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The Logico-Semantic Relation of Clause Complexes in the Abstracts of the Final Project Reports Produced by the English Department Students

Dwi Rukmini Universitas Negeri Semarang

Abstract: This article focuses on the clause complexes students make use in writing abstracts to suit their length which is not longer than a page. The problems discussed are: the taxis of clause complexes in the abstract, the logico-semantic relation between the clause complexes, and the realization of those clause complexes through lexicogrammar. Theory of taxis and logico-semantic of clause complexes offered by Gerot and Wignell (1994) which says that the taxis can be of two kinds parataxis and hypotaxis; the logico-semantic relation can be expansions (elaboration, extension and enhancement) and projection (locution or idea) and the systemic functional grammar suggested by Halliday (1994) underlie the discussion. The results reveal that the clause complexes are of both parataxis and hypotaxis. Whereas the logico-semantic relations are elaboration, extension, enhancement and idea projection; the locution projection is not used at all. The realization is relatively good but some errors such as voice, grammar, tenses are still made by the students.

Key words: abstract, taxis, clause complex, logico-semantic

INTRODUCTION

An abstract, the first part of the final project report that students of undergraduate have to make, is an important part of the whole text. The readers will continue to read the whole report; very often depends on whether the abstract is interesting. This is one of the reasons why an abstract should be very carefully written so that it can invite any readers to continue reading the report. The implication is that an abstract does not only function to give the picture of the report content but such a beautiful entrance of a report. Many books on abstract writing provide guidance such as: the length of an abstract, its generic structure, the respective contents of elements, etc. The strategy on how to write it briefly has not been available yet.

The study on abstract which had been conducted are for examples the one by Salager and Meyer (1990) which analyzed the abstracts of medical students in terms of the quality of the five main elements which according to Bhatia (1993) consists of purpose of study, method, results, conclusion and suggestion. Salager and Meyer again conducted a study of abstracts in 1992 and found that another element which they called ‘situationing the research’ may be included. This element usually presents the current connecting information which aims at attracting the readers to read further. They further explained that this element, very often, available in more than half of the abstracts under study.

Melander, et al. (1997) conducted a research on abstracts with the intention on other possible elements which were provided by medical students. The results tell that there are other elements, those are the case presentation completed with the case report and data synthesis. This implies that elements of an abstract can be varied depending on the field of the study of the writer, however the five main elements are always provided. There seems to be no significant problems with the contents of the elements, almost all students know these.

The availability of guiding books on abstracts does not seem to guarantee the good writing of abstracts. Having glance at the clauses in the abstracts, I find many students have serious problems on the clause realization. They do not seem to write the clauses appropriately, especially on the clause complexes since students tend to shorten the length of abstracts by making use of these clause complexes.

The realization of the clause complexes become the focus of this article which is written based on the concerned study, particularly the realization of the logico-semantic realization between them.

ABSTRACT WRITING

As written above, an abstract functions as such a gate of a project report. Readers will continue reading the report partly depends on whether the abstract is attractive. The diction and grammar chosen for its realization should be very appropriate.

Another thing which should be also considered is the abstract elements which, based on Bhatia, (1993) consist of five: purpose, method, findings, conclusion and suggestion. Providing those elements seems unproblematic for the English department students of undergraduate of Semarang State University, but realizing the meanings of those elements does.

The above characteristics should be there in the abstract. Since the abstract is a written text; the characteristics of a written text should also be considered, such as the dictions and grammar should be very appropriately communicative. This makes sense for revisions can be done as many times as the writer wishes to do. Another last requirement to consider is being easy to understand by any readers—both educated and the common people.

When all those considerations are taken into account, the writing of the abstract refers to systemic functional linguistics proposed by Halliday (1983) who claims four tenants of language theories: that language use has a function, that the function is to make meanings, that the meanings are influenced by two contexts—contexts of culture and situation, that the process of making meaning is done semiotically – making meaning by choosing. The implication is that when we write, for example, the purpose of an abstract, the writer should consider what it is, then he thinks the meanings he wants to write, later he asks to himself who will read his writing. After knowing that any readers in the society have the possibility to read his writing; he chooses lexical items and grammar to realize the meanings so that any readers can easily understand them. Every language has its convention; English has so. Therefore the writer should obey it in order that his writing is acceptable. With regards to the length of the abstract, i.e. not longer than a page, the strategy which can be done is by joining clauses into clause complexes.

CLAUSE COMPLEX

The term clause complex in language studies, according to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), does not refer to a sentence; since that term can be used for both spoken and written language whereas a sentence can be only use in written language. SFL then adds that a clause realizes a meaning, whereas a sentence can realizes more than one meaning. The recent study is the one analyzes a written language in the form of abstracts written by English department students of Semarang State University.

