'We expect to report on significant progress in our product pipeline in the coming year': Hedging forward-looking statements in corporate press releases

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    Abstract

    This article reports on the findings of a study of so-called 'forward-looking statements' in a corpus of corporate press releases, focusing in particular on the mechanisms of hedging involved. Forward-looking statements are an important characteristic of corporate press releases in which companies make predictions about the future in an attempt to demonstrate to stakeholders that the company is making progress and that its prospects are good. Such statements are explicitly mentioned in a disclaimer which often accompanies corporate press releases and are noted to involve risks and uncertainties. This article aims to identify those lexicogrammatical forms which are typically used in forward-looking statements in press releases, including those used for the purpose of hedging, and also to try to identify the function(s) of hedging in the selected data. The data analysis points to a range of forms which function as hedges in the data. These are discussed and exemplified and, drawing on Hyland's (1998a) model in particular, an attempt is made to consider what function(s) the hedges serve. Copyright © 2008 SAGE Publications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)635-654
    Number of pages20
    JournalDiscourse Studies
    Volume10
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

    Keywords

    • Disclaimers
    • Forward-looking statements
    • Hedging
    • Predictions
    • Press releases

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