Publication details [#385]

Ríos, Carmen. 1997. Hedges and all that: is vagueness translatable? Babel 43 (1) : 1–13.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Journal DOI


This is a study of a set of various linguistic items, from discourse particles to whole clauses, which perform the pragmatic function of compromising. A revision of the literature on English hedges precedes what appear to be their semantic and pragmatic equivalents in Spanish, as illustrated by their distribution in the translation into Spanish of Julian Barnes’ novel, Talking It Over (Hablando del Asunto), and the English and Spanish editions of the Mediterranean Magazine, which are the reference points for the whole discussion. The formal divergences in the translation of hedges reflected in Hablando del Asunto converge upon the difficulty of rendering compromising attitudes, on the part of the speaker, by linguistic means that differ in the two languages. Whilst there is usually formal equivalence between English and Spanish, the difficulties seem to be that Spanish possesses a wider range of semantically equivalent verbs, whereas English resorts mainly to modal expressions and de-tensifying adverbs.
Source : Based on abstract in journal