Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Thesis is one of academic writings, a thesis writer sometimes gets difficulty to set arguments consisting claims. Moreover, not all of the theses writers know about hedges dealing with writing strategies. Meanwhile, hedges have important roles in thesis as an acedemic writing in order to weigh evidence and draw conclusions from data. Hedging is a multi-objective linguistic device, the learning of which can help a researcher to appropriately express his scientific claims. Hedging refers to linguistic strategies which qualify categorical commitment, expressing possibility rather than certainty. In scientific writing, hedging is central to effective argument and the rhetorical means of gaining reader acceptance of claims, allowing writer to convey their attitude to the truth of their statements and anticipate possible objections. Brown and Levinson (1988), presenting a scientific claim is a face threatening act, so even if the scientific writer is utterly certain about his claims to be presented explicitly and precisely with no anxiety for the later criticisms, some degree of uncertainty and fuzziness is often applied to leave a little space for his readers. Adrian Wallwork (2011) states modern day scientific writing had its origins in England and many stylistic rules were devised by British scientists. Adrian Wallwork (2011) explains that one ‘rule’ is that when you present subjective or unproven propositions, you should avoid sounding arrogant or 100% certain of what you state. This approach, known as ‘hedging’, also spread to other scientists in other Anglo societies. Adrian Wallwork (2011) also suggests that hedging entails anticipating possible opposition by your referees and readers by not saying things too assertively or directly.Inaddition, hedging does not mean that you should be vague. In fact, you must be precise as possible.it is simply that you express this precision in an open-minded way that encourages other authors either to agree with your hypotheses or postulate their own.

In this research, data for the use of hedging expressions in discussion sections of qualitative and quantative esearch articles are collected from 27 research articles in the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Vol.XIII, No. 1 toNo.10 published in 2015 by the MAAS.

As the first step, identifying strategic stereotypes of hedges in the selected research articles is carried out by means of Salager-Meyer’s (1997) taxonomy. Secondly, data concerning reasons for using hedges are collected through Salager-Meyer’s (1994) taxonomy. As the next step, data concerning functions are collected, using Hyland’s (1996) taxonomy. Identifying strategic stereotypes of hedge, defining reasons for using hedges and collecting data dealt with functions for each RA are tabulated and presented in the tables resceptively.

To analyze the data for strategic stereotypes of hedges, reasons for using hedges and functions of hedges, average percentage of hedges in the selected research articles of science and arts disciplines are calculated and presented in table. In data interpretation section, the data averaged out are presented in figures and discussed in terms of particular features of hedges.

Findings of this research reveal that the researchers of all selected articles from the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Vol XIII, No. 1 to 10 published in 2015 by the MAAS use all strategic stereotypes of hedges.However, there are variations in the occurrence. It is found that the researchers use T4, which is approximators of degree quantity, frequency and time, most followed by T1, hedges of modal auxiliary verbs. Martin Martin (2008) states that approximators of degree, quantity, frequency and time indicate an unwillingness to make precise and complete commitment to the proposition expressed. Moreover, approximators allow writers to express proposition less categorically and thus make them more acceptable to the readers. This strategy also minimizes the writer's commitment to the true value of the proposition although it leaves the author's face unprotected from possible criticism. It seems to the researches of all selected research articles that they may have an unwillingness to make precise and complete commitment to their findings. It also seems reasonable that they try to express their findings less categorically so that their findings may be more acceptable to the readers. In addition, it may appear somewhat reasonable that the researchers of the selected research articles make use of approximators when the exact figures concerning their respective data are unavailable or irrelevant or the state of knowledge dealt with their data does not allow them to be more precise. Hyalnd (1995) proposes three main functions of hedging. He states that First, hedges allow writers to express propositions with greater precision in areas often characterized by reformulation and reinterpretation. Hedging here is an important means of accurately stating uncertain scientific claims with appropriate caution. Hyland (1995) also suggests that scientific writing is a balance of fact and evaluation as the writer tries to present information as fully, accureately and objectively as possible. So wirters often say ‘X may cause Y’ rather than ‘X causes Y’ to specify the actual state of knowledge on the subject. Therefore, hedges here distinguish the actual from the potential or inferential and imply that a proposition is based on the writer's plausible reasoning rather than certain knowledge. In addition, readers are expected to understnad that the proposition is ture as far as can be determined. The second function of hedging concerns the writer's desire to anticipate possible negative consequences of being proved wrong. Hyland argues that we gain our academic credibility by stating the strongest calims we can for our evidence, but we also need to cover ourselves against overstating our case. Hence, hedges here help writers avoid personal responsibility for statements in order to protect their reputations and limit the damage which may result from categorical commitments. Heconcludes that the last function of hedging is that hedges contribute to the development of the writer-reader relationship, addressing the need for deference and coopertion in gaining reader ratification of claims…. In science, however, writers must consider both the reader's role in ratifying knowledge, and the need to conform to community expectations on limits of self-asurance…. Here hedges appeal to readers as intelligent colleagues, capable of deciding about the issues, and indicate that statements are provisional, pending acceptance by one's peers. So, hedging is a major factor in the negotiation of knowledge since writers mucts socially mediate their arguments, shape their evidence, observations, data and knowledge in order to be valued by their community (Hyland 1996a). Accordingly, it can be said that the researchers of all selected RAs in the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Vol XIII, No.1 to 10 published in 2015 by the MAAS can state uncertain scientific claims with appropriate caution by means of approximator of degree, quantity, frequency and time. Thus, in terms of approximator of degree, quantity, frequency and time, the ideas of the researchers of all selected RAs are in line with the proposition of Hyland. Reflecting reasons for using hedges, it can be said that they can use hedges as understatements to convey tentativeness and mitigate certainty to the true value of proposition. In addtion, the reserachers can express a lack of certainty which does not necessarily show confusion or vagueness, by using approximator of degree, quantity, frequency and time. Moreover, they can use hedges to negoticte an accurate representation of the state knowledge. It may be assumed that the researchers of all selected RAs can use hedges in accordance with Salager-Meyer’s (1994) reasons of 'minimizing the threat to face' and 'being a way of being more precise in reporting results'. Considering from the point of view of functions of hedges, the researcherscan specify the state of knowledge on the subject either by defining how statements are to be understood or by accurately asserting the wirter's assessment of the certainty of the proposition. Thus, it can be concluded that the reserarcher of all selected RAs in the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science follow 'content-motivated hedges' by Hyland (1996) in terms of the use of approximator. Besides, in terms of hedge of approximetor, the researchers' use of hedges is in line with the propositions of Hyland (1995) that hedging is an important menas of accurately stating uncertain scientific claims with appropriate caution. Moreover, scientific writing is a balance of fact and evalutaion as the writer tries to present information as fully, accurately and objectively as possible.

According to the findings, the second most commonly used hedge is modal auxiliary verb. Modal auxiliary verbs are the most straightforward and widely used means of expressing modality in English academic writing. Considering the use of model auxiliary verbs, it may be assumed that the researchers of selected research articles from the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science can tone dwon their statemnets in order to reduce the risk of opposition and minimize the 'threat to face' that lurks behind every act of communication. In addition, they can negotiate an accurate representation of the state of knowledge, using modal auxiliary verbs. Therefore,according to the theory concerning reasons for using hedges by salvager-Meyer (1994), it can be said that the researchers can use hedges to express reasons of 'minimizing the threat to face' , 'being a way of being more precise in reporting results' and 'being positive and negative strategies', in terms of modalauxiliary verbs. Reflecting funtions of heges, it has been found that by means of modal auxiliary verbs, the researchers of selected RAs can specify the state of knowledge on the subject by accurately asserting the writer's assessement of the certainty of the proposition. Thus, it can be said that the researchers of selected RAs from the Journal of Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science follow 'content-motivated hedge' by Hyland (1996), in terms of the use of model auxiliary verbs. Moreover, the less use of some of the modal auxiliary verbs can acknowledge both the reader's role in negotiating the status of claims and the need to conform to expectations of modesty and appropriate deference to colleagues' views. Hence, it can be concluded that the researchers a little follow 'reader-motivated hedges' by Hyland (1996) in terms of the use of modal auxiliary verbs. According to the findings, hedges of adjectival adverbial and nominal modal phrases are third most preference. By using adjectival, adverbial and moninal modal phrases, the researchers can mitigate certainty to the ture value of proposition and negotiate an accurate representation of the state of knowledge. Considering reasons for using hedges, it may be assumed that the reserarcher can use hedges expressing reasons of 'minimizing the threat to face' and 'being a way of being more precise in reporting results' simultaneously. From the point of view of functions, the researchers, by meas of adjectival, adverbial and nominal modal phrases, can specify the state of knowledged on the subject either by defining how statements are to be understood or by accurately asserting the writer's assessment of the certainty of the proposition. Therefore, it may be concluded that the researchers of all selected RAs in the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Vol XIII, No.1 to 10 published in 2015 by the MAAS follwo 'content-motivted hedges' by Hyland (1996) in terms of hedge of adjectival, adverbial and nominal modal phrases. Findings reveal that low frequency of lexical verb is used. Modal Lexical verbs involves mental states and discursive presentation of evidence. Some of the modal lexical verbs can avoid personal accountability for statements and other can express a lack of certainty and negotiate an accurate representation of the state ofknowledge. Therefore, reflecting reasons for using hedges, the researchers can use a few hedges expressing the reasons of 'minimizing the threat to face' and ' being a way of being more precise in reporting results' at the same time. Considering functions of hedges, it has been found that by means of modal lexical verbs, some of the researchers can avoid assuming direct personal responsibility for the claim by concealing themselves behind the syntax through the use of passives, existential subjects and others can avoid through the use of abstract rhetors. Hence, it can be concluded that the researchers of all selected RAs in the Journal of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Vol XIII, No.1 to 10 published in 2015 by the MAAS follow 'content-motivated hedges' a little, in terms of modal lexical verb. Hedges of modal lexical verbs are third most preference. It is investigated that introductory phrases, ‘If clauses’ and ‘compound hedges’ are used less frequently.Salager-Meyer (1994) and Martin Martin (2003) state that introductory phrases namely ‘as far as we know’, ‘we believe’, ‘to our knowledge’ and ‘in our view’ are recongnized as signals of authorial doubt and are treated as hedges in some studies. In addition to the introductory phrases proposed by Saleger-Meyer and Martin Martin, in this research, it is investigated that other introductory phrases such as 'according to' are used. Some of the introductory phrases can avoid personal accountability for statements and can express a lack of certainty at the same time. However, there is a little use of introductory phrases in this research. Thus, it can be said that the researchers can use hedges expressing the reasons of ‘minimizing the threat to face’ and ‘being a way of being more precise in reporting results’ a little bit. As far as functions of hedges are concerned, the facts mentioned above are the same as the features proposed for ‘content-motivted hedges’. Thus, it can also be said that the researchers of all selected RAs follow ‘content-motivated hedges’ a little bit, in terms of the use of introductory phrases. Salvager-Meyer (1994) and Martin Martin (2003) state that the effect of tentativeness is also attributed to certain if clauses and questions. Hyland (1998) asserts that if clauses or contractive makers can qualify certainly and measure the writer's doubt. Moreover, it can be observed that introductory phrases, which are recognized as signals of authorial doubt, are not used altogether.However, in this research, the writers’ tentativensess can be seen, reflecting the use ofapproximators of degree,quantity, frequency and time. And then, if the researchers of the selected research articles in JMAAS published by the MAAS intentionally useapproxmators of degree, quantity, frequency and time to express their tentativeness, it would be better to use ‘if clause’ fairly.

With respect to the reason, findings show that ‘being a way of being more precise in reporting results’ is most commonly used and the frequency is significant. Accordingly, it seems likely that the findings of all selected research articles may have a lack of certainty. Salager-Meyer and Banks (1994) claim that expressing a lack of certainty does not necessarily show confusion or vagenesses. Indeed, one could consider hedges as a way of being more precise in reporting results. It seems reasonable to assume thatthe researchers of all selected research articles in the JMAAS pblished by the MAAS try toreport their results more precisely.The second most commonly used reason is ‘minimizing the threat to face’. Thus, according to the theory presented in literature review section, it may appear somewhat speculative that the researchers of all selected research articles tone down their statements in order to reduce the risk of opposition and minimize the threat to face. Concerning ‘being positive and negative strategies’, it is explored that the researchers of all selected research articles use a few hedges. According to Brown and Levinson (2000), politeness strategies are used in order to save the hearer's face. In other words, politeness strategies are developed for the main purposes dealing with these FTAS. The researchers of all selected research articles of the JMAAS published by the MAAS use obviating structures which are included in negative politeness strategies. Negative politeness strategy is an avoidance-based strategy of self-effacement and restraint. Concrete ways to take negative politeness strategies include: being indirect, being pessimistic, minimizing the imposition, and using obviating stractures, etc. Some of the researchers indicate their findings by using negative politeness strategies of self-effacement, being indirect and minimizing the imposition. In addition, the frequency of the use of‘conforming to an established writing style’ is very low. Banks (1994) states that the function of hedges is not necessarily to avoid face-threatening acts but simply to conform to an established writing style. This established style of writing is a consequence of combination of the need and stimuli mentioned in reason 1, 2, 3. It is assumed that the researchers of all selected research articles always know why they hedge their statement in the first place.

With respect to function, content-motivated hedges are used more than reader-motivated hedges by the researchers of the selected research articles from JMAAS Vol.XIII., No. 1 to 10 published in 2015 by the MAAS. Hyland(1996) states that the content-motivated hedges serve to mitigate the relationship between propositional content and a non-linguistic mental representation of reality; they hedge the correspondence between what the writer says about the world and what the world is thought to be like. The content-motivated hedges also refer to writer’s desire to express proposition with greater precision. These hedges help writers to specify more accurately how far their results approximate to an idealized state and indicate the amount of writers’ certainty or uncertainty in a proposition. These hedges are writer-focused and aim to shield the writer from the consequences of opposition by limiting personal commitment. These hedges, thus, diminish the writer’s presence in the text rather than increase the precision of claims. Accordingly, it may be assumed that the researchers of selected research articles not only can describe the correspondence between what the writer says about the world and what the world is thought to be likebut can express proposition with greater precision. As far as communicative functions of hedging are concerned, they are evidence of the author’s consideration of the degree of precision deemed necessary in their text. In addition, it may appear somewhat speculative that the researchers of the selected research articles can indicate the amount of writers’ certainty or uncertainty in a proposition.It can be evaluated from the communicative point of view that the strategies the researchers of the selected research articles use are an indication of the author’s need to protect himself against the potential negative consequences of being proved wrong.

Hyland (1996) states that reader-oriented hedges are employed to mark claims as provisional and give room the readers to involve in a dialogue and address them as thoughtful individuals to respond and judge the true value of the proposition. In this case, considering communicative functions of hedging, this strategy seems to express the author’s wish to show deference and politeness toward the audience.