Measuring Coherence in Chinese EFL Majors’ Writing through LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis)

| April 5, 2006
Title
Measuring Coherence in Chinese EFL Majors’ Writing through LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis)

Keywords: LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis), coherence, cohesion, English writing

Authors
Huili Wang and Danni Sui
Dalian University of Technology, China

Abstract
In recent years, writing, as one of the most important communicative skills, has been drawing increasing attention in English language teaching in China. This paper presents an investigation into the use of decomposition in Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) to analyze textual coherence. Based on LSA and Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) concepts of cohesion and their categorization of cohesive devices, this study reports on the analysis of the writing of 70 Chinese students. The results are consistent and indicate that LSA is an objective and appropriate method in measuring textual coherence. Therefore, it is argued that close attention should be paid to the cultivation of textual coherence in the teaching of English writing.

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Category: Teaching Articles, Volume 11