International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Signals from the Surface of Texts: How Lexical Cohesion Reflects Writers’ Tones in Nigerian Newspaper Editorials
Zubairu Malah

Lexical cohesion has been an essential tool that texts producers and receivers collaboratively utilized to facilitate the production and reception of texts. While previous text-oriented researches exploring lexical cohesion mostly reported on its interaction with coherence, register, and genre, this paper argues that lexical cohesion interacts with writers’ tones that amplify the meanings conveyed and facilitate the fulfilment of persuasive intentions. The objectives of the study include to: (1) identify the major sources of lexical cohesion in Nigerian newspaper editorials, and (2) examine how lexical cohesion devices signal writers’ tones in Nigerian newspaper editorials. Drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics, the study adopted qualitative approach and applied Eggins’ (2004) lexical cohesion model, where the analysis of writers’ tones was anchored in lexical cohesion devices. The data analyzed comprised 32 editorials of 19,094 words culled online from four Nigerian newspapers: The Guardian, The Nation, Leadership, and Vanguard. The analysis discovered 2,623 lexical ties across 819 sentences, where the major sources of cohesion include repetition (49.2%), expectancy relations (16.5%), synonymy (11.5), and class/sub-class (10%). In addition, the data demonstrated that 1,183 (45.1%) of the lexical ties identified, most of which are also repetition, expectancy relations, synonymy, and class/sub-class, reflect the writers’ tones. The study concludes that lexical cohesion determines writers’ tones in the editorials, and this ultimately contributes significantly in constructing persuasion in the editorials. It has also been highlighted that the findings of this study could broaden the literature on lexical cohesion, and also be beneficial to editorialists, readers, and ESL/EFL learners especially in persuasive writing and reading comprehension.

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