Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



We apply the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach (Goddard & Wierzbicka 2014) to the lexical-semantic analysis of English evaluational adjectives and compare the results with the picture developed in the Appraisal Framework (Martin & White 2005). The analysis is corpus-assisted, with examples mainly drawn from film and book reviews, and supported by collocational and statistical information from WordBanks Online. We propose NSM explications for 15 evaluational adjectives, arguing that they fall into five groups, each of which corresponds to a distinct semantic template. The groups can be sketched as follows: “First-person thought-plus-affect”, e.g. ; “Experiential”, e.g. ; “Experiential with bodily reaction”, e.g. ; “Lasting impact”, e.g. ; “Cognitive evaluation”, e.g. . These groupings and semantic templates are compared with the classifications in the Appraisal Framework’s system of Appreciation. In addition, we are particularly interested in sentiment analysis, the automatic identification of evaluation and subjectivity in text. We discuss the relevance of the two frameworks for sentiment analysis and other language technology applications.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aloy Mayo, María, Ramtin M. Seraj, Ana P. García Varela, Dan Fass, Fred Popowich, Anoop Sarkar & Maite Taboada
    2014 An analysis of affective words in Machine Translation. Proceedings of the Northwest Natural Language Processing Workshop. Seattle, WA. April 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Amberber, Mengistu
    (ed.) 2007The language of memory in a cross-linguistic perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/hcp.21
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.21 [Google Scholar]
  3. Andrews, Avery D.
    2006 Semantic composition for NSM, using LFG + Glue. InKeith Allan (ed.), Selected Papers from the 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society. Available online atwww.als.asn.au/proceedings/als2005.html/, Accessed02 Feb 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Barrios Rodríguez, María Auxiliadora & Cliff Goddard
    2013 ‘Degrad verbs’ in Spanish and English: Collocations, lexical functions and contrastive NSM semantic analysis. Functions of Language20(2). 219–249. 10.1075/fol.20.2.04bar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.20.2.04bar [Google Scholar]
  5. Bednarek, Monika
    2006Evaluation in media discourse: Analysis of a newspaper corpus. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 2008Emotion talk across corpora. New York, NY: Palgrave. 10.1057/9780230285712
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230285712 [Google Scholar]
  7. Calvo, Rafael A., Sidney D’Mello, Jonathan Gratch & Arvid Kappas
    2015The Oxford encyclopedia of affective computing. Oxford: OUP. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199942237.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199942237.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  8. Carretero, Marta & Maite Taboada
    2014 Graduation within the scope of Attitude in English and Spanish consumer reviews of books and movies. InGeoff Thompson & Laura Alba-Juez (eds.), Evaluation in context, 221–239. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.242.11car
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.242.11car [Google Scholar]
  9. Clough, Patricia Ticineto & Jean O’Malley Halley
    (eds.) 2007The affective turn: Theorizing the social. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 10.1215/9780822389606
    https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822389606 [Google Scholar]
  10. Coffin, Caroline & Kieran O’Halloran
    2006 The role of appraisal and corpora in detecting covert evaluation. Functions of Language13(1). 77–110. 10.1075/fol.13.1.04cof
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.13.1.04cof [Google Scholar]
  11. Davies, Mark
    2008The corpus of contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online atcorpus.byu.edu/coca
    [Google Scholar]
  12. De Smet, Hendrik https://doi.org/10.1017/S136067431100013X
  13. Durst, Ewe
    2004The Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach to meaning. Theoretical Linguistics29(3). 157–200.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Enfield, Nick & Anna Wierzbicka
    (eds.) 2002 The body in description of emotion: Cross-linguistic studies. Pragmatics & Cognition10(1/2).1–25. 10.1075/pc.10.1‑2.02enf
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.10.1-2.02enf [Google Scholar]
  15. Geeraerts, Dirk
    2010Theories of lexical semantics. Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Goddard, Cliff
    (ed.) 2008Cross-linguistic semantics. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.102
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.102 [Google Scholar]
