, international financial organizations, measures, methods (2 times), pictures, places, products, reasons (3 times), sections, shops, statistics, steps (2 times), stories, things (4 times), values, ways

Those + Unadorned Head

reasons, things

At first glance, there does appear to be the same tendency to use the plural demonstrative those to establish abstract reference. However, the two nouns discovered in the environment of those are also found more frequently with these: reasons and things. The appearance of things is particularly important since this word in both its singular and plural form is used as an anaphoric reference in the forming of texture. If the pronoun it is temporarily excluded, it is the word thing that is the lexical item used in the establishment of anaphoric reference at the most general of textual levels. The word thing "usually excludes people and animals, as well as qualities, states and relations, and … always excludes facts and reports" (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 279). The evidence for a consistent pattern involving the marked demonstratives is therefore inconclusive. The possibility that interlanguage texts use this to establish concrete and present references and that to establish abstract and past references will require the analysis of a larger corpus of interlanguage texts. This analysis would be useful in understanding whether these uses of this and that relate to interlanguage development. Specifically, it is of relevance to the issue of the writer's growing ability to distinguish textually a shift of attention to a new focus and one that "refer[s] across from the current focus to entities that are non-current," the latter being the first of McCarthy's criteria for distinguishing between the uses of this and that.


The general restrictions that apply to the use of the nominal group with demonstrative reference can be seen more clearly in the few samples of greater nominal group complexity that occur in the corpus. It is particularly revealing to examine the manner in which these more complex nominal groups emerge during the course of textual development. Normally, the text prepares for the entrance of these nominal groups in significant ways. The general tendency seems to be that complex nominal groups are "grown" from previously existing textual possibilities (cf. Halliday, 1992, p. 70). Such an explanation accounts for a passage such as this one:

8. In the middle of the coffee shop, you will see an interesting plastic art made of glass. This seems like the glass boxes piled up from the floor to the ceiling. There are seven sections in this glass pillar.These sections are empty excluding second and fifth, which are filled with empty plastic bottles. This special plastic art is associated with simple and modern mood of here.

The following example of a place description is unusual in its use of more complex nominal groups to achieve textual reiteration. The description varies its use of accompanying nominal group epithets, moving from the street to Insadong Street to this small street and ending up with this famous street:

9. Insadong is my favorite place in Seoul, located between the Korea Times Building and Pagoda Park. The main part of Insadong runs along the street with the same name. It is located between two east-west running avenues in the downtown area and either avenue can be considered an entrance. The south end of Insadong starts at Pagoda Park on Chongno Street. Chongno is itself a major thoroughfare passing an important business section of Seoul. From Chongno, Insadong Street runs a northwest diagonal until it reaches Yulgongno, another major avenue. This small street is loaded with antique shops selling all sorts of Korean antiques and handcrafts. Many stores are specialty shops featuring items such as chests, other furniture, stationery. But this famous street is not limited to antiques.

More typically, interlanguage texts tend to employ the concluding sentence to sum up central aspects of the previous discussion. The following example of the use of a demonstrative with a complex nominal group occurs at the end of a description of a garden located on the campus of Yonsei University:

10. Finally, in the winter, the snow covered trees make an awesome scenery. I have not seen the latter scene yet, but the seniors say that it is wonderful. So I can not wait until winter. The birds singing and cute squirrels and Korean magpies running around also make "Chung-Song-Dae" rich in atmosphere. Those who have dreams have many convincing reasons why they should definitely visit this magnificent garden.

The major examples of complex nominal group reference all occurred in extended comparison or contrast paragraphs. Examples of these included these two films (2 times), these two movies (2 times), and these two people. One mark of the lack of sophistication of the majority of texts in the corpus is thus measured in the strict limits placed on the complexity of the nominal group introduced by the demonstratives.


It is useful at this point to recall the basic idea that reiteration is a form of textual cohesion that involves a variety of lexical possibilities. In its most basic form, reiteration simply means the repetition of a lexical item. This form of textual cohesion dominates low-level interlanguage texts. Halliday and Hasan also note, however, that this type of cohesion may also involve the use of a synonym or near-synonym, a superordinate or the use of a general noun (1976, p. 278).

