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Proceedings of ISFC 35:

Voices Around the World


Volume 2

Edited by
Canzhong Wu
Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen
Maria Herke

Proceedings of ISFC 35:


Voices Around the World
Volume 2

Edited by

Canzhong Wu
Christian M.I.M Matthiessen
Maria Herke

Published by
The 35 ISFC Organizing Committee
th

Sydney 2010

Editors
Canzhong Wu, Christian Matthiessen and Maria Herke
2008-2010 35th ISFC Organizing Committee, Editors and Authors

Published by the 35th Organizing Committee, Sydney


Printed by Macquarie Lighthouse Press, Sydney
ISBN 978-0-9805447-0-1

Table of Contents
Forward................................................................................................................................................................... i!
Table of Contents .................................................................................................................................................. v!
Author Index......................................................................................................................................................... vi!
.mysterious butterflies of the soul? One linguistic perspective on the efficacy of meaning in the
mind-brain system!
David Butt ...................................................................................................................................................... 1!
Voices from little languages in Thailand and systemic functional linguistics contributions to minority
language studies!
Pattama Jor Patpong..................................................................................................................................... 24!
Emotion talk and emotional talk: approaches to language and emotion in Systemic Functional Linguistics
and beyond!
Monika Bednarek......................................................................................................................................... 39!
Assessing the concerns of the client: an analysis of an extract from a Reasons for Decision document!
Wendy L. Bowcher ...................................................................................................................................... 46!
A methodological approach for analysing and interpreting ideology!
Alice Caffarel and Elizabeth Rechniewski .................................................................................................. 52!
Quantitative insights into the construal of identity and experience in the Emergency Department: a
corpus-based SFL research:!
Maria A. Herke, Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen and Diana Slade............................................................... 58!
SFL studies in the Chinese context!
Guowen Huang* and Hongyang Wang** ................................................................................................... 64!
The narrative worlds of Thomas Pynchon - ideational meaning and postmodern fiction!
Rosemary Huisman ...................................................................................................................................... 69!
A systemic approach to analysing the design of online newspaper home pages!
John S. Knox ................................................................................................................................................ 75!
The most important lesson I have learned as a teacher is the experiential in reflective teaching
journals!
Li-Fen Lin .................................................................................................................................................... 81!
Translating modernist preoccupations!
Annabelle Lukin........................................................................................................................................... 86!
A lexicogrammatical analysis of selected samples from a Thai tourist leaflet corpus!
Pattama Jor Patpong..................................................................................................................................... 92!
Saddams hanging and Benazirs assassination: voices from the Indian and the British print media!
Sukhdev Singh ............................................................................................................................................. 98!
Evaluating narrative as a bridge to learning in a hypermedia artedventure for children!
Emilia Djonov and Maree Stenglin............................................................................................................ 103!

Emotion talk and emotional talk: approaches to language and


emotion in Systemic Functional Linguistics and beyond
Monika Bednarek
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
University of Technology, Sydney
PO Box 123 Broadway
NSW 2007 Australia

