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Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis

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Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis. / Low, G.

In: Applied Linguistics, Vol. 17, No. 1, 03.1996, p. 137.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Low, G 1996, 'Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis', Applied Linguistics, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 137.

APA

Low, G. (1996). Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis. Applied Linguistics, 17(1), 137.

Vancouver

Low G. Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis. Applied Linguistics. 1996 Mar;17(1):137.

Author

Low, G. / Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis. In: Applied Linguistics. 1996 ; Vol. 17, No. 1. pp. 137.

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@article{7128caa59cdc4851929dc7aac001b497,
title = "Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis",
abstract = "The wording of questionnaires has suddenly become a fashionable research topic again, with the claim by Gaskell, Wright, and O'Muircheartaigh (1993) that respondents do not notice-and thus do not respond to-high-degree, or 'extreme', intensifiers in the majority of survey questions. This phenomenon is labelled The Lexical Invisibility Hypothesis. One of the major roles of intensifiers and their 'inverse', attenuating devices, or hedges, is to allow the questionnaire designer to control for social and psychological connotations. If Gaskell et al. are correct, hedges, as backgrounding devices, should be even less visible than intensifiers. The present paper takes the data from a small think-aloud study conducted at the University of York in 1993 and explores how nine randomly selected first-year undergraduates react to six 'extreme' intensifiers (very, extremely, far, full, never, and consistently) and two hedges (seem and tend). The data suggest that (a) think-aloud data can within limits provide valid and linguistically rich evidence of attention to specific words, and (b) there is a need to distinguish between attending to a word and using it to formulate a response. There is evidence that most of the intensifiers are attended to by half or more of the subjects, but the hedges (apart from one example of seem), along with never and consistently, do seem to be more 'invisible'.",
keywords = "FACE SURVEY INTERVIEWS, INTERACTIONAL TROUBLES, RESPONSE-ORDER, VERBAL REPORTS, LANGUAGE",
author = "G Low",
year = "1996",
month = "3",
language = "English",
volume = "17",
pages = "137",
journal = "Applied Linguistics",
issn = "0142-6001",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "1",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Intensifiers and hedges in questionnaire items and the lexical invisibility hypothesis

AU - Low, G

PY - 1996/3

Y1 - 1996/3

N2 - The wording of questionnaires has suddenly become a fashionable research topic again, with the claim by Gaskell, Wright, and O'Muircheartaigh (1993) that respondents do not notice-and thus do not respond to-high-degree, or 'extreme', intensifiers in the majority of survey questions. This phenomenon is labelled The Lexical Invisibility Hypothesis. One of the major roles of intensifiers and their 'inverse', attenuating devices, or hedges, is to allow the questionnaire designer to control for social and psychological connotations. If Gaskell et al. are correct, hedges, as backgrounding devices, should be even less visible than intensifiers. The present paper takes the data from a small think-aloud study conducted at the University of York in 1993 and explores how nine randomly selected first-year undergraduates react to six 'extreme' intensifiers (very, extremely, far, full, never, and consistently) and two hedges (seem and tend). The data suggest that (a) think-aloud data can within limits provide valid and linguistically rich evidence of attention to specific words, and (b) there is a need to distinguish between attending to a word and using it to formulate a response. There is evidence that most of the intensifiers are attended to by half or more of the subjects, but the hedges (apart from one example of seem), along with never and consistently, do seem to be more 'invisible'.

AB - The wording of questionnaires has suddenly become a fashionable research topic again, with the claim by Gaskell, Wright, and O'Muircheartaigh (1993) that respondents do not notice-and thus do not respond to-high-degree, or 'extreme', intensifiers in the majority of survey questions. This phenomenon is labelled The Lexical Invisibility Hypothesis. One of the major roles of intensifiers and their 'inverse', attenuating devices, or hedges, is to allow the questionnaire designer to control for social and psychological connotations. If Gaskell et al. are correct, hedges, as backgrounding devices, should be even less visible than intensifiers. The present paper takes the data from a small think-aloud study conducted at the University of York in 1993 and explores how nine randomly selected first-year undergraduates react to six 'extreme' intensifiers (very, extremely, far, full, never, and consistently) and two hedges (seem and tend). The data suggest that (a) think-aloud data can within limits provide valid and linguistically rich evidence of attention to specific words, and (b) there is a need to distinguish between attending to a word and using it to formulate a response. There is evidence that most of the intensifiers are attended to by half or more of the subjects, but the hedges (apart from one example of seem), along with never and consistently, do seem to be more 'invisible'.

KW - FACE SURVEY INTERVIEWS

KW - INTERACTIONAL TROUBLES

KW - RESPONSE-ORDER

KW - VERBAL REPORTS

KW - LANGUAGE

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 137

JO - Applied Linguistics

JF - Applied Linguistics

SN - 0142-6001

IS - 1

ER -