The general principles behind this is simply that demonstratives, since (like other reference items) they identify semantically and not grammatically, when they are anaphoric require the explicit repetition of the noun, or some form of synonym, if they are to signal exact identity of specific reference; that is, to refer unambiguously to the presupposition at the identical level of particularization. A demonstrative without a following noun may refer to some more general class that includes the presupposed item…. (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, pp. 64-65)

The class of general nouns is defined by Halliday and Hasan as "a small set of nouns having generalized reference within the major noun classes, those such as 'human noun,' 'place noun,' 'fact noun' and the like" (p. 274). The general noun operates on a borderline "between a lexical item (member of an open set) and a grammatical item (member of a closed set)" (p. 274). The list of the class of general nouns follows:

Table 3. The Class of General Nouns




people, person, man, woman, child, boy, girl

non-human animate


inanimate concrete noun

thing, object

inanimate concrete mass


inanimate abstract

business, affair, matter






question, idea

As Halliday and Hasan (1976, p. 175) note, "a general noun in cohesive function is almost always accompanied by the reference item the … The most usual alternative to the is a demonstrative…" It is probably of significance that the only class category to be adequately represented in the corpus in conjunction with the definite article is the class of human general nouns. There were nine citations for the people, seven for the person, six for the man (but none for the boy), two for the girl (but none for the woman), and none for the child. There seemed to be a small but real tendency to use the girl as the unmarked general noun for women but the man as the unmarked general noun for men. There was also a single reference to this person in an essay on the subject of admiration for the late Korean nationalist, Kim Ku. What is striking from the point of view of lexical cohesion is that the corpus contains virtually no citations from the other classes of general nouns listed by Halliday and Hasan. The only category in which they appeared was that of general nouns of fact. The corpus contained one reference to the idea and one to the question. The latter citation, however, occurred within a portion of quoted text from an English language source. There was one citation for this question and one for this idea, with no citations for the corresponding plural forms. There was also one reference to that question but none to that idea, with no citations for the corresponding plural forms. This general under-representation of the category of general nouns in the corpus has obvious implications for the ability of these interlanguage texts to achieve the full range of lexical cohesion. What it means is that these interlanguage texts restrict their use of the items that make up the category of general nouns to lexical instances of specified anaphoric reference within the text. In other words, with the partial exception of the category of human nouns, these interlanguage texts do not appear to trade at the level of the abstract general noun. Moreover, a number of the citations relating to the category of human nouns may be the result of the fact that a suggested paragraph topic was "The Famous Person I Most Admire." Although the general nouns occur frequently as lexical items, an entire cohesive level that remains almost entirely unrealized. There are a number of possible explanations for this: Two will be considered.

The first is that the absence of the full range of abstract general nouns is the result of the lexical constraints of the genres represented in this corpus. In other words, a different choice of genres, regardless of interlanguage considerations, will result in a greater overall representation of the class of abstract general nouns. The second explanation is that this absence represents a significant limitation on the lexical range actualized in interlanguage itself. It is the second explanation that this paper favors. The class of general nouns is absent because of the nature of interlanguage texts themselves. Beyond their function in achieving textual cohesion by virtue of the reference back to a previous nominal group, general nouns regularly signal the ability of the writer to refer to textual material in an interpersonal manner (Halliday & Hasan, 1976, p. 276). It seems reasonable to suggest that the capacity for referring to textual material in this way emerges only at highly sophisticated levels of interlanguage. Naturally, more extensive corpus analysis will be necessary to support or refute this working hypothesis. In this respect, one fruitful line of enquiry would be the investigation of a corpus of five paragraph essays, weighted toward the genres of argument and persuasion. Other things being equal, such a corpus might be expected to contain examples of inanimate concrete and inanimate abstract general nouns. The absence of these lexical items would offer further evidence as to whether the seeming inability to trade at the level of the general noun observed in this corpus represents a genuine limitation on the achievement of a high level of interlanguage texture.


In low-level interlanguage texts, there is very little use of synonyms or near-synonyms to achieve lexical reiteration. At this stage in interlanguage development, the writer's lack of substantial lexical depth means that the establishment of a basic overall textual meaning takes absolute precedent. The upshot is that samples of interlanguage offer little evidence of the writer's contemplation of synonymous or near-synonymous lexical items. The overriding importance of establishing overall textual coherence explains the early use of anaphorically cohesive nominal groups as retrospective labels. As Gill Francis explains, a retrospective label "is not a repetition of a 'synonym' of any preceding element. Instead it is presented as equivalent to the clause or clauses it explains, while naming them for the first time" (Francis, 1994, p. 85). Certain genres, among them process or persuasion paragraphs, tend to encourage the use of retrospective labeling. Favored lexical items found in the corpus to achieve this kind of limited textual coherence in conjunction with the use of the demonstratives include allegation, case, examples, facts, measures, ordeal, plan, project, reason (four times), situation, steps (two times), truth, report, and way (four times). The simplest form of this type of lexical coherence occurs in the following description of a friend of the writer:

11. Moreover, Chang is not afraid of expressing himself, probably because since he was young, he was encouraged to do what he feels is right. He is very straight forward in stating his thoughts, therefore he often ends up hurting others' feeling, although not done on purpose. For this reason, there are many people who love Chang, but there are also many people who hate Chang