As in it is written above that the length of the abstract should not be longer than a page, writers of abstracts tend to join the clauses into clause complexes, for examples: The strategies which are used by the students under study are fillers, searching a help (of the co-

speakers); one of the major problem which makes students of senior high schools in Indonesia unable to speak fluently well in English is the lack of chance to use English. Clause complexes can be classified based on two basic principles; the system of interdependency and the logico-semantic relations between clauses.

The system of interdependency is usually called taxis in SFL (Gerot, et al. 1994:90). It classifies clause complexes into two classes; parataxis and hypotaxis. Parataxis is the joining of two or more clauses in which one clause follows or precedes other clauses. The clauses joined have the same status, therefore in the analysis the coding used is numerical, such as 1,2,3, 4 … etc.; for example:

Cisil can sing very nicely and she also plays the guitar very well.

1

2

The clause Cisil can sing very nicely and she also plays the guitar very well have the same status, they are both independent.

Hypotaxis is the joining of one or more clauses in which one is independent and others are dependent. In the analysis, the dominant is usually coded α and the rests β, µ, ∞, etc., for example: When the result is positive; people usually support the policy. α

β

Since the clause people usually support the policy is dominant compared to the clause when the result is positive, α is coded to it and the other β.

The logico-semantic relation between the clauses in clause-complexes has two classes (Gerot, et al., 1994:89); expansion and projection. The expansion, based on its functions, it is classified in three classes, namely: elaboration, extension, and enhancement; whereas projection has two classes; locution projection and idea projection.

Elaboration is an expansion in which one clause elaborates the meaning of another clause. Elaborating means providing detail information; the words which usually precede this clause are, such as: i.e., e.g., namely, etc. The codification used for this relation is the equal (=) sign for example:

Indonesians, i.e. people who live in Indonesia, are now doing lots of efforts to stop

corruption.

=

The clause in bold is the elaborating one. That clause gives detail information of the meaning elaborated. In the above example, the clause people who live in Indonesia elaborates Indonesians.

Extension functions as to extend a clause by adding new information Gerot, et al., 1994:90); the code used is a plus (+) sign. This clause is usually preceded by conjunctions, such as:

and, but, dan or, for example;

Cisil can sing very nicely and she also plays the guitar very well.

+

The clause she also plays the guitar very well extends the meaning of the clause Cisil can sing very nicely. Cisil does not only play the guitar but sings very nicely.

Enhancement provides explanation on the circumstances of the clause, such as circumstance of place, time, cause, etc. The code given to this clause is a multiplication (x) sign, for example:

I will visit you soon after I completed this proposal.

x

The clause soon after I completed this proposal explains when I will visit you.

Projection is joining two clauses or more by considering the clause being projected, whether

it is locution or idea. When what is projected is locution, the code given is double

apostrophes (“). The word precedes this clause is usually a verbal process, such as: say,

state, tell, explain, etc.; for example:

The researcher stated “that the research’s scope was throughout Indonesia.

When what is projected is an idea or thought, the word precedes this clause is a mental process, such as: think, imagine, see, feel, etc., and the code is single apostrophe (‘); for example:

The doctor saw ‘that the symptoms refer to paranoid.

FINAL PROJECT REPORT

A university in any place has requirements for the students to fulfill before being a graduate.

In Indonesia, for the under graduate students the university usually requires them to make final project reports which should be written scientifically, and so does Semarang State University (UNNES). After completing it they can have the title called ‘Sarjana Strata 1’. In

UNNES they should write the final project report based on their research whose scope in based on their respective fields of study or programs learned, for example students of literature should conduct a research on such as: the impact of the childhood experience of a character as reflected in a given novel, the influence of power of the people’s political

behaviours as viewed by the director of a given film, how the life of Geisha as it is expressed

in the a given novel, etc. Usually there are two consultants which help them to do so.

Usually the study can be done by the students after they successfully achieved a number of credits, however recently some students who are considered to be super—the ones who can learn while conducting a study, can start conducting the study earlier. For the undergraduate level the final project report is valued as six (6) credits.

METHOD OF STUDY

The study approach is descriptive qualitative, therefore the results are the description of the taxis, logico-semantic and their realization of the abstracts produced by the English department students of the undergraduate of UNNES. This implies that the data sources are the final project reports containing abstracts. Since there are two programs learned in the

faculty of literature and arts, literature and education, the stating of the final project report consists of 5 abstracts written by the students of literature programs and the other 5 education programs. To analyze the updated data the years of the writing are from 2006 to

2010.

The instruments used to analyze the data are the theories of the clause complex system of interdependency, the logico-semantic relation and the realization of them which have been explained above. Consequently the units of analysis are clause complexes and clauses. Each of the data are firstly identified in terms of their clause complexes, then analyzed their system of interdependency, after that the logico-semantic relation, and the realization analysis is done at the end of the analysis.

FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

Below, the results on the system of the clause interdependency in the clause complexes of the abstracts under study are tabelized as shown in Table 1. The code of every datum is numbered systematically therefore they are meaningful, for example the code S11-9/1 means that the datum is made by the student of literature (in ‘bahasa Indonesia’ it is sastra) in the year 2009 of which the number of number list is eleven and becomes the first number of datum in this study.

It is seen clearly in the table that both parataxis and hypotaxis are used by the students to write their final project report.

Based on the number, hypotaxes are used more by the students; they are nearly twice as many as the parataxis.

Table 1: The System of Clause Interdependency of the Clause Complex

No.

Data Code

Hypotaxis

Parataxis

1.

S11-9/1

10

4

2.

P8-9/2

9

5

3.

S20-8/3

5

5

4.

P17-8/4

4

3

5.

P29-7/5

5

2

6.

S17/6

12

14

7.

P24-6/7

3

3

8.

S22-6/8

6

2

9.

P21-10/9

7

3

10.

S24-9/10

11

2

 

Total

72

43

All of the ten abstracts analyzed show that students really make use of paratactic and hypotactic clause complexes to write their abstracts with the purpose that their abstracts are not longer than a page and they do it successfully since all of them are shorter than a page.

Students of literature seem to make use more clause complexes compared to the education ones. They seem to realize better the meanings rather than the education ones, as such in the example below. The problem of the study are what kinds of adjacency pairs used by the third semester students of English department students of Semarang State University in their conversations are and what are the functions of adjacency pairs used in their conversations.(S 20-8/3)

The above clause complex consists of 5 clauses combined as shown below:

The problem of the study are what kinds of adjacency pairs used by the third

α

β

µ

1

semester students of English department students of Semarang State University in

their conversations are and what are the functions of adjacency pairs

used in their

ƛ

conversations.

2

Those 5 clauses are joined hypotactically but observing further another finding can be obtained. The bold typed clause after the first clause (α) is actually a clause complex of 2 clauses (β and µ) which are joined paratactically with and to 2 other clause complexes (∂ and ƛ). The realization is very appropriate both the lexical and grammar choices used.

The summary of the findings in terms of logico-semantic relation between clauses can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: Logico-semantic Relation between Clauses of Clause Complexes

Projection

Abstract

Taxis

Extension

Enhancement

Elaboration

(idea)

Total

S11-9/1

Parataxis

4

-

3

-

7

Hypotaxis

2

-

5

-

10

P8-9/2

Parataxis

2

-

3

-

5

Hypotaxis

-

1

6

2

9

S20-8/3

Parataxis

3

-

2

-

5

Hypotaxis

-

2

1

2

5

P17-8/4

Parataxis

5

-

-

-

5

Hypotaxis

-

1

4

-

5

P29-7/5

Parataxis

3

-

2

-

5

Hypotaxis

-

2

1

2

5

P17-8/4

Parataxis

2

-

-

-

2

Hypotaxis

-

1

4

-

5

P15-7/6

Parataxis

3

-

1

-

14

Hypotaxis

-

5

7

-

12

P24-6/7

Parataxis

3

-

-

-

3

Hypotaxis

-

-

2

1

3

TOTAL

37

12

41

7

Most of all the logico semantic relations used by the students are elaborations in which a writer describes further a given written phenomenon, such as in the following example:

α Stratovarius is one of thousands heavy metal band β= that is able to sing such philosophy perfectly. (S11-9/1)

In the example, Stratovarius is elaborated with the clause that is able to sing such philosophy perfectly. Stratovarius is a musical group which can sing a psychological message perfectly. It looks like that this clause complex is appropriately written; however a close observation on it, tells that the conjunction that is not appropriately used here, it would have been better if it is changed with which and the clause complex becomes:

Stratovarius is one of thousands heavy metal band which is able to sing such philosophy perfectly.

The projection system of independency does not seem to be made use. This is logical since a writer tends to rarely project what someone says in the abstract (locution projection) compared to what someone thinks (idea projection). The latter is usually used in the conclusion and suggestion element that is the last paragraph, such as:

α I finally conclude β ‘1 that role play could make the students more active in class, 2+ and they could use English confidently through role play activity. (P21-10/9)

The above clause complex is written by a student of education program in 2010. She gives the conclusion in the projection clause that role play could make the students more active in class, and they could use English confidently through role play activity. What he projects is the idea, not locution.

The same thing is also done by another student as in the following example:

α I suggested β ‘that the teacher should be able to make English class more enjoyable and

fun by using this kind of teaching technique. (P21-10/9)

Suggestion is included as an idea; therefore that the teacher should be able to make English class more enjoyable and fun by using this kind of teaching technique is regarded as an idea projection.

