A comparative analysis of English and Korean learners’ use of hedging in writing

Hee Kyung HONG

Research output: Other contributionThesis/Dissertation


This study explores the use of hedges in academic writing by drawing on a comparison of essays written in English by native speakers and Korean learners. There are three hypotheses in this study which state that the use of hedges differ between Korean learners and native speakers, the ability to hedge resembles native speaker competence as the proficiency of Korean learners increases, and higher scoring essays use hedges with greater frequency and appropriacy than lower scoring ones. The results indicate support for the first and third hypotheses but not for the second. There was clearly a difference in the way hedges were used correctly in the essays of Koreans and native speakers, and higher quality essays exhibited more appropriate use of hedges than lower quality ones. However, there was no evidence to indicate that the use of hedges in the more proficient Korean learners compared similarly to that of native speakers. As hedging is a difficult task for many L2 learners, this study suggests that explicit instructions need to be provided in English for academic writing courses in order to equip students with the skills and resources to use hedges appropriately.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHong Kong Polytechnic University
Number of pages42
Place of PublicationHong Kong
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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