Word valence and its effects

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Cognitive science underwent an ‘emotional turn’ in recent years. Besides therational part of the brain, the ‘other half of the human mind’ (see Parisi 2011) isnow taken into consideration as well. Linguistics, with its strong orientation andlinks to cognitive science, cannot neglect this development and has to ask itselfin which way emotions should play a role in theories about language (cf. Foolen2012). The present paper intends to give an overview of recent research in psychologyand linguistics on emotive expressivity in language. In the first section,we will discuss the emotive-expressive function of language in relation to thedescriptive, referential function. In Section 2, we will have a look at researchon emotion-laden words (‘valence’), both in L1 and L2. Then, in Section 3, wewill shift the attention from content words to function words, to intensifiers inparticular. Section 4 takes a short look at expressive elements on other linguisticlevels (phonology, morphology, syntax), and Section 5 rounds off this paper.


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