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Rhetorical Structure Theory and coherence break identification

Skoufaki, Sophia (2020) 'Rhetorical Structure Theory and coherence break identification.' Text and Talk: an interdisciplinary journal of language, discourse and communication studies, 40 (1). 99 - 124. ISSN 0165-4888

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This article examines the claim of Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) that violations of RST diagram formation principles indicate coherence breaks. In doing so, this article makes a significant contribution to the testing of RST. More broadly, it indicates that examining the coherence-break identification potential of coherence theories could help specify each theory’s purview and, in the long term, lead to the creation of hybrid models of coherence. Moreover, it paves the way for the development of training resources on discourse (in)coherence for language teachers, exam markers and language learners. 84 paragraphs written by Taiwanese learners of English were analysed according to RST and coherence measures were calculated on the basis of this analysis. The results suggest that the violation of any diagram-formation principle indicates coherence breaks, thus corroborating this RST claim. Inter- and intrajudge agreement in terms of both RST coding and coherence measures calculated on the basis of coherence breaks are reported and discussed. The kinds of coherence breaks which are and are not located by RST analysis are discussed and exemplified. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for pedagogy and future research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coherence, discourse analysis, English as a Foreign Language, Rhetorical Structure Theory, writing
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 09:39
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 23:15

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