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Volume 14 Number 3, Autumn 2017, Pages 380-586 PDF Download

Hedging Strategies in Health Discourse: A Study of Pharmaceutical Leaflets

    Esther Serwaah Afreh, Osei Yaw Akoto & Kodwo Adam-Moses

Hedging, as a rhetorical tool, has received considerable attention from scholars from diverse fields of study such as advertisement, politics, and religion. Despite the extensive exploration of the topic, it has not received much attention in health communication. Thus, this study, which employs Quirk, Greeenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik's (1985) functional principle for establishing word class and Hyland's (1998) model as frameworks, investigated the various linguistic realizations and functions of hedges in pharmaceutical leaflets (PL), which are also called Patient Information Leaflets. The study, which is based on 50 PLs obtained from some leading pharmaceutical shops within the Cape Coast metropolis and other areas, adopted both qualitative and quantitative content analysis. It was found that pharmaceutical companies employed certain lexico-grammatical hedging devices to mitigate their claims. The study has implications for both patient-pharmacist communication and hedging theories.

Keywords: patient pharmaceutical leaflets, hedges, health, rhetoric