The Use of Hedging in Some Iraqi EFL Theses and Dissertations

Prof. Hameed H. Al-Mas’udi, PhD Asst Prof. Ahmed S. Mubarak, MA Department of English/ College of Education for Human Sciences/ University of Babylon

The term ''Hedging'' was first introduced by Lakoff (1972) to describe words whose job is to make things fuzzier or more opaque. In other words, hedging is employed to indicate absence of certainty of some sort. Hence it is an important strategy to be used in scientific writings in order to lessen the commitment of making generalizations, introducing theories and putting forward solid conclusions. Hedging can help speakers and writers indicate more precisely how the Gricean maxims are observed in assessments i. e. expectations to the maxims of quantity, quality, manner, and relevance (wikipedia). For example, if a speaker says: 1. All I know is smoking is harmful to your health. the phrase all I know is an indication that the quantity maxim is being observed. Similarly, in (2) below the phrase They told me that reflects an observation of the quality maxim: 2. They told me that they are married. Examples (3) and (4) below illustrate an observation to the manner and relevance maxims respectively. 3. I am not sure if this is clear to you, but this is what I know. 4. By the way, you like this car? To the best of our knowledge, there is no study conducted about the use of hedges in scientific texts written by Iraqi EFL scholars. We are still unaware of the type of hedges these scholars employ in their writings and what functions they intend to achieve behind using such devices. Therefore, this study tries to fulfill the following objectives:

In addition. 2. Investigating the types of hedging devices used in Iraqi EFL theses and dissertations. The Procedures followed to achieve the objectives of this study are as follows: 1. Uncertainty is the main function of hedging in Iraqi EFL theses and dissertations. then modal adjectives. Hedging is a means by which one is able to negotiate the truth of his statement. . it is hypothesized that: 1. as well as the functions hedging is employed to fulfill in theses and dissertations. 2. Hedging has different strategies to reflect uncertainty. Presenting a theoretical background about the strategy of hedging to acquaint the reader with the definitions. Analyzing hedging devices in some selected theses and dissertations written by Iraqi EFL scholars to find out the (a) types of hedges used in such writings. 3. introductory phrases. the second hypothesis is verified because the analysis showed that expressing uncertainty is the main aim behind using hedging. 2. skepticism. fuzziness and neutrality. and (b) functions they are used to fulfill. Identifying the functions achieved by such devices when writing theses and dissertations. Phrasal hedges are used more than other types of hedges in Iraqi EFL theses and dissertations.1. types. Discussing the results of the analysis to come out with some conclusions and pedagogical recommendations. Different devices are used to express hedging and the most frequent ones are the epistemic verbs. 3. 2. In the light of the objectives of the study. The results of data analysis refuted the first hypothesis since it is found that lexical hedges are used more than any other type. the following conclusions are arrived at: 1. modal verbs.

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