1 Research on Language and Emotion in SFL


We can summarize research on language and the interpersonal (including emotion) within
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) with respect to many of its important
complementarities. For example, concerning structure, we can locate interpersonal meanings
at clause rank (e.g. expressing blame: You forgot), at group/phrase rank (an enormous
burden), at word rank (enormous, burden) or at morpheme rank (matey, auntie as affective).
We can also theorize it in relation to kinds of structure: for instance, different types of
prosodic structure relating to the interpersonal have been identified by Martin & White
(2005: 17-23). With respect to delicacy, interpersonal meanings can be found in grammar
(e.g. negation) and lexis (e.g. attitudinal words). Finally, research on the interpersonal can
focus on any of the strata: phonology/phonetics (e.g. KEY, Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 142143), lexicogrammar (e.g. MODAL ASSESSMENT, Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 608-612),
discourse semantics (e.g. APPRAISAL, Martin & White 2005) and register (e.g AFFECT,
Poynton 1985). A useful overview of interpersonal semantics in relation to the other strata is
presented in Martin & White (2005: 35). The interpersonal has also been looked at in SFL
with respect to Instantiation and Individuation (Martin 2007, 2008) and mode (see e.g. Hood
forthcoming, and Martinec 2001 on gesture and facial expression, Kress & van Leeuwen
2006 on image). The discussion in this paper will focus on APPRAISAL (especially the subsystem of AFFECT), as it seems to be the approach that is most used in SFL at present. For an
in-depth overview of APPRAISAL see Martin & White (2005); for a more recent modification
of the AFFECT sub-system of APPRAISAL see Bednarek (2008).
1.1 APPRAISAL Some Key Relevant Principles
While it is beyond the scope of this paper to give an extensive outline of APPRAISAL, a few
key principles will be outlined as they are relevant to the discussion.
A main distinction made in APPRAISAL theory is between ATTITUDE (positive/negative
feelings and evaluations), ENGAGEMENT (sourcing, juxtaposition of different voices and
alternatives) and GRADUATION (grading, up-scaling or down-scaling). Within ATTITUDE, a
further distinction is made between APPRECIATION (evaluating things, often aesthetically)
JUDGEMENT (evaluating people and their behaviour, often morally/ethically) and AFFECT
(references to emotional responses). Martin & White suggest that there are distinguishing
grammatical frames for these three sub-systems of ATTITUDE, but see Bednarek (forthcoming
a) for an exploration of patterns and ATTITUDE and Bednarek (forthcoming b) for a
topological perspective.
Looking more closely at AFFECT, Martin & Rose (2003) list three different ways of
making reference to emotions: 1) writers employ emotion labels (fear), 2) they use
expressions describing behaviour that also directly expresses emotion (Martin & Rose
2003: 26) (shrieks) or 3) they mention unusual behaviour which we read as an indirect sign
of emotion (Martin & Rose 2003: 27) (be very quiet). The last represents what Martin (2002)

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has called behaviour which indexes emotion (Martin 2002: 203), and the reader needs to
spend some cognitive effort in retrieving the emotion (Martin & Rose 2003: 27).1 There is
also a difference between authorial AFFECT, where the person experiencing the emotion (the
Emoter) is the speaker and non-authorial AFFECT where Emoters are people other than the
speaker (White 1998).
A further distinction that is relevant to the discussion in this paper is the difference that is
made between inscribing and evoking (sometimes also called invoking) ATTITUDE (Martin &
White 2005). This distinction is currently still being elaborated on in APPRAISAL research
(e.g. Hood & Martin 2007). According to Hood & Martin (2007), inscribed APPRAISAL refers
to lexis that is explicitly evaluative, whereas evoked APPRAISAL covers a range of more
indirect options for evaluation: provoked, flagged and afforded APPRAISAL. They elaborate:
The term [provoke] refers to implicit ATTITUDE which is evoked through lexical
metaphors. Choosing [flag] means that we deploy some kind of GRADUATION to alert
readers to the feelings at risk. The [afford] option makes room for the ways in which
ideational meanings alone imply evaluation (Hood & Martin 2007). Although these
mechanisms for indirect realization are supposed to apply to all sub-systems of ATTITUDE
(AFFECT, APPRECIATION and JUDGEMENT) in APPRAISAL theory, I shall limit the discussion
below to AFFECT. Another point worth making is that expletives, interjections and swearing
are not included in ATTITUDE (Hood & Martin 2007) though Martin & White have suggested
to look at these phenomena as outbursts of evaluation which are underspecified as far as type
of attitude is concerned (Martin & White 2005: 69, original emphasis).
2 Research on Language and Emotion outside SFL
Outside SFL, research on language and emotion/evaluation comes from many disciplines and
sub-disciplines (for summaries see Bednarek 2006: Chapter 3 on evaluation and Bednarek
2008: 4-12 on emotion). In this paper I shall focus only on the distinction between emotion
talk and emotional talk as well as the notion of emotion schemata.2
2.1 Emotion Talk vs. Emotional Talk
Bednarek (2008: 10) lists eleven different terms that have been used in emotion research to
discuss the difference between emotion talk and emotional talk. Simplifying slightly, emotion
talk is constituted by expressions that denote affect/emotion, for example love, hate, joy,
envy, sad, mad, enjoy, dislike and so on (as well as fixed expressions such as He had a broken
heart). Emotional talk relates to constituents (linguistic and non-linguistic) that
conventionally express or signal affect/emotion (eg interjections, intensification, expletives).
In the example below, emotion talk is in bold, whereas potential emotional talk is underlined.
Franklin, I was absolutely terrified of having a child. Before I got pregnant, my visions of child
rearing reading stories about cabooses with smiley faces at bedtime, feeding glop into slack
mouths all seemed like pictures of someone else. I dreaded confrontation with what could prove a
closed, stony nature, my own selfishness and lack of generosity, the thick, tarry powers of my own
resentment. However intrigued by a turn of the page, I was mortified by the prospect of becoming
hopelessly trapped in someone elses story. (Shriver 2006, We Need to Talk about Kevin, p. 37,
italics in original, bold face mine)

