Hedging as an Index of Gender Realization in Research Articles in Applied Linguistics

Document Type: Research Paper


University of Tabriz


Despite the importance of hedging in academic productions, its use in different disciplines and genres has been given little attention (Hyland, 1998; Crystal, 1995). More precisely, the role of different genders as contributors to this social phenomenon (i.e., research articles) has been taken as neutral, as if gender is inconsequential in identity construction. The studies done in English suggest that females’ language is proportionately more hedged. So hedging has been claimed to be a strategy that is used mostly by female writers than male writers. To examine the role of gender in text construction, we investigated the linguistic realizations of the identities reflected in male and female authors’ preferences for hedging words in the research articles in applied linguistics. To this end, 130 single-authored research articles written in the field of applied linguistics were examined. The results revealed significant differences between two sets of articles in using hedges. Statistical analysis revealed that female authors’ articles were significantly (i.e., p-value of 0.000) more hedged as compared with those of males. Furthermore, it is suggested that the hedging words that are used in these articles could be used as an index through which gender of the author is identified.


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