The concepts of 'hedge' and 'hedging' found their way from logic and semantics into the study of texts in the 1960s and have since been developed further within language pragmatics. These concepts seem to offer a way to fill an important gap in the study of discourse and text. In spite of that the concepts themselves still continue to be unclear and their use by linguists is far from uniform. This problem is apparent also in this volume: its aim is not to provide a systematic and unified introduction into this relatively new area of research. On the contrary, the volume presents several different views and approaches to 'hedge' and 'hedging', in order to give the reader an impression of the scope of theses concepts. It is very clear that no general agreement can be reached at the present stage of research in the area. However, the expanding use of these concepts requires an interim balance, at least in the form of an anthology, while waiting for a more conclusive treatment of the topic.
The present volume is a collection of articles by authors who represent different languages and cultures as well as different perspectives to the topic. Most of the articles were written between 1991 and 1993 and reflect therefore the then prevailing state of discussion. As editors, we would like to thank the writers for their patience and cooperation. Because of various obstacles, the printing of the volume had to be postponed several times, and as a result some newer publications could not be taken into consideration. Therefore only the annotated bibliography includes publications up to 1995.
We wish to thank Nancy Nyman, Jerry Schuchalter and Jessamyn Jackson for their native-speaker help in the editing of the articles. We also thank Stefan Krempl, Dagmar Zimmer, Elona Sagert and Angelika Hennecke for their invaluable assistance in the editorial work. Finally, our gratitude also goes to J.S. Petöfi for including this volume in the series Research in Text Theory.
R.M. and H.S.