The following four paragraph conclusions use virtually identical techniques to achieve textual unity. The paragraphs demonstrate the use of four different labels introduced by the proximate plural demonstrative: examples, facts, measures, and steps respectively:

12. Se-lim is a feminine girl, and her garments shows her feminine personality well. She usually puts on a skirt and a laced blouse and a pair of shoes which have high heels. She likes cute accessories, too. Through these examples, we can see that people's personalities affect the style of clothing.
13. There is also some belief that Korean students are spoiled and spend lots of money on drinking and playing. This idea probably comes from the fact that many commercial districts are being developed near the university areas, but the reality isn't always like that. As a matter of fact, most of my university friends have a part time job to make money for tuition. Also nowadays books have become really expensive, so more than ever, huge amounts of money go into buying books for class. From these facts, one could see that most Korean students can't afford to be spoiled.
14. You can speak to her on her face or on the telephone. You can also write her when you are scared to tell her the truth directly. It is the most powerful and definite way to make her know your resolution since she would perfectly know what you are thinking and what you are going to do. When you are looking for a reliable way to break up with your girlfriend you can change your attitude toward her, take symbolic actions and tell her what you have in our mind. These measures help you to get separated from your girlfriend without difficulty.
15. In sauna, 20 to 30 minutes of bath and 10 to 20 minutes of sauna will make your body relaxed, and then you take a nap in sleeping room in the sauna. After two or three hours of sleep, you take a shower and come home. All these process in the sauna will finally make you sober. In the evening, you have a regular dinner. However, it is extremely important to have a dinner because if the sulong-tang was the first step to cure a stomach-ache, having a regular meal is the final step. When you finish the dinner your stomach-ache will go away. Follow these steps and you will completely forget about your hangover.

A related use of the plural noun reasons in conjunction with a fronted these occurred twice as an alternative way of summarizing and unifying a connected series of arguments or propositions:

16. On the wall, there are all kinds of posters: posters of movie stars, old newspapers, racing cars, scenes from movies, etc. Moreover, the lighting is suitably dim and the music is not too loud to have a conversation. As you take a seat, you'll find a red-stripped tablecloth on the table, with the names of the waiter and the cook on one side. Just as you decide on what to eat, the waiter, in green shirt and black pants, will be at your side in an instant, kneeling down on the floor as he takes the order. The food is quite good and the service cannot be better. These are a few reasons why I prefer Bennigan's over other restaurants
17. The last and most irritating thing for Kim was the comparison with Pak, who had already won four times in her first year debut in the LPGA tournaments. The mass media only emphasized their scores totally ignoring their situations. In conclusion, her mental strength and continuous effort made it possible for her to surmount her physical weakness, harsh environment and stress from comparison with Pak Seri and these are the reasons why I admire Kim Mi-Hyun.

Genuine examples of the use of synonyms or near-synonyms are quite rare in the corpus. An example of their use, however, is the following text on the recent government plan to reform Korean universities:

18. But this plan has problems in four ways, so this should be reconsidered seriously right now. Firstly, the project is drift in the wrong direction. The scheduled beginning of the project was postponed the day after it was first announced due to a change of the education minister. Many revisions have also been done after the original public announcement, so these are revealing that the project was put together too hastily ("The BK21" The Yonsei Annals). Secondly, this plan meets with most regional universities. They claim that a disproportionate amount of support would go to the prestigious universities in the capital area by this project.

The use of retrospective labels as a means for achieving textual cohesion tends to confirm the working hypothesis that anaphoric reference predominates in interlanguage texts exhibiting basic emergent texture. In other words, advance labels, in which the label precedes the lexicalization, are uncommon in the corpus. Moreover, it seems plausible to assume that examples of advance labeling in interlanguage texts will tend to be resolved within a sentence or two. The one example of advanced labeling in the corpus, for example, which occurs in a paragraph dealing with the subject of how to break up with a boyfriend, takes place within the confines of a sentence, across the space of a full colon:

19. Everything would look perfect when you began to go out with your boy friend. As time went by, however, you found many problems in the relationship with him. Finally, you decide to break up with your boy friend. It will be a difficult experience. However, you can break up with your boy friend if you follow these steps: think about the reasons to break up, have a break time, get separate and put memorial things away.

Since it is a working hypothesis that more sophisticated interlanguage texts show a gradual decrease in the frequency imbalance between anaphoric as opposed to cataphoric reference, the gradual emergence of advance labels is also a sign of interlanguage development. The ability to pursue lexical cohesion across larger portions of text is a sign of a progression beyond emergent texture.


