School of Liberal Arts
Mae Fah Luang University

ISSN: 2287-0903


The Comparison of Lexical Hedge Uses in Academic Articles between Thai College Students and International Writers

Kochamon Thongsoy, Prach Aowsakorn



This comparison study investigates the numbers and frequencies of lexical hedging types between two corpora: the first corpus was the academic articles written by Thai college students majoring in English, and the other was the published articles from “Science Direct”, the database widely accepted by scholars in linguistic fields. The use of hedges and the frequencies in the corpora were identified, quantified and compared based on Hyland’s (1998) and Schmied (2008) classification of hedges.  The results show that all types of lexical hedges and modal auxiliaries were found most frequently in both corpora.  However, the student writers used lexical hedges more often in their texts when compared with the professional researchers who published their articles in international journals even though the choices of words used are less than those found in published articles. The underlying reasons why the students used those two types most frequently can be partly from lessons in previous courses in which quantifiers and modal auxiliaries were emphasized.


hedges, hedging devices, lexical hedges, student writing

Full Text:




Aull, L. L., Bandarage, D., & Miller, M. R. (2017). Generality in student and expert

epistemic stance: A corpus analysis of first-year, upper-level, and published academic writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 26, 29-41.

Atai, M., & Sadr, L. (2006). A cross-cultural genre study on hedging devices in

discussion section of applied linguistics research articles. In Proceedings of the conference of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistic (pp. 42-57).

Brown, P, & Levinson, S.C. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage

(Vol. 4). Cambridge University Press.

Browne, C., Culligan, B. & Phillips, J. (2013). New general service list: The most

important words for second language learners of English. The New General Service List.

He, Y., Jiangqin, X., & Feng, L. Lexical Hedges in English Abstract Writing. In 2010

International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Software Engineering. Retrieved from


Hu, G., & Cao, F. (2011). Hedging and boosting in abstracts of applied linguistics

articles: a comparative study of English- and Chinese-medium journals. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 2795-2809.

Hyland, K. (1996). Talking to the academy: Forms of hedging in science research

articles. Written Communication, 13(2), 251-281.

Hyland, K. (1998). Hedging in scientific research articles (Vol. 54). John Benjamins


Hyland, K. (2005a). Prudence, precision, and politeness: Hedges in academic

writing. Quaderns de Filologia-Estudis Lingüístics, 10, 99-112.

Hyland, K. (2005b). Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic

discourse. Discourse Studies, 7 (2), 173-192.

Lakoff, G. (1972). Hedges: A study of meaning criteria and the logic of fuzzy

concepts. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 2, 458-508.

Riekkinen, N. (2009). Softening criticism: The use of lexical hedges in academic

spoken interaction.

Riekkinen, N. (2010). “This is not criticism, but...” Softening criticism: The use of

lexical hedges in academic spoken interaction. Helsinki English Studies (6),


Samaie, M., Khosravian, F., & Boghayeri, M. (2014). The frequency and types of

hedges in research article Introductions by Persian and English native

authors. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1678-1685.

Schmied, J. (2008). Hedges in specialised vs. popular academic interaction: A case

study of medical text. Discourse and Interaction, 1(2), 85.

Vassileva, I. (2001). Commitment and detachment in English and Bulgarian

academic writing. English for Specific Purposes, 20, 83-102.

Yang, Y. (2013). Exploring linguistic and cultural variations in the use of hedges in

English and Chinese scientific discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 50(1), 23-36.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal Content

Font Size