Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Pedro Martín (1): The Pragmatic Rhetorical Strategy of Hedging in Academic Writing. VIAL. Number 0/2003: 57-72.


In academic discourse, hedging is a crucial rhetorical strategy mainly used by writers to mitigate the argumentative force of knowledge claims in order to reduce the potential threat that new claims make on other researchers, and thus minimize possible criticism from peers (Myers, 1989). In the social interactions between writers and readers, hedges also represent a useful linguistic device used by writers to gain community acceptance for a contribution to disciplinary knowledge (Hyland, 1996, 1998). In this paper, I review the concept of hedge since its origins, and attempt to explore its main pragmatic functions in academic discourse. I finally provide a taxonomy of the most frequent linguistic strategies which writers use in English research articles with the function of hedging, namely indetermination, camouflage, subjectivisation and depersonalization.

(1) Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.

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