ERIC Number: ED335928
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Qualifiers in Patient-Physician Discourse: An Analysis of Interviews from Radio Call-In Programs.
Pappas, Jennifer Stevens
A study investigated the use of qualifiers, words and phrases used to indicate the level of approximation of propositional content or of speaker commitment to the proposition, in an atypical form of medical interview: conversations between physicians and patients on a radio talk show. Qualifiers used were classified as hedges (suggesting approximation or uncertainty regarding the core assertion) or intensifiers (emphasizing the typicality or severity of attributes or indicating speaker confidence in an assertion). Analysis of 14 caller-patient conversations indicated that: (1) physicians used qualifiers more than callers; (2) physicians used hedges more often than callers; (3) callers and physicians used hedges more often than intensifiers; (4) there were more qualifiers that conveyed different levels of uncertainty; (5) physicians used markers of uncertainty more often than callers; and (6) physicians used multiple qualifiers more often than callers. Physician use of multiple hedges, resulting in assertions that were both irrefutable and uninformative, was surprising. Intensified assertions were confined to truisms or extreme hypothetical cases, also uninformative. A 16-item bibliography is included. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Qualifiers (Language)
Note: In Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, Volume 5, Number 2; see FL 019 412.