ELT Students’ Gender Differences in the Use of Hedges in Interpersonal Interactions: A Mixed Method Approach Applied

Masoumeh Dousti, Abbass Eslami Rasekh


This study was an attempt to examine the presence of possible differences in the linguistic behavior of male and female ELT major students with respect to the utilization of hedging devices in their interpersonal interactions. To do so, three discussion sessions in a single-gendered context were separately recorded for male and female participants. Frequency counts and chi-square were used to analyze the obtained data. The findings of the study showed females’ more tendency to employ hedging devices. Moreover, a focus group interview was held. The identified themes revealed different functions of hedging devices for female participants including their desire to welcome others’ opinions, to be friendly, and to build good rapport with their interlocutors. However, the participants firmly rejected their lower social status as the reason for their more use of hedges. The findings of this study may pave the way to better understand the world of communication.


hedges, gender differences, interpersonal interaction, linguistic behavior, academic context

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