Hedging arguments

Erin Zaroukian, Lyn Tieu


Hedges such as loosely speaking and sorta indicate a mismatch between what is said and what is actually meant. As demonstrated by the example in (1), sorta is often used when a speaker doesn't know a more appropriate word or phrase at the time of utterance.

(1) I was running on concrete and accidentally sorta kicked the ground – that is to say, I didn't really kick the ground, but it was like kicking the ground. (Anderson 2014:02, ex.2)

In this study, we investigated the readings that arise from sorta-hedging. We present results indicating the possibility of hedging objects, verbs, and whole sentences, and we show that verb type, definiteness of the object, and stress on sorta all influence the availability of an object hedge reading.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.3016