“I guess anyone would do that wouldn’t they?”
How do native speakers of Norwegian and English hedge in informal conversations?
Hedging is a complex phenomenon with an indefinite number of potential realisations. The complexity and versatility of hedging strategies make them particularly interesting to study across languages. This contrastive study compares the realisations of the pragmatic function of hedging in everyday Norwegian and English conversations using data from four corpora of Norwegian and English informal spoken conversations (the Norwegian Speech Corpus, the Nordic Dialect Corpus, the BigBrother corpus, and the BNC2014). The results show that speakers of both languages mainly use pragmatic particles, adverbs, and first-/second-person pronouns + cognitive verbs [1/2 pers. + Cog. V] to express hedging. Furthermore, English speakers use significantly more [1/2 pers. + Cog. V] and modal verbs than Norwegian speakers, who use significantly more adjectives, prepositional phrases and clauses to hedge their utterances.
Keywords: hedging, spoken conversations, corpus pragmatics, English/Norwegian
Published online: 27 October 2020
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BigBrother-korpuset. Tekstlaboratoriet, ILN, Universitetet i Oslo
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Norsk talespråkskorpus – Oslodelen. Tekstlaboratoriet, ILN, Universitetet i Oslo
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