The notion of hedging has been in the linguistic literature and vocabulary since the term hedges was introduced by Lakoff (1972) to describe a range of lexical units “whose job is to make things more or less fuzzy”. The original definition and interpretation has been recently widened to include more discourse-oriented interpretations. In the more recent literature, hedging may be best described as a large and complex language phenomenon whereby items semantically associated with uncertainty, tentativeness, vagueness and related meanings are used to realise various and very different pragmatic/rhetorical purposes, from face-saving, deference and politeness to mitigation of the illocutionary force of one’s speech acts, mitigation of responsibility and/or certainty, doubt, denial of responsibility, and even evasiveness and obfuscation for dubious purposes. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of publications treat hedges and hedging as phenomena of the English and German language . Yet, its nature and its consequences for foreign language teaching, and English Language Teaching in particular, is not adequately covered in textbooks. This article provides an introductory survey of the notion of hedging and some of the ambiguities and terminological problems that are reflected in the literature, with an eye to the categories and types of hedging strategies in Present- Day English. with an eye to the categories and types of hedging strategies in Present-Day English. In the last sections, the article reports on some of the studies on hedging that have been carried out in the field of Applied Linguistics, focussing especially on the EFL/ESL classroom, both in secondary and higher education: the insights they offer represent a discussion of the difficulties learners experience with the phenomenon of hedging and the activities they suggest “may […] enable teachers to make better informed judgements about the communicative usefulness of particular features, assisting them in decisions about what items to teach ad when to teach them” (Hyland 1998: 243).
|Numero di pagine||8|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2014|