Edited by John Flowerdew and Michaela Mahlberg
[Benjamins Current Topics 17] 2009
► pp. 45–63
Cohesive chains and speakers’ choice of prominence
This paper describes lexical cohesion across participants in a discourse, and across discourse events, and the additional contribution made by speakers’ choices of prominence in the cohesive chains. The choice of prominence is made to communicate what is perceived to be situationally informative in the local context of interaction (Brazil 1985 and 1997). This study describes a connection between a speaker’s choice of a lexical or non-lexical word in a cohesive chain and the speaker’s choice of prominence and, in doing so, offers a partial answer to the question Hoey (1991:17) asks of Winter (1974 and 1979): ‘under what circumstances do we use one (cohesive device) rather than the other?’. It also describes how the selection of prominence across speakers in a discourse can signal divergence and convergence between them. Lastly, the paper discusses the pedagogical implications of the study with regard to English language learning and teaching.