Realization of Clause Complexes Produced by Students

Basically the realization of clause complexes used by the students is done based on the rules and convention used in English both lexical and grammar choices used, just as the one below:

1 We should dare to dream 2+ and make our life to be positive. (S11-9/1)

To be positive may not be used here, since the process of the second clause is make; the to should have been deleted and the clause is:

We should dare to dream and make our life positive.

Problem in the clause voice and diction as the ones below:

α 1The problems is discussed in this study are: 2=what speaking materials displayed

in the textbook the Bridge English Competence for Junior High School grade VII 3=and whether the speaking materials of the textbook are compatible or not with the latest curriculum, β = which is School Based Curriculum.( P8-9/2)

The use of is in clause α should have been deleted, the Process displayed used above should have been passive not active, and the clause should have been: The problem discussed in this study are: what speaking materials are displayed

‘Or not’ seems like too much and spoken like and it would have been better omitted. The word latest is not likely to be use appropriately in the clause, since a different reader may

interpret the clause differently when the ‘knowledge’ of curriculum is different. It would have

with the current curriculum, β =

been better if the clause is changed as the one follows:

which is School Based Curriculum

The following problem deals with numbering, one of the writers writes:

The percentages of the others were greeting-greeting: 4,34%, invitation-acceptance:

0,62%

percentage was 0%. (S 20-8/3)

;

β x while offer-acceptance and complaint-apology did not found so the

The writing of numbers in English is different from the one in ‘bahasa Indonesia’. Decimal in English uses point (.) instead of comma (,), therefore the writing should have been: sbb:

4.34%, invitation-acceptance: 0.62%

Problems on tenses have been the classical ones which are hard to end. Some of them can be seen below:

α The results of the analysis shows β = the grammatical cohesion in the reading texts are written well through the application of reference, ellipsis and conjunction. (P20-

8/4)

The mental process shows is not appropriately used in the above clause since the clause’s senser (The results of the analysis) is plural. The appropriate one should have been:

The results of the analysis show

The same problem—the concord of process and the subject takes place in the next clause, that is the mental process influence should have also changed to suit the subject the conflicts that happened in his childhood which refers to the past, therefore that process should be changed to influenced.

The objectives of the study are: 1 Ϥ find out the conflicts ϤϤ= that happened in his childhood β=which influence Russ Duritzs personality on the movie Disney’s the Kid ,2+ to find out the conflict on the main character’s personality in the future, 3+ and some solutions to those conflicts as revealed by the movie. (S 15-7/6)

The improved clause will be:

childhood which influenced Russ Duritzs

The next problematic clause complex is very complicated as follows:

1/ αIn the next step, β x since the utterance “I am sorry” µ =which has denotative meaning all is meant “I apologize for something”, I only interpret them in two numbers 2 + and the rest is the interpretation of the utterance “I am sorry” ð =which has connotative meaning. S 24-9/10

The first word group seems like to be difficult to improve since the meaning to convey cannot be understood. The one with the offered improvement may be taken:

since I only found two ‘I am sorry’ which have denotative meanings which mean ‘I apologize for something’, the rests are the ones with connotative meanings.

Whereas the second clause is likely to be less communicative, even though a close study on it has been done, the clause complex is as follows:

α For the next researcher, they can study on the improvements β’/1that can be made by another expression 2=such as ‘thank you’ to obtain its various meanings. S 24-9/10

they

can study the various meanings of another communication expression such as “thank you” in various contacts.

The suggested improvement which can be done towards the underlined words is:

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION

All the logico-semantic relations except the locution projection are used in the ten clause complexes of the abstracts under study are used by the students of S1 in their students’ final projects. Both taxes are also used by them.

The realization of the clause complexes is relatively not so satisfactory; some meanings are not appropriately realized in term of its lexical and grammar choices. This is crucially necessary to be considered; otherwise the meanings cannot be well conveyed.

The only two suggestions which can be given are: that all kinds of grammars: traditional, formal and systemic functional should be learned by students of English departments both educational and literature programs and the scores of those grammars should be all A, before they are allowed to conduct a final project.

REFERENCES

Dewerianka, B. 1990. Exploring How Texts Work. Sydney: Primary English Teaching Association.

Flowerdew, John. Academic Discourse. 2003. Harlow: Longman.

Gerot, Linda, and Peter Wignell. 1994. Making Sense of Functional Grammar. Sydney: Gerd Stabler.

Halliday, M.A.K. 1994. Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

Rukmini, Dwi. 2003. Unpublished Dissertation The Rhetorical Development of Reading Texts of the Senior High School Textbooks.

Unpublished Final Project Reports written in 2005 – 2010. Universitas Negeri Semarang.