A Comparative Corpus Study on the Use of Academic Hedges and Boosters in Applied Linguistics


Hedges and boosters are two types of linguistically important strategies employed in academic writing. While hedges and boosters have been widely explored, previous studies focus on targeting the use of hedges and boosters in journal articles and conference papers in linguistics, computer engineering, second or foreign language teaching and learning. The investigation of Taiwanese students’ academic use of hedges and boosters in master’s theses in applied linguistics has not been fully researched. The purpose of this paper aims to compare how the use of hedges and boosters in Taiwanese graduate students’ theses are different from those in native writers’ theses writing. Two corpora were established. The English native speaker (NS) corpus was compiled with 46 theses written by native graduates in the U.S. The English as a second language learner (L2) corpus was built with a collection of Taiwanese graduate students’ 46 theses from 10 different universities. The theoretical framework which was developed by Hyland (1998 a) and Varttala (1998) was adopted. A list of 164 commonly-used hedges and boosters was compiled based on Varttala’s (1998) classification of hedges and Hyland’s (1998a, 2005) examples of hedges and boosters. The compiled list could be entered into AntConc (Windows 2014), and the major grammatical categories of hedges and boosters employed by L2 writers and native writers in applied linguistics could be derived. The findings are summarized as follows. First, L2 writers use lesser hedges and more boosters than native writers. Second, L2 writers tend to rely heavily on using certain hedges and boosters.

Author Information
Hui-Ya Chen, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2017
Stream: Linguistics

This paper is part of the ACLL2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon