規避詞在台灣醫學言談與期刊論文中的比較

No Thumbnail Available

Date

2014

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

The study investigates how hedging phenomena are manifested in the medical specialist-to-specialist communication in Taiwan. Hedging strategies utilized in two types of genres are examined and compared. The spoken genre consists of ten peer lectures, while the written genre comprises forty research articles. I explore the questions as to what linguistic devices are used as hedges in the medical profession, what functions those hedges serve, and what are the differences in the use of hedges in terms of genres. At last, I also compare the medical spoken discourse with Chinese daily conversation and the written discourse with Chinese academic written texts. The results show that the medical professionals make use of various hedging devices to modify their commitment towards the propositions being stated. These hedging devices are classified into modal auxiliaries, lexical hedges, and non-lexical hedges. Lexical hedges include lexical verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and nouns, while non-lexical hedges contain conditionality, rhetorical questions, and addressing limitations. Hedges are observed to manifest their polypragmatic functions in the medical discourse. That is, the medical specialists utilize different hedging devices to convey different functions depending on communicative circumstances. It is not uncommon to note that one single hedge may serve various functions and an individual function may be fulfilled by different hedges. In the medical discourse, lexical hedges are found to be the most commonly used hedging devices regardless of genres, which confirm the findings of many studies in the literature. Overall, the speakers employ more modal auxiliaries, conditionality, and rhetorical questions than the writers, whereas the writers utilize more adjectives, nouns, and addressing limitations than the speakers. The discrepancies in the application of those various hedging categories show statistically significant. Among those hedging strategies, adverbs are used the most frequently in both genres, and the application between these two genres does not show any statistical significance. Modal auxiliaries are normally used to express the speakers/writers subjective attitudes or feelings towards the propositions. Hui 會 ‘will/may’ is found to occur the most in the spoken discourse, while keyi 可以 is favored in the written discourse. Sensory verbs are overwhelmingly used by the speakers, whereas quotative verbs are favored by the writers. Genre difference accounts for the difference as writers rely heavily on hearsay evidence and research findings in literature to support their arguments and speakers adhere to conversational hedges to express their attitude and feelings towards the propositions. Hedging adjectives are predominately employed to modify their following nouns with various degrees of uncertainty or inaccuracy. Approximative nouns are used the most frequently in the spoken discourse, whereas question words occupy the majority of hedging nouns in the medical writing. It is worth noting that the speakers tend to apply a greater variety of forms than the writers. In addition, the speakers mostly use disyllabic hedges, whereas the writers favor monosyllabic hedges. In the medical profession, there is always existing uncertainty and there are always layers upon layers of explanation. Therefore, uncertainty can be counted as the crucial motive for the application of hedges. Hedges enable the medical specialists to express politeness in order to avoid potential FTAs, to express tentativeness and cautiousness, to convey less than full commitment to their statements, to convey vagueness to the exact accuracy or quantity, to show solidarity with medical community, or to present modesty for their achievements. In Chen’s (2008) conversational data, question words sheme 什麼 ‘what’ is employed the most frequently among all the lexical hedges, while in medical speech, the modal auxiliary hui 會 ‘will/may’ occur the most. In Chen’s study, there is no category of hedging adjectives due to their extremely small amount; however, adjectives occupy 6.01% in medical spoken discourse. In Lo’s (2010) academic written texts, modal auxiliaries are the most frequently used hedges for all the three disciplines, while in the medical written discourse, the hedging adverb huo 或 ‘alternatively’ and jiao 較 ‘relatively’, and the auxiliary keneg 可能 ‘may’ occur the most. The adverb of indefinite degree jiao 較 ‘relatively’ is used by medical specialists to modify the degrees of qualification and quantification. The hedging adverb huo 或 ‘alternatively’ is used to present potential alternatives commonly seen in medical discourse.

Description

Keywords

Hedge, Medical discourse, face-to-face encounter, commitment, proposition, Hedge, Medical discourse, face-to-face encounter, commitment, proposition

Citation

Collections