Cognitive science underwent an ‘emotional turn’ in recent years. Besides the
rational part of the brain, the ‘other half of the human mind’ (see Parisi 2011) is
now taken into consideration as well. Linguistics, with its strong orientation and
links to cognitive science, cannot neglect this development and has to ask itself
in which way emotions should play a role in theories about language (cf. Foolen
2012). The present paper intends to give an overview of recent research in psychology
and linguistics on emotive expressivity in language. In the first section,
we will discuss the emotive-expressive function of language in relation to the
descriptive, referential function. In Section 2, we will have a look at research
on emotion-laden words (‘valence’), both in L1 and L2. Then, in Section 3, we
will shift the attention from content words to function words, to intensifiers in
particular. Section 4 takes a short look at expressive elements on other linguistic
levels (phonology, morphology, syntax), and Section 5 rounds off this paper.
2008 “Grounded cognition.” Annual Review of Psychology 59: 617–645.
Baumeister, Roy F., Bratslavsky, Ellen, Finkenauer, Catrin and Vohs, Kathleen D
2001 “Bad is stronger than good.” Review of General Psychology 5 (4): 323–370.
Berkum, Jos van
2011Zonder Gevoel Geen Taal [‘Without emotion no language’]. Inaugural lecture, Utrecht University.
1993 “Language acquisition and the power of expression.” In Language and Communication: Comparative Perspectives, Herbert L. Roitblat, Louis M. Herman and Paul E. Nachtigall (eds), 95–113. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Boucher, Jerry and Osgood, Charles E
1969 “The Pollyanna hypothesis.” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 8: 1–8.
Bradley, Margaret M. and Lang, Peter J
2010Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW): Stimuli, Instruction Manual and Affective Ratings. Technical Report C-2, Gainesville, FL: The Center for Research in Psychophysiology, University of Florida.
2006 “Language, embodiment and the cognitive niche.” Trends in Cognitive Science 10 (8): 370–374.
Colbeck, Katie L. and Bowers, Jeffrey S
2012 “Blinded by taboo words in L1 but not L2.” Emotion 12 (2): 217–222.
2012Emotioneel Geladen Woorden in de Nederlandse Taal: De Ontwikkeling van een Woordenlijst. [‘Emotionally laden words in the Dutch language: The development of a word list’]. Bachelor thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Degner, Juliane, Doycheva, Cveta and Wentura, Dirk
2012 “It matters how much you talk: On the automaticity of affective connotations of first and second language words.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 15 (10): 181–189.
Ferré, Pilar, Sánchez-Casas, Rosa and Fraga, Isabel
2012 “Memory for emotional words in the first and the second language: Effects of the encoding task.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 16 (3): 495–507.
1993De Betekenis van Partikels [The meaning of particles]. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen.
2004 “Expressive binominal NPs in Germanic and Romance languages.” In Studies in Linguistic Motivation, Günter Radden and Klaus-Uwe Panther (eds), 75–100. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
2013 “Gruwelijk interessant. Emotieve intensiveerders in het Nederlands.” [Horribly interesting. Emotive intensifiers in Dutch]. Unpublished paper.
2011The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes. PhD Thesis, Oxford University.
Gabryś-Baker, Danuta and Bielska, Joanna
(eds)2013The Affective Dimension in Second Language Acquisition. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Garcia, David, Garas, Antonios and Schweitzer, Frank
2012 “Positive words carry less information than negative words.” EPJ Data Science 1 (3): 1–12.
(ed.)2009The Role of Prosody in Affective Speech. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.
Harris, Catherine L., Ayçiçegi, Ayşe and Gleason, Jean Berko
2003 “Taboo words and reprimands elicit greater autonomic reactivity in a first than in a second language.” Applied Linguistics 24: 561–579.
Harris, Catherine L., Gleason, Jean Berko and Ayçiçegi, Ayşe
2006“When is a first language more emotional? Psychophysiological evidence from bilingual speakers. In Bilingual Minds. Emotional Experience, Expression and Representation, Aneta Pavlenko (ed.), 257–283. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
2012 “Grist and mills: On the cultural origins of cultural learning.” Philolosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367: 2181–2191.
Jay, Timothy, Caldwell-Harris, Catherine and King, Krista
2008 “Recalling taboo and nontaboo words.” American Journal of Psychology 121 (1): 83–103.
2007 “Negativity bias in language: A cognitive-affective model of emotive intensifiers.” Cognitive Linguistics 18 (3): 417–443.
Jablonka, Eva, Ginsburg, Simona and Dor, Daniel
2012 “The co-evolution of language and emotions.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367: 2152–2159.
Kanske, Philipp and Kotz, Sonja A
2010 “Leipzig Affective Norms for German: A reliability study.” Behavior Research Methods 42 (4): 987–991.
