Describing the extended meanings of lexical cohesion in a corpus of SARS spoken discourse

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The study reported in this paper applies Sinclair’s (2004) descriptive model of lexical items, which consists of five categories of co-selection: two obligatory categories the core and semantic prosody, and three optional categories collocation, colligation and semantic preference. The study examines a selection of spoken discourse events collected in Hong Kong during and in the immediate aftermath of the SARS crisis in 2003. These discourse events form part of the <i>Hong Kong Corpus of Spoken English </i>(HKCSE). The findings show that once the overlapping patterns of co-selection of the most frequently occurring lexical words in the SARS corpus have been determined, it is possible to describe the cumulative effects of the habitual co-selection in the lexical items that contribute to textual meanings and coherence within and across the texts. It is argued that patterns of co-selection provide a fuller picture of textual and intertextual coherence than concentrating solely on lexical cohesion.


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