Examples of genuine cataphoric reference were rare in the corpus. This is not surprising, given that the unmarked anaphoric reference is still a source of textual cohesive difficulty at this level of interlanguage development. Judging by the example of "My Favorite Bar or Restaurant," the plural near demonstrative those emerges at an apparently very early stage of interlanguage in the formation of cataphoric non-cohesive reference. Other typical examples of this type of non-cohesive reference included: those of gothic church; those of Shakespeare's; those who are enrolled in the science high school; those who had different political orientations; those who have dreams; those who need help; those within cultural circles; and those who agree with [sic]. The genre of interlanguage writing containing the most examples of cataphoric reference was that of advice to the reader. One example of cataphoric reference involving the demonstratives, for example, occurred in a paragraph on the subject of how to cure a hangover:

20. At first, one preventive measure is this: Never drink enough to get really drunk.

The second example occurred in a paragraph dealing with the recent spate of deadly fires in public spaces in Korea in which the writer employs the notion of moral hazard to explain the apparent indifference to safety on the part of many public officials:

21. The word moral hazard is defined like this: "Moral hazard arises when individuals, in possession of private information, take actions which adversely affect the probability of bad outcomes."

The main point to make about these examples is that they tend to confirm the general idea developed in the discussion of synonyms and near-synonyms: These interlanguage samples tend to develop broad rhetorical patterns of textual coherence. It is then within these broadly defined patterns that finer cohesive relations begin to emerge. In each of these examples, the particular genre is important. The genre gives to the interlanguage text abstract rhetorical possibilities for cataphoric reference. Depending on the sophistication of the writer's interlanguage, this abstract rhetorical possibility may be activated. There are two main points to make about this. The first is that cataphoric reference in the corpus is nonetheless rare, even in those paragraphs dealing with the description of process in which it might be expected. The second point is that when it occurs, the cataphoric reference is resolved quickly, indeed, in each of the three cases cited, intra-sententially.


The concept of emergent texture would appear to have a promising future in the ongoing investigation of interlanguage. In particular, it reveals its usefulness in its relative objectivity as a means of analyzing lexical relations above that of the individual sentence. This is so long as the concept of markedness is used in a consistent manner within a project committed openly to the investigation of actual interlanguage corpora. The marriage of functional grammar and text linguistics provides a rich store of useful concepts with which to continue this investigation of interlanguage corpora. One obvious possibility for future work would be the extension of this study of the nominal demonstratives to related examinations of the emergence and function of the systems of personal and comparative reference within the single paragraph. Within the framework provided by Halliday and Hasan, there is also the possibility of future studies extending this initial study to a corpus of five paragraph essays, taking in the full range of reference including substitution, ellipsis, and conjunction. The most interesting area for future interlanguage research, however, is undoubtedly the range of lexical cohesion. This research would involve crucial issues of relevance to many aspects of second language learning, focusing as it would on the shape and size of interlanguage semantic fields. Concretely, the analysis would involve in-depth studies of the various kinds of interlanguage reiteration, including the use of synonyms and near-synonyms, superordinates, and collocates. Much of this research would have a useful contribution to make to the new field of interlanguage semantics and second language mental lexicons (cf. Hatch & Brown, 1995). Naturally enough, the issue of cohesion does not exhaust the complex issues surrounding the evaluation of the relative sophistication of a given interlanguage text.

This study has argued for the importance of integrating an analysis of the degree of emergent texture as a means for such evaluation. The analysis has attempted to demonstrate a rough and ready distinction between low-level interlanguage texts that rarely or never employ the nominal demonstratives and interlanguage texts of greater sophistication that do. Naturally, an emergent texture analysis capable of distinguishing among the full range of interlanguage achievement will require much more detailed corpus research. Moreover, there is an obvious reason why the analysis of interlanguage cohesion ought to form part of a wider investigation of interlanguage textual linguistics. Two samples of interlanguage with relatively similar kinds of cohesive relations may differ widely in terms of the ease, efficiency and appropriateness of the information they covey to the reader (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1981, p. 34). Happily enough, markedness theory, in the shape of default settings for the presentation of argument and the establishment of coherence, also has its role to play at the level of textual coherence (cf. Beaugrande & Dressler, pp. 143-161). In this regard, the role of the corpus and of corpus software will be important as a means for equipping applied linguists with a more refined set of tools for the analysis of texture and textuality.


1.     Michael McCarthy, in an otherwise excellent essay, states that Halliday and Hasan do "nothing to resolve the difference between it on the one hand and this and that on the other" (1994, p. 267). This is not entirely accurate. Halliday and Hasan resolve this difference implicitly, stating that "both it and the … can be explained as being the 'neutral' or non-selective type of the nominal demonstratives" (1976, p. 58).


Dr. Terry Murphy's interest in second language writing is part of his overall interest in textual linguistics and narrative discourse within the sociology of culture. This essay is a modified version of a thesis he submitted to the University of Birmingham in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MA in TEFL.



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