Relationship between Hedging and Politeness
“Hedging devices are used to indicate a lack of complete commitment to the truth of the proposition, and a desire not to express the commitment categorically (Hyland, 1996) in Taweel et al (issue I vol. 5, 2011)”
The reason why I concern to this title is because I want to know the contribution of hedging in politeness aspect. It is a fruitful case to be discussed to see their relationship, to see the function of hedging. I am sure that people always use hedging but they do not aware that they do it. Imagine our experience when we were implying our opinion in discussion situation, we always said probably, possibly, maybe in beginning of our talk. Actually those are a little example of hedging. According to Bruce in Taweel et al (2011) Hedging is a rhetorical strategy. By including a particular term, choosing a particular structure, or imposing a specific prosodic form on the utterance, the speaker signals a lack of a full commitment either to the full category membership of a term or expression in the utterance (content mitigation), or to the intended illocutionary force of the utterance (force mitigation). Maybe hedging is used to deliver our intention/utterance politely.
Problem Statement: “Is there any relationship between hedging and politeness?”
Myers (1989) in Jennifer (Second Language Studies, 19(1), fall 2000, p. 119-148) stated that hedging is a politeness strategy when it marks a claim, or any other statement, as being provisional, pending acceptance in the literature, acceptance by the community—in other words, acceptance by the readers”. Probably hedging occurs because of different argument and finally delivering a claim politely, the question is how to express our claim, and automatically we have to be politely in delivering ours. It is specified for claiming in Academic writing, such us: suggest, appear, seem to, tend to, think, hope, and propose (Dudley-Evans and John (1998. P.76). I think hedging is one way to appreciate each other without mutual-blaming and it has exactly the same in speaking context. It means there is a same way of giving a claim in writing and speaking context, how to appreciate the previous claim of writers and how to admire the interlocutor who is talking with us. It is relevant to Hyland’ in Taweel et al (2011) statement, where indicated that Hedging devices are used to indicate a lack of complete commitment to the truth of the proposition, and a desire not to express the commitment categorically.
Actually, Hedging also covers modals (Auxiliary verb) such us: may, might, can, could, will, shall, would, must, should and etc. They contain obligation, possibility, permission, volition, and prediction (Coates in Yasumasa, 2010). For example:
1. Could you allow me mam?
2. May I join this competition?
3. Would you come to my wedding?
4. You may call me.
5. I would like to invite you.
Those examples above show that politeness is emphasized when we imply a question or statement. There are many examples of hedging like; perhaps, probably, actually, maybe, and etc. They are usually used to begin our statement when we imply a claim.
From the discussion above we can conclude that hedging and politeness cannot be separated, they closely related because hedging is useful as a polite way in delivering our claim without hurting another people feeling. Hedging depends on the writer’/speaker’ ability to choose the accurate words in implying question or statement. I would like to say that hedging is also compatible to be taught for EAP & ESP students.
Dudley Tony, Evans, & St John jo Maggie. 1998. Developments in English for Specific purposes; A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. Cambridge University Press. UK
Taweel, Abeer Q., Saidat, Emad M Rafayah, Hussein A., & Saidat, Ahmad M. 2011 Hedging in Political Discourse. The Linguistics Journal. June 2011 Volume 5 Issue 1.
Wishnoff. 2000. Hedging Your Bets: L2 Learners’ Acquisition of Pragmatic Devices in Academic Writing and Computer-Mediated. Second Language Studies, 19(1), Fall 2000, pp. 119-148.
Yasumasa, S. 2010. Modal Verbs and Their Semantic Functions in Business English. Aoyama Journal of Business (Aoyama Keiei Ronshu), No.44, Vol. 3. The Society of Business Administration, School of Business, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan.