Gender Differences in the Use of Hedges And First Person Pronouns in Research Articles of Applied Linguistics and Chemistry

Fatemeh Mirzapour


Differences in the way that males and females use language have been of interest in the study of discourse. This study is an attempt to examine whether men and women differ with respect to the use of hedges and first person pronouns in research articles of two disciplines of Applied Linguistics and Chemistry. Based on a corpus of sixty research articles, the overall  categorical distribution of hedging devices and first person pronouns were calculated in research articles. The results indicate that hedges and first person plural pronouns are used in Applied Linguistics articles more frequently than Chemistry articles. Moreover, females use hedges more than males in both disciplines but males use first person plural pronoun more than females in both disciplines. These findings may have some implications for the teaching of academic writing to EFL students.              



Gender, Hedges, Person Pronoun, Research Articles

Full Text:



Bloor, M. and Bloor, T. (2007). The practice of discourse analysis: an introduction. London: Hodder Arnold.

Cameron, D. (1998). Is there any ketchup, Vera? : Gender, power, and pragmatics. Discourse and Society, 9, 437-55.

Cameron, D. (2005). Language, gender, and sexuality: Current issues and new directions. Applied Linguistics, 26, 482-502.

Cao, Z. (2007). The effect of age and gender on the choice of address forms in Chinese personal letters. Journal of Sociolinguistics: 11, 392-407.

Climate, C. (1997). Men and women talking: The differential use of speech and language by gender. Retrieved December 14, 2006, from http://www. Google…/differential language.html+use+men+women+differentces&hl=e.

Farrokhi, F. & Emami, S. ( 2008 ). Hedges and boosters in academic writing : native vs. non- native research articles in applied linguistics and engineering. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 62-98.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1985). An introduction to functional grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Herring, S. C. & Paoolillo, J. C. (2006). Language and gender. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Holmes, J. (1988 ). Doubt and certainty in ESL textbooks. Applied Linguistics, 9(1),20-44.

Holmes, J. (1990). Hedges and boosters in women's and men's speech. Language and Communication, 10, 185-205.

Holmes, J. (1993). An introduction to sociolinguistics. London, UK: Longman.

Hyland, K. (1998 ). Boosting, hedging and the negotiation of academic knowledge. TEXT,18(3), 349-382.

Hyland, K. (2001). Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 20, 207-226.

Hyland, K. (2002). Authority and invisibility: authorial identity in academic writing. Journal of Pragmatics, 34, 1091-1112.

Khalilzadeh, A. (2008). Hedging in scientific and humanistic texts. Unpublished master’s thesis. University of Tabriz, Iran.

Lakoff, G. (1975). Language and woman’s place. New York: Harper Colophon Books.

Mehl, M. R., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2003). The sounds of social life: A psychometric analysis of students’ daily social environments and natural conversation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 857-870.

Millan, E. L. (2010). Extending this claim, we propose: The writer’s presence in research articles from different disciplines. Lberica, 20, 35-56.

Mulac, A. & Lundell, T. L. (1994). Effects of gender-linked language differences in adults’written discourse: Multivariate tests of language effects. Language and Communication,14, 299-309.

Paltridge, B. (2006). Discourse analysis: An introduction. London: Continuum.

Salager- Meyer, F. (1994). Hedges and textual communicative function in medical English written discourse. English for Specific Purposes, 13 (2), 149-170.

Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D., Hamilton, E. H., (eds.). (2001). The handbook of discourse analysis.USA, UK, Australia: Blackwell.

Trudgill, P. (1974). The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Varttala, T. (2001). Hedging in scientifically oriented discourse: Exploring variation according to discipline and intended audience. Electronic doctoral dissertation. Acta Electronica Universitatis tamperensis 138 ( ).

Vold, E.T. (2006). Epistemic modality markers in research articles: a cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary study. International Journal of Applied Linguistics,17, 61-87.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.