A Study on the Cohesion of English and ChineseBlessing Short Messages


新教育时代·教师版 2016年36期

Mobile short messageis a kind of text limited in characters. The paper is mainly focus on linguistic approach, aiming to broad the scope of the study of blessing short message. And further studies are needed.

Key words: Blessing short message, cohesion.

1 Introduction

Mobile short message(also known as text message) is a kind of text limited in characters.To a large content, short message as a medium of communication, serve to amuse and relax people.In this sense, humorous and in fashion are common characteristics of short message.

Based on the papers which the author collected, the study of mobileshortmessageismainlyfromthreeperspectives: sociological, rhetoric, and linguistic perspective. Zheng Qingjun(2007) explores the intertextual relationships in Chinese short messages and classifies them into nine types. She also talks about the discourse mechanism and register features of Chinese short messages. In the paper Comprehensive Review of Recent Ten -yearStudy on Language of Short Message by Guo Buyue published in 2011, theoretical perspectives of the research are found in both sociolinguistics and stylistics.

The study on cohesion of Chinese and English short message is based on Halliday and Hasans cohesion and coherence theory. According to them, cohesion has five cohesive devices: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction, and lexical cohesion. Reference is traditionally used in semantics for the relationship which holds between a word and what it points to in the real world. Halliday and Hasan said about conjunction:“Conjunctive elements are cohesive not in themselves but indirectly, by virtue of their specific meanings; they are not primarily devices for reaching out into the precedingtext,buttheyexpresscertainmeaningswhich presuppose the presence of other elements in the discourse.”(Halliday and Hasan, 1976:226)Lexical cohesion refers to the relationship established within a text by the choice of lexical items in organizing the text.

2 Analysis of the data

The author collects 20 English and 20 Chinese blessing short messages by downloading randomly from the website.

According to the analysis, the numbers of cohesive devices used in these short messages are reference 46,substitution 2, ellipsis 13,and lexical cohesion 2, totaling 63 in English blessing short messages; and reference 40,substitution 1, ellipsis 27, conjunction 1, lexical cohesion 32, totaling 101 in Chinese blessing short messages. Both in Chinese blessing short message and in English blessing short message, reference is the mostly adoptedcohesive device, while the second device is ellipsis in English blessing message and lexical cohesion in Chinese blessing message.

By investigating 40 short messages, it is found that the firstperson pronoun and second-person pronoun are frequently used. From the point of the sender, the first-person is often used and the second -person is used to refer to himself or the receiver. For example:

(19) On this special day, I want to say Im proud of you, appreciate all youve done for me and I love you.


Because English pays emphasis on formal completion, the subject can mot be omitted in most cases, therefore more reference is adopted in English blessing message than in Chinese blessing message. Example(4) must add the subject I in each clause, turning to be“I wish you happiness, I hope you safe”. Among lexical cohesion, repetition is a way most frequently used in both English and Chinese blessing messages, especially in Chinese, because blessing message is to express peoples inner thought. Repetition can help to emphasize and strengthen this feeling, and can also achieve an ideal linguistic effect. For example,

(5) Wishing you———

glad days filled with friendliness,

bright days filled with cheer,

warm days filled with happiness

to last throughout the year!

Have a wonderful birthday!

Example(5) presents three kinds of days: glad days, bright days, and warm days, to express his best wishes.


Through the case study, the author discovers that different cohesive devices play different roles in English and Chinese blessing short messages. The paper helps to widen the research area of short message and pushes research on it into a new era.

1. Halliday, M.A.K. & Hasan,R. 1976. Cohesion in English. London: Longman.



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