Grammatical Cohesion in Argumentative Essays by International EAP Learners in New Zealand
The challenges encountered by non-native English-speaking students in writing cohesive essays have been canvassed in scholarly research. However, cohesion problems in essays written by international English for Academic Purposes (EAP) learners in the New Zealand context do not appear to be addressed adequately. This may pose a challenge for educators when trying to unpack the issues these learners encounter in written discourse and how best to address such issues. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate grammatical cohesion in EAP learners' argumentative essays. The main instrument for this study was a sample of 37 argumentative essays written by international EAP learners at a tertiary institution in New Zealand. The study utilized AntConc software for analyzing instances of reference and conjunctions in the data. Frequencies of ellipsis and substitution were analyzed manually. The findings show that learners employed a variety of grammatical cohesive devices in their writing. The learners prominently used references and conjunctions. However, limited use of substitution and ellipsis was obvious in the essays, which seems to suggest that learners need further training on grammatical cohesive devices and how to employ them in written discourse.