Hedging and Boosting in EAP Classroom Discourse

  • Eric Friginal
  • Joseph J. Lee
  • Brittany Polat
  • Audrey Roberson


A key aspect of classroom interaction is the way teachers and students use evaluative language to express doubts, opinions, and judgment to establish meaning and to negotiate interpersonal relations. Through the use of evaluative language, particularly hedges and boosters, teachers and students are able to modify their assertions and indicate their stance toward the content and interlocutors. Hedges are linguistic devices (e.g., might, seem) used to express uncertainty, doubt, and caution toward propositional content and audience (Hyland 2005). Boosters, on the other hand, are expressions (e.g., always, know) used to convey certainty, strong conviction, and full commitment (Hyland 2005). Using these interpersonal resources, class participants are able to explicitly communicate their affective position toward course content and each other, and engage in interactive dialogues in an effort to establish rapport. Although numerous studies have examined hedges and boosters in academic written discourse, far less research has focused on these interpersonal features in learner and teacher talk. In this chapter, we report on a corpus-based comparative analysis of hedges and boosters in EAP learner and teacher discourse.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Friginal
    • 1
  • Joseph J. Lee
    • 2
  • Brittany Polat
    • 3
  • Audrey Roberson
    • 4
  1. 1.Applied Linguistics and ESLGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Ohio UniversityAthensUSA
  3. 3.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Hobart and William Smith CollegesGenevaUSA

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