Gender differences : use of hedges and boosts for persuasion in commencement speeches

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Gender differences : use of hedges and boosts for persuasion in commencement speeches

 

Author: Wang, Yihua
Title: Gender differences : use of hedges and boosts for persuasion in commencement speeches
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2015
Subject: Language and languages -- Sex differences.
Speeches, addresses, etc.
English language -- Discourse analysis
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: v, 52 pages : illustrations (some color)
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2823730
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8095
Abstract: This MA project investigates whether or not male and female speakers are different in the use of hedges and boosters to enhance credibility (ethos) in commencement speeches. It is a corpus-based study, which examines the persuasive function of hedges and boosters on lexical level. The corpus includes 40 commencement speeches (20 for each gender). Both quantitative and qualitative analysis have been conducted to explore the characteristic patterns of hedges and boosters as well as their contributions to the establishment of personal ethos. Results are compared to decide whether those characteristics are gender-specific. Findings reveal that modal verbs account for the largest proportion of hedging resources, while adverbs of frequency (e.g. always, never) are the most often used boosting device. The balance of hedges and boosters apprise audience of various certainties and demonstrate personal ethos of sincerity, confidence and trustworthiness. Meanwhile, it can be observed that male and female speeches share quantitative similarities, but they are different in persuasive styles and messages conveyed. Women{174}s use of hedges and boosters reflects a more affinitive and interpersonal communicative style, and they are more likely to convince the audience to be true to themselves and cherish special others.

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