Writing about knowing in science: aspects of hedging French scientific writing.

  • Anthony J. Liddicoat University of South Australia


This paper examines a corpus of French research articles across a number of disciplines in order to examine the ways in which writers use modal verbs pouvoir, devoir and falloir and the lexical verbs sembler, paraître, apparaître and tendre to determine elements of their meaning and how writers use these to encode knowledge claims in their texts. The study reveals that scientific writers chose middle levels of epistemic warrant to represent their knowledge claims and in so doing construct science as a field of endeavour in which interpretations are potentially falsifiable.