  17. 2011Semantic analysis: A practical introduction, 2nd edn.Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. 2012 Semantic primes, semantic molecules, semantic templates: Key concepts in the NSM approach to lexical typology. Linguistics50(3). 711–743. 10.1515/ling‑2012‑0022
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2012-0022 [Google Scholar]
  19. 2014 Interjections and emotions (with special reference to “surprise” and “disgust”). Emotion Review6(1). 53–63. 10.1177/1754073913491843
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073913491843 [Google Scholar]
  20. 2015 The complex, language-specific semantics of “surprise”. Review of Cognitive Linguistics13(2). 291–313. 10.1075/rcl.13.2.02god
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.13.2.02god [Google Scholar]
  21. 2016a Semantic molecules and their role in NSM lexical definitions. Cahiers de lexicologie4. 13–36.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. 2016b Ethnopragmatic perspectives on conversational humour, with special reference to Australian English. Language & Communication55. 55–68. 10.1016/j.langcom.2016.09.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2016.09.008 [Google Scholar]
  23. Goddard, Cliff & Andrea Schalley
    2010 Semantic analysis. InNitin Indurkhaya & Fred J. Damerau (eds.), Handbook of Natural Language Processing, 2nd edn, 92–120. London: CRC Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Goddard, Cliff, Maite Taboada & Radoslava Trnavac
    2016 Semantic descriptions of 24 evaluational adjectives, for application in sentiment analysis. Computing Science Technical Report SFU-CMPT TR 2016-42-1. Simon Fraser University. Available online atarxiv.org/abs/1608.06697
  25. Goddard, Cliff & Wierzbicka, Anna
    2010 want is a linguistic and conceptual universal (response to Khanina). Studies in Language, 34(1), 108–123. 10.1075/sl.34.1.04god
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.34.1.04god [Google Scholar]
  26. Goddard, Cliff & Anna Wierzbicka
    2014Words and meanings: Lexical semantics across domains, languages, and cultures. Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. 2016 Explicating the English lexicon of “doing” and “happening”. Functions of Language23(2). 214–256. 10.1075/fol.23.2.03god
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.23.2.03god [Google Scholar]
  28. Goddard, Cliff & Zhengdao Ye
    (eds.) 2016“Happiness” and “pain” across languages and cultures. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/bct.84
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.84 [Google Scholar]
  29. Halliday, M. A. K.
    1961 Categories of the theory of grammar. Word17(3). 241–292. 10.1080/00437956.1961.11659756
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1961.11659756 [Google Scholar]
  30. 1985An introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Halliday, M. A. K. & Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen
    2014An introduction to Functional Grammar, 4th edn.London: Edward Arnold. 10.4324/9780203783771
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203783771 [Google Scholar]
  32. Hasan, Ruqaia
    1987 The grammarian’s dream: Lexis as most delicate grammar. InM. A. K. Halliday & Robin Fawcett (eds.), New developments in Systemic Linguistics: Theory and description, 184–211. London: Pinter.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Harkins, Jean & Anna Wierzbicka
    (eds.) 2001Emotions in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110880168
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110880168 [Google Scholar]
  34. Hobbs, Jerry & Andrew Gordon
    2008 The deep lexical semantics of emotions. Proceedings of the International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC). Marrakech, Morocco.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Hommerberg, Charlotte & Alexanne Don
    2015 Appraisal and the language of wine appreciation: A critical discussion of the potential of the Appraisal framework as a tool to analyse specialised genres. Functions of Language22(2). 161–191. 10.1075/fol.22.2.01hom
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.22.2.01hom [Google Scholar]
  36. Hudlicka, Eva
    2003 To feel or not to feel: The role of affect in human-computer interaction. International Journal Human-Computer Studies59. 1–32. 10.1016/S1071‑5819(03)00047‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S1071-5819(03)00047-8 [Google Scholar]
  37. Hunston, Susan
    2011Corpus approaches to evaluation. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Jespersen, Otto
    1933Essentials of English grammar. London: Taylor & Francis.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Kaplan, Nora
    2007 La construcción discursiva del evento conflictivo en las noticias por televisión. Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela PhD thesis.