2011Langage et Émotion. Une Comparaison Entre la Valeur Affective des Locuteurs Natifs et non Natifs. MA thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Koo, Hyun Jung and Rhee, Seongha
2013 “On an emerging paradigm of sentence-final particles of discontent: A grammaticalization perspective.” Language Sciences 37: 70–89.
Kousta, Stavroula-Thaleia, Vinson, David P. and Vigliocco, Gabriella
2009 “Emotion words, regardless of polarity, have a processing advantage over neutral words.” Cognition 112: 473–481.
Kuppens, Peter, Tuerlinckx, Francis, Russell, James A. and Feldman Barrett, Lisa
2013 “The relation between valence and arousal in subjective experience.” Psychological Bulletin 139 (4): 917–940.
2014 “How can emotions be both cognitive and bodily?” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (4): 513–531.
2012 “Current emotion research in the language sciences.” Emotion Review 4 (4): 432–443.
Meteyard, Lotte, Rodriguez Cuadrado, Sara, Bahrami, Bahador and Vigliocco, Gabriella
2012 “Coming of age: A review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics.” Cortex 48: 788–804.
Mischler, James J
2008 “Expressive phonology as evaluative comment in personal oral narrative: The play frame and language learning.” System 36: 241–252.
Moors, Agnes, de Houwer, Jan, Hermans, Dirk, Wanmaker, Sabine, van Schie, Kevin, van Harmelen, Anne-Laura, de Schryver, Maarten, de Winne, Jeffrey and Brysbaert, Marc
2013 “Norms of valence, arousal, dominance, and age of acquisition for 4300 Dutch words.” Behavior Research Methods 45: 169–177.
Myers-Schulz, Blake, Pujara, Maia, Wolf, Richard C. and Koenigs, Michael
2013 “Inherent emotional quality of human speech sounds.” Cognition and Emotion 27 (6): 1105–1113.
2010Enhanced Detection Sensitivity to Negative Emotional Valence: The Role of Awareness, Attention, Anxiety and Reward. PhD Thesis, University College London.
Osgood, Charles E., Suci, George J. and Tannenbaum, Percy H
1957The Measurement of Meaning. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
2011 “The other half of the embodied mind.” Frontiers in Psychology 2: 1–8.
2005Emotions and Multilingualism. London: Cambridge University Press.
2008 “Emotion and emotion-laden words in the bilingual lexicon.” Multilingualism: Language and Cognition 11 (2): 147–164.
2012 “Affective processing in bilingual speakers: Disembodied cognition?” International Journal of Psychology 47 (6): 405–428.
Potts, Christopher and Schwarz, Florian
2010 “Affective ‘this’.” Linguistic Issues in Language Technology 3 (5): 1–29.
2013De Emotionele Waarde van Woorden. Een Vergelijking Tussen Moedertaalsprekers van het Nederlands en Duitse Leerders van het Nederlands. [The emotional value of words. A comparison between native speakers of Dutch and German learners of Dutch]. BA Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Rozin, Paul, Berman, Loren and Royzman, Edward
2010 “Biases in use of positive and negative words across twenty natural languages.” Cognition and Emotion 24 (3): 536–548.
1965/1931Meaning and Change of Meaning. With Special Reference to the English Language. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Tomasello, Michael and Vaish, Amrisha
2013 “Origins of human cooperation and morality.” Annual Review of Psychology 64: 231–255.
Warriner, Amy Beth, Kuperman, Victor and Brysbaert, Marc
2013 “Norms of valence, arousal, and dominance for 13,915 English lemmas.” Behavior Research Methods 45 (4): 1191–1207.
Witherell, Devon, Wurm, Lee H., Seaman, Sean R., Brugnone, Nikki A. and Fulford, Evan T
2012 “How reading in a second language protects your heart.” The Journal of Neuroscience 32 (19): 6485–6489.
Cited by 5 other publications
Chen, Chen, Hao Yuan & Mike Z. Yao
2021. Identifiability as an “Antidote”: Exploring Emotional Contagion and the Role of Anonymity in Twitter Discussions on Misinformation. In Social Computing and Social Media: Experience Design and Social Network Analysis [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 12774], ► pp. 240 ff.
2019. Linguistische Perspektiven auf Emotion und Sprache. In Emotionen, ► pp. 262 ff.
Lafreniere, Katherine C., Sarah G. Moore & Robert J. Fisher
2022. The Power of Profanity: The Meaning and Impact of Swear Words in Word of Mouth. Journal of Marketing Research 59:5 ► pp. 908 ff.
Pérez-García, Elisa & María Jesús Sánchez
2020. Emotions as a linguistic category: perception and expression of emotions by Spanish EFL students. Language, Culture and Curriculum 33:3 ► pp. 274 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 13 may 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.