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ERIC Number: ED559331
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
Assessing Learning Control of English Hedges among Tertiary Cantonese-Speaking EFL Students
Siu, Fiona Kwai-peng
Online Submission, European Journal of Business and Social Sciences v3 n8 p104-120 Nov 2014
This project was designed to try to investigate the difficulties EFL learners would have in learning to use hedging as a rhetorical device in academic writing. The participants were 136 native Cantonese-speaking EFL students who enrolled in the one-year course "English for Academic Purposes" offered by a language centre at a university in Hong Kong. Specifically, this paper aimed: 1) to examine whether there was a significant increase in the number of hedges used in the discussion essays written by students at the beginning of a one-year EAP course (the control group) and at mid-course (the experimental group), and 2) to determine whether, in a specific context, the subjects' use of hedges was appropriate. The measurements for the first purpose included a ranking of hedges. Such a ranking, admittedly being arbitrary, was modified from Halliday's (1994) ranking of modal verbs. The measurements for the second purpose entailed frequency counts of hedging errors. It was found that there were not significant differences across the two groups in the types of hedges and in the total number of hedging errors, although a significantly greater degree of hedging was found in the essays written by the experimental group. Both groups of subjects mainly used may to mitigate tone; they also used will copiously, seemingly unaware of the absolute certainty this modal denotes. On the contrary, the use of nouns to show possibility was relatively rare. The excessive use of the simple present tense and the use of "will" constituted the common types of hedging errors. The conditional use of would and the use of could to provide options appeared to confuse most students. [This article was published in "European Journal of Business and Social Sciences" v3 n8 p104-120 Nov 2014.]
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong