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Expression of Emotions in Language

Elite AsiaLinguisticsExpression of Emotions in Language
18 June 2020 Posted by eliteasia Linguistics No Comments

Have you ever said something out of spite and come to regret it afterwards? As much as language is able to impact emotions, emotions are also able to impact the language we use. The expression of emotions in a language is usually based on our own set of circumstances. (i.e. if you had a fight with someone, you may tend to start using profanities.)

In terms of real-world context, Korea has a term to describe the state of feeling sad and hopeful at the same time whereas Finland, Denmark and Norway have their own terms for the specific kind of cosiness that comes from being warm on a cold day, surrounded by loved ones. These few examples show how our feelings are shaped by the world around us.

When talking about the expression of emotions in a language, emotive language comes to mind. What exactly is emotive language and what are the benefits and risks of using them?


Emotive Language


What is Emotive Language?

Emotive language pertains to word choice. Speakers or writers use specific words to evoke emotion in a reader. The main purpose of emotive language is to cause an effect on the audience (to empower them to do something; example using sympathetic words to motivate the audience to help the needy).

However, with power comes great responsibility. What is important to note is that emotive language must not be overused. Since emotive language is so powerful, we need to be careful not to use them too much especially when it comes to news articles or any factual articles.


Benefits of Using Emotive Language


  • It creates emotional connections between the writer and the readers when insights are gained from the writing style of the author
  • Used in order to sympathise with the mind-set and background of the people that are part of the story
  • Readers would be able to relate better when there is a use of emotive language


Risks of Using Emotive Language


  • Especially when using dangerous words like ‘disaster’, ‘scandal’, ‘terror’; these words can capture attention but it often causes more drama than necessary
  • It could cause overreaction within audiences
  • If not used properly, it could cause ambiguity which confuses the audience and thus they may not give proper responses towards the message the speaker/writer wants to convey


Real-world context

An example of a real-world context would be the difference between languages of the Pacific Islands and the languages of south-east Asia. Among the languages of the Pacific Islands, the word “surprise” is linked to “fear” whereas, among the languages of south-east Asia, the word “surprise” is linked to “hope” and “wanting”. 

Applying this context to today’s world where the virus Covid-19 strikes, a newspaper with a headline that contains “surprise” will have different reactions from people living in the Pacific Islands and south-east Asia. People living in the Pacific Islands would probably panic upon seeing the headlines, thinking that the virus has gotten worse whereas people living in south-east Asia would be filled with anticipation and think that there is hope for the virus.


What Elite Asia Can Do

Since Elite Asia provides communication services such as written translation, transcription and interpretation in several major Asian languages, we will be able to resolve culture and language differences so that misunderstandings will not occur and people from different parts of the world will be on the same page. This will also help to ensure that the original meaning is not lost through translation.


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