Hedging Devices in Psychology Undergraduate Theses

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Hedging Devices in Psychology Undergraduate Theses

1. Introduction

With the advent of the new millennium comes a seemingly great challenge for professionals in different fields or disciplines---"publish or perish" (Richards, 1988, p. 88). Hence, academic writing has been considered a necessity not only for native English speakers but for non native English writers as well.

Among the sociolinguistic problems that non native English writers have to deal with is writing academic or scientific papers that may be acceptable to the global community of professionals (Salager-Meyer, 1997). Non native English writers are expected to manifest in their research articles not only grammatical competence in the English language but also sociolinguistic competence in the form of expressing "politeness", showing openness to criticisms, and confidently stating uncertainty regarding findings or claims (Mojica, 2005). Thus a number of research investigations on the use of hedging or "the substantial means by which the professional scientist confirms his or her membership of the scientific community" (Hyland, 1995, p.33)

have been conducted.

Though linguists' attention has been drawn to hedging as early as 1972 when Lakoff published his paper on hedges, attempts to study hedging devices as a significant aspect of academic writing apparently started only in the early 1990s as Hyland pointed out the importance of hedging in the research paper articles which serve as a potent key for non native English speakers to enter the international world of research (Falahati, n.d. ). In fact, until now, writing books intended for non native speakers continue to teach students to write scientific papers that are highly objective and impersonal and to avoid hedging in scientific articles for hedging words "only pad the sentences and confuse the readers" (Forlini, 1990, p.415).

To date, the existing literature on the study of hedges and hedging devices can be...