Hedging as a Pragmatic Strategy: Variations across Disciplines and Cultures

Document Type : Original Article


Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz



This study attempted to capitalize on hedges in English academic abstracts written by three groups of researchers, namely native speakers of English, native speakers of Persian and native speakers of other languages. To this end, a corpus of 552 thesis and dissertation abstracts from nine disciplines was selected and their hedges were computed. The recorded hedges were then classified according to the established models, and the preferred hedging types in each rhetorical section were determined. Results of the analysis demonstrated that conventional hedges, hedges by passive voice and hedges by putting oneself at a distance from the data were the predominant types of hedges employed in the abstracts. The analysis could hardly show disciplinary and group variations in terms of the incorporation of hedging devices. The study suggests sufficient attention be paid to descriptions of linguistic and rhetorical devices in English if non-native speakers wish to publish their academic writings in scholarly journals.


Volume 1, Special Issue 1
March 2007
Pages 43-69
  • Receive Date: 23 January 2006
  • Revise Date: 23 February 2007
  • Accept Date: 23 February 2007
  • First Publish Date: 01 March 2007