The Use of Hedging in Research Articles on Applied Linguistics

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This paper is devoted to the analysis of the use of hedging in a corpus of articles from applied linguistics, and in this sense, it is complementary to the previous research of academic persuasion in research articles (Hinkel, 1997; Hyland, 1996, 2004). This study examined the types and frequency of hedges employed by the authors of academic research articles (RAs) in the field of applied linguistics. A corpus consists of 20 research articles, randomly selected from the Open Access Journals on Educational linguistics (5 RAs), Psycholinguistics (5 RAs), Sociolinguistics (5 RAs) and Pragmatics (5 RAs) The data were manually coded according to Hyland’s taxonomy of hedges and hedging devices (Hyland, 1996) and then formatted to calculate the frequency and type of hedges in RAs on Applied Linguistics. Results of the study indicate that reader-oriented hedges constitute the main pragmatic type of hedges in RAs in the field of applied linguistics, recognizing the need for reader’s ratification of the author’s claims and politeness conventions of academic discourse per se. Combination of qualitative and quantitative methods applied to computer readable data proved that hedges in RAs on Applied Linguistics are topic dependent, showing differences in typology, frequency and distribution even within one discipline.

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