  40. Keenan, Edward L. & Leonard M. Faltz
    1985Boolean semantics for natural language. Dordrecht: Reidel.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Khanina, Olesya
    2008 How universal is wanting?Studies in Language32(4). 818–865. 10.1075/sl.32.4.03kha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.32.4.03kha [Google Scholar]
  42. Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson
    1999Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western Thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Levisen, Carsten
    2012Cultural semantics and social cognition. A case study on the Danish universe of meaning. Berlin: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110294651
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110294651 [Google Scholar]
  44. Love, Kristina
    2006 APPRAISAL in online discussions of literary texts. Text and Talk26(2). 217–244. 10.1515/TEXT.2006.010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2006.010 [Google Scholar]
  45. Macken-Horarik, Mary
    2003 APPRAISAL and the special instructiveness of narrative. Text23(2). 285–312. 10.1515/text.2003.012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2003.012 [Google Scholar]
  46. Martin, J. R.
    2003Introduction: Special issue on appraisal. Text23(2). 171–181.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. 2016 Attitudinal relations: continuing the study of lexis. InLeila Barbara, Adail Sebastião Rodrigues-Júnior & Giovanna Marcella Verdessi Hoy (eds.), Estudos e Pesquisas em Linguística Sistêmico-Funcional. São Paulo: Mercado de Letras.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Martin, J. R. & Peter R. R. White
    2005The language of evaluation. New York, NY: Palgrave. 10.1057/9780230511910
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230511910 [Google Scholar]
  49. Millar, Neil & Susan Hunston
    2015 Adjectives, communities and taxonomies of evaluative meaning. Functions of Language23(3). 297–331. 10.1075/fol.22.3.01mil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.22.3.01mil [Google Scholar]
  50. Moors, Agnes, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Klaus R. Scherer & Nico H. Fridja
    2013 Appraisal theories of emotion: State of the art and future development. Emotion Review5(2) 119–124. 10.1177/1754073912468165
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073912468165 [Google Scholar]
  51. Neviarouskaya, Alena & Masaki Aono
    2013 Sentiment word relations with Affect, Judgment and Appreciation. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing4(4). 425–437. 10.1109/T‑AFFC.2013.31
    https://doi.org/10.1109/T-AFFC.2013.31 [Google Scholar]
  52. Neviarouskaya, Alena, Helmut Prendinger & Mitsuru Ishizuka
    2010 @AM: Textual Attitude Analysis Model. Proceedings of the NAACL HLT 2010 Workshop on Computational Approaches to Analysis and Generation of Emotion in Text, 80–88. Los Angeles, CA.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Ngo, Thu & Len Unsworth
    2015 Reworking the appraisal framework in ESL research: Refining attitude resources. Functional Linguistics2(1). 10.1186/s40554‑015‑0013‑x
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-015-0013-x [Google Scholar]
  54. Page, Ruth E.
    2003 An analysis of APPRAISAL in childbirth narratives with special consideration of gender and storytelling style. Text23(2). 211–237. 10.1515/text.2003.009
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2003.009 [Google Scholar]
  55. Pang, Bo & Lillian Lee
    2008 Opinion mining and sentiment analysis. Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval2(1–2). 1–135. 10.1561/1500000011
    https://doi.org/10.1561/1500000011 [Google Scholar]
  56. Peeters, Bert
    (ed.) 2006Semantic primes and universal grammar: Empirical findings from the Romance languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.81
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.81 [Google Scholar]
  57. Picard, Rosemary W.
    1997Affective computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Piwek, Paul
    2003 An annotated bibliography of affective natural language generation. Version 1.3, April 2003.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Plutchik, Robert
    1980Emotion: Theory, research, and experience: Vol. 1. Theories of emotion1. New York, NY: Academic.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Polanyi, Livia & Annie Zaenen
    2004 Contextual valence shifters. Proceedings of AAAI Spring Symposium on Exploring Attitude and Affect in Text (AAAI Technical Report SS-04-07), 106–111. Stanford, CA: AAAI Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Pustejovsky, James
    1995The generative lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Raskin, Victor & Sergei Nirenburg
    1995 Lexical semantics of adjectives: A microtheory of adjectival meaning. Memoranda in Computer and Cognitive Science MCCS-95-288. Las Cruces, N.M.: New Mexico State University. Available online atweb.ics.purdue.edu/~vraskin/adjective.pdf, Accessed26 August 2016.
