Data Possibly Suggest... Hedging in Second Language Writing: A Study on Advanced Italian EFL Learners
This paper explores the use of hedges in academic thesis abstracts among L1-Italian advanced university EFL learners drawing on a corpus of 217 abstracts written in English. Two rounds of contrastive analysis are carried out: 15 hedges are first compared to boosters and modals of logical possibility and inferential certainty. Secondly, a comparison is drawn against the MICUSP Corpus.
Results show that EFL students tend to use fewer hedges than their L1-English peers in favor of boosters and modals of epistemic certainty. However, patterns in the two corpora follow certain parallelisms and suggest awareness of hedging strategies by EFL learners. Given its complexity as a linguistic phenomenon, hedging deserves greater attention in academic writing courses and textbooks.
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