The misuse of cohesive devices has been identified as a common problem faced by students of tertiary institutions. Students find it difficult to have a coherent discourse; this may be as result of lack of knowledge of cohesive devices. This study focused on the use of cohesive devices in the writings of students of Adamu Augie College of Education, Argungu. The study also focused on some research objectives: finding out the type of cohesive devices used in students writing of narrative, expository and argumentative. The research also seeks to answer some research questions: what type of cohesive devices do students used in the writings of argumentative, expository and narrative essays and the problems they encounter in the use of cohesive devices in their writing? Hypotheses were drawn to include there is no significant difference in the use of cohesive devices across the departments and in the three types of writing. Identification test was used as instrument for data collection. The statistical tools employed for this research were frequency count and percentages to analyse the data collected in relation to research questions while Chi-square was used to test the hypotheses. The study shows significant differences in the use of cohesive devices in the three types of writing and across the departments. The findings show that there is significant difference in the use of cohesive devices in the three types of writing. It is recommended that students should be given writing skills to allow them write qualitatively.



1.1 Background to the Study

Students often present their writings with lots of problems especially in the use of cohesive devices which most of the time serves as a barrier to the understanding of the essays written by students especially in academia. They need to be encouraged to ensure text flow through sequence of sentences, as this a criterion in the evaluation of academic writing. Writers should be directed to the ideas they wish to express, as well as the sentences they use to express those ideas (Holloway, 1981&Supong, 2010, Smith, 1988). Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines cohesive as an adjective, connected or related in a reasonable way to form a whole .Akindele (2011), Halliday and Hassan (1976), van Dijk (1992) is of the view that “cohesive devices are concerned with the principles of connectivity which bind a text together and force co-interpretation. Akindele (2011) added that linguistic analysis is interested in analysing sentence sequences in order to understand how meanings reflect mutual dependence in a text. It is generally believed that a text whether written or spoken is only meaningful when the various segments are brought together to make a unified whole.” This research work is aimed at evaluating a second language user’s ability in the use of English language to select appropriate grammatical and lexical devices for effective communication and formation of coherent text. Halliday and Hassan (1976) identified three functions of language. These are ideational, interpersonal and the textual functions.

This study focuses on the Use of Cohesive Devices in the writings of tertiary Students. In recent years, researches have given considerable attention to how tertiary institution students actually write and what problems they usually encounter in their writing. The Publication of Halliday and Hassan’s Cohesion in English (1976) has stimulated effect of cohesion in text. Jose (2003:147) looks at cohesion as a means of improving teaching and testing writing, and Witte and Folgly (1960) use cohesion to characterize and rate compositions as high or low. The effects of cohesive devices on text comprehension and recall are investigated by Irwin (1980), while Tierney and Mosenthal (1981) examined causality relations between cohesion and coherence. .

In an attempt to understand Halliday’s systems and its implications, the researcher decided to investigate and find out whether cohesive devices play the same role in the three types of writings viz narratives, expository and argumentative, and also to establish whether these different kinds of texts make deference with regards to the relationship in function among cohesive devices. The researcher also sees cohesive devices to refer to those ties that make certain text readable and understandable which creates meaning relations. The understanding of how cohesive device creates meaning relations cannot be established without looking at cohesion and coherence and their relevancies in text; therefore, the role of cohesion and coherence would be clearly discussed especially as they relate to a particular form of writing. The term cohesion as seen by IIdiko (2008:20) involves “properties of text that contribute to the organization of discourse”. It refers to the connectedness of the surface elements in the text. Cohesive elements can be a word or a sentence structure and may or may not be adjacent to one another in the text. Cohesive devices can be categorized and counted. Writing research on cohesion and cohesive device is still in fairly basic stage, despite a huge number of studies which have appeared as shown above.