Abstract Due to the dominance of English as the international language of scientific communication, second language (L2) academic writers with different first languages (L1s) need to enhance their L2 pragmatic competence and make rhetorical and stylistic accommodations to publish their academic work in English-medium journals. Hedging strategies, among other things, are one of the important indicators of L2 pragmatic competence in academic writing. With Crompton’s taxonomy of hedges as the conceptual framework and by referring to the interview findings, we built two purpose-driven corpora and analysed the use of the hedging devices in the conclusion section of applied linguistics research articles written in English by Chinese and Anglophone scholars from intercultural perspectives. We attempted to answer an overarching question: “To what extent did the two groups of academic writers differ in hedging?” Results indicate that: 1) overall, Anglophone academic English writers used more hedges than their Chinese counterparts; 2) Chinese and Anglophone writers did not show statistically significant differences in the frequency of using most of the categories of hedges except for only one subcategory (namely, the “I/we+non-factive verb” structure); 3) both groups showed a similar pattern in the choice of various categories of hedges; 4) there were differences in linguistic expressions between the two groups in the use of hedging. These results are discussed in relation to intercultural rhetoric and L2 academic writer pragmatic competence.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 1, 2017