AbstractThis study examines the employment of uncertainty marking in discussion sections written by three groups of writers: master’s dissertations written in English by Iranian and English graduate students of applied linguistics, and research article discussions by professional writers of applied linguistics. The focus was on the use of hedging devices and degree of conviction promoted in their claims. The results showed that for all writer groups epistemic modals had the highest frequency of use in the discussion sections followed by epistemic adverbials/adjectivals/nouns (EAAn), and verbal hedges respectively. Graduate writers (English and Iranian) mostly used modal verbs to express conviction; hence, they produced a larger proportion of modals compared to professional writers. Professional writers, however, produced more accuracy and reader-based hedges such as EAnn, evidential, and judgmental verbs. Further, they used a more unique and diverse range of hedging devices. Except for modals, Iranian graduates’ discussions were less hedged compared to those by English graduates and professional writers. Certain epistemic modals (i.e. can, could) were frequently used by this group. Particular conversational hedges were used mostly by English graduates. Pedagogical applications and implications for junior researchers about developing appropriate stance and engagement strategies in writing discussion sections will be proposed and discussed
Copyright (c) 2019 Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh
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