HEDGING IN THE DISCUSSION SECTIONS OF ELT RESEARCH ARTICLES WRITTEN BY NATIVE AND NON- NATIVE WRITERS OF ENGLISH

Abstract

Hedging as a very crucial pragmatic-discourse device for the academic writers to be accepted by the academic discourse community has gained much attention among the academics and linguists researching hedges in scientific literature. To define it shortly, hedges are the words or phrases whose job is to make things fuzzier implying that the writer is less than fully committed to the certainty of the referential information given. That is the most effective use of hedges in academic writing, which enable the academic writers to build a mutual interaction between them and the reader. This study was based on corpus analysis, and compared the use of hedges in the discussion section of Research Articles (RAs) – published in ELT Journal between the years 2002 and 2012 – of two groups of writers who are the native writers (English) versus the non-native writers (Turkish). For this purpose, Hyland’s (1994) categorization of hedging patterns (modal verbs, lexical verbs, modal adverbs, modal adjectives and modal nouns) in 20 RAs (10 of NNWs and 10 of NWs) were analysed . The findings from the study showed that both English writers and Turkish writers did use the hedges in the discussion section of RAs with almost the same frequency. However, by comparison, English writers tended to use different varieties of hedges while Turkish writers preferred the hedges of modal verbs in their Research Articles more frequently. On the other hand, it was also seen that, contrary to some scholars’ views, the non-native writers (Turkish) were well qualified to use hedges effectively in their Research Articles as well as the native writers (English) were. In sum, it follows from this study that  English for Specific Purposes (ESP) teachers and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teachers should cover the effective use of hedging in their academic writing.

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Unique Article ID: IJELLR-142

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