The role of cohesion in cricket journalism: parallelism and reference from a systemic functional linguistic perspective
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 22:27 by Stephen Baggaley
Sports writing is an area that has not been widely studied, in particular from a Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) perspective. The SFL model is known for analysing the relationship between language and its social context, both situational and cultural. It has traditionally been implemented in discourse analyses of service encounters, stories, elemental genres and, relevant to this thesis, media genres. In Australia, sports such as cricket and its discourse have been an ingrained part of the culture for generations. This is evident in the popularity of the sport and the proliferation of spoken and written cricket discourse, including, the focus of this paper, written cricketer profiles. All writers aspire to create a text for the reader that flows, and that is entertaining, informative, and easy to understand. Traditionally, analyses of texts, especially in educational settings, have focused on grammar, vocabulary, and organisation. However, in order to benefit pedagogy and future research, more rigorous discourse analyses need to be undertaken to capture the essence of meaning framed by purpose and culture in expert writers‟ texts. In this study, four cricketer profiles by two expert writers (n=4) are compared with one article each from two non-expert writers (n=2). All texts relate to a specific batsman. This research uses an SFL framework and analyses the characteristics of cohesion and coherence that make up experts‟ and non- experts‟ writing. The most significant findings relate to the cohesive devices of parallelism and reference. It is argued that these two cohesive devices, when used by the expert writers, assist in achieving cohesion and to a lesser extent coherence suitable for a literary description style of writing. It is hoped that this study will provide the impetus for more research into developing pedagogy related to cricket writing and other text types, with analyses of the link between language choices, social purpose, and genre.