Hedging practices in soft science research articles: A corpus-based analysis of Indonesian authors

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Hedging devices play a crucial role in mitigating claims and reducing directness in academic writing. Their utilisation in scholarly discourse facilitates tentativeness and fosters effective communication. The present study investigates the use of hedging devices by Indonesian researchers in the soft sciences. The dataset comprises 2,511,423 words from 400 research articles authored by Indonesian scholars. The results demonstrate that Indonesian researchers in the field of soft sciences utilised hedges at a rate of 103.77 words per 10,000 words, which is comparatively lower when contrasted with the usage of hedges observed in articles published in internationally renowned journals authored by both native and non-native English speakers. Additionally, modal auxiliary verbs were identified as the most commonly employed category of hedging devices, with the modal verb can being the predominant hedging item across all types of hedges. The findings contribute to understanding hedging practices among non-native English speakers, particularly in the Indonesian academic context. This study concludes by suggesting a potential area for improvement in academic writing among Indonesian researchers, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2249630
JournalCogent Arts and Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • academic discourse
  • corpus linguistics
  • education
  • English for academic purposes
  • hedging devices
  • Indonesia


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