  63. Riemer, Nick
    2006 Reductive paraphrase and meaning: A critique of Wierzbickian semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy29(3). 347–379. 10.1007/s10988‑006‑0001‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10988-006-0001-4 [Google Scholar]
  64. Stubbs, Michael
    2001Words and phrases: Corpus studies of lexical semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Taboada, Maite
    2008The SFU Review Corpus. Simon Fraser University, Available online atwww.sfu.ca/~mtaboada/research/SFU_Review_Corpus.html
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Taboada, Maite & Jack Grieve
    2004 Analyzing appraisal automatically. InYan Qu, James Shanahan & Janyce Wiebe (eds.), Proceedings of AAAI Spring Symposium on Exploring Attitude and Shanahan, J.G. Affect in Text (AAAI Technical Report SS-04-07), 158–161. Stanford University, CA: AAAI Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Taboada, Maite, Marta Carretero & Jennifer Hinnell
    2014 Loving and hating the movies in English, German and Spanish. Languages in Contrast14(1). 127–161. 10.1075/lic.14.1.07tab
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lic.14.1.07tab [Google Scholar]
  68. Taboada, Maite, Julian Brooke, Milan Tofiloski, Kimberly Voll & Manfred Stede
    2011 Lexicon-based methods for sentiment analysis. Computational Linguistics37(2). 267–307. 10.1162/COLI_a_00049
    https://doi.org/10.1162/COLI_a_00049 [Google Scholar]
  69. Trnavac, Radoslava & Maite Taboada
    2012 The contribution of nonveridical rhetorical relations to evaluation in discourse. Language Sciences34. 301–318. 10.1016/j.langsci.2011.10.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2011.10.005 [Google Scholar]
  70. Valitutti, Alessandro, Carlo Strapparava & Oliviero Stock
    2004 Developing affective lexical resources. Psychology Journal2(1). 61–83.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Varela, Francisco J., Evan T. Thompson & Eleanor Rosch
    1991The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/6730.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/6730.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  72. Vásquez, Camilla
    2014The discourse of online consumer reviews. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  73. White, Peter R. R.
    2016 Evaluative contents in verbal communication. InAndrea Rocci & Louis de Saussure (eds.), Verbal communication, 77–96. Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110255478‑006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110255478-006 [Google Scholar]
  74. Whitelaw, Casey, Navendu Garg & Shlomo Argamon
    2005 Using Appraisal groups for sentiment analysis. Proceedings of ACM SIGIR Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2005), 625–631. Bremen, Germany.
    [Google Scholar]
  75. Wierzbicka, Anna
    1972Semantic primitives. Frankfurt: Athenaeum.
    [Google Scholar]
  76. 1996Semantics: Primes and universals. New York, NY: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  77. 1999Emotions across languages and cultures. Cambridge: CUP. 10.1017/CBO9780511521256
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511521256 [Google Scholar]
  78. 2007 NSM semantics versus Conceptual Semantics: Goals and standards (a response to Jackendoff). Intercultural Pragmatics4(4). 521–529. 10.1515/IP.2007.026
    https://doi.org/10.1515/IP.2007.026 [Google Scholar]
  79. 2010Experience, evidence, and sense: The hidden cultural legacy of English. New York, NY: OUP. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368000.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368000.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  80. 2014 “Pain” and “suffering” in cross-linguistic perspective. International Journal of Language & Culture1(2). 149–173. 10.1075/ijolc.1.2.02wie
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijolc.1.2.02wie [Google Scholar]
  81. WordBanks Online
    WordBanks Online. Available online atwordbanks.harpercollins.co.uk
  82. Ye, Zhengdao
    2013 Comparing the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach to emotion and the GRID paradigm. InJohnny J. R. Fontaine, Klaus R. Scherer, & Cristiana Soriano (eds.), Components of emotional meaning, 339–409. Oxford: OUP. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592746.003.0028
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592746.003.0028 [Google Scholar]
  83. (ed.) 2017The Semantics of Nouns. Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error