Language, Emotion and Metapragmatics: A Theory Based on Typological Evidence

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Shanghai Normal University, China

Abstract

Humans are equipped with some universal or language-specific abilities to recognize emotions. However, because of the different emotional contents in diverse languages and the relevant cultural differences, humans with different cultural backgrounds own different metapragmatical abilities to recognize and express emotions. A hypothesis concerning emotional effects about intonation and particle is proposed, testified by typological evidence and then extended to the relevant language phenomena. The linguistic systems utilizing emotional experiences might be more in a language with high emotional contents, and the expressions concerned with emotional metapramatical operation might be more complicated. Furthermore, high emotional contents in languages and more emotional metapragmatical abilities of the speakers lead people to pay more attention to the emotional contents, and thereby tend to develop collectivistic cultures. On the other hand, variant culture display rules regulate emotional expression and understanding, revealing the very intricate interaction between language and culture.

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