Edited by Agnès Celle and Laure Lansari
[Benjamins Current Topics 92] 2017
► pp. 215–244
This paper re-examines the well-established distinction between expression and description of emotion as regards surprise. First, the authors show that the expression of surprise does not involve the use of surprise lexemes, but rather mirative utterances and specific syntactic constructions (while the description of surprise involves surprise lexemes). Second, the investigation of the corpus data indicates that surprise lexemes – namely the noun surprise and the adjective surprised – differ from other emotion lexemes in that they do not systematically refer to the emotional state of an experiencer. The noun surprise can have such a state reading but can also evaluate a source seen as a salient unexpected referent. As for the adjective surprised, it may serve various argumentative strategies. These uses reflect the epistemic rather than emotional nature of surprise, which sets it apart from other emotions.
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