Relating this to interpersonal semantic systems in SFL, it becomes clear that


1 In Martin & White (2005: 47), the difference is only between behavioural surge and mental process/state.
2 Note that I am not primarily interested in emotion or evaluation as cognitive/mental processes; rather, the
focus is on the linguistics of emotion and evaluation (evaluative and emotional language). This language is not
necessarily a reflection of some inner state of mind; rather it is constituted by conventionalized signs. In any
case, the genuineness of emotional experience, though interesting from a psychological viewpoint, is perhaps
not the most important issue in linguistic analysis. Instead, we take up the notion that emotion/emotional talk
represents what Galasiski (2004: 6) calls a discursive practice, and that it is strategically related to notions such
as self-presentation (Caffi and Janney 1994: 328-329) or constitutes conventionalized, habituated discourse.

Emotion talk and emotional talk

41

INVOLVEMENT, GRADUATION, APPRECIATION, JUDGEMENT can potentially be treated in this


paradigm as emotional talk, whereas AFFECT (in particular, mental processes/states) fits in

better with emotion talk.


2.2 Emotion Schemata
One definition of emotions in psychology sees them as complex physiological-affectivecognitive responses to the physical and sociocultural environment (Schrauf & Sanchez 2004:
267), with various components such as eliciting condition/antecedent event, cognitive
evaluation/appraisal, physiological response, action readiness and associated action. It seems
that peoples folk knowledge includes an awareness of these various components of
emotional experience (Kvecses 2000: 130) and that their emotion schemata comprise such
aspects. Schema theory suggests that mental knowledge is organized in structures or chunks
(schemata) which capture the typical features of the world (see Bednarek 2005a for relevant
research). These schemata are presumably based on peoples actual emotional experience
(e.g. increased body heat when angry), and observing it in others (perception) as well as
exposure to discourse on emotions and other socializing processes. Following Kvecses we
can say that emotion schemata are both motivated by human physiology and produced by the
socio-cultural environment (Kvecses 2000: 14). Such structured folk knowledge is
important for interpreting emotional experience and its representation as well as for adequate
interpersonal interaction. Aspects that may be involved in emotion schemata are: (1)
cognitive evaluations associated with emotions; (2) prototypical and potential antecedent
events causing emotions; (3) psycho-physiological expressions that are prototypically and
potentially cased by emotions; (4) prototypical and potential expressions of action readiness,
and (5) prototypical and potential subsequent actions caused by emotions. In other words, it is
hypothesized that people are (at least subconsciously) aware that emotional experience
involves evaluations and eliciting conditions, that emotions are accompanied by bodily
symptoms (e.g. increased heart rate), and that they might cause an Emoter to be prepared for
and, consequently, to perform a certain action. For example, most people would agree that an
emotion like sadness typically involves causes such as death or loss, feelings of helplessness,
actions of negative talk and expressions such as crying (Oatley et al 2006: 184).
2.3 The Cognitive and the Discursive Perspective
The cognitive perspective sometimes, though not always, ignores the fact that emotion
schemata are cued by discourse, and are thus partially discursively construed. Thus, while
speechless may be glossed in the dictionary as not able to speak, especially because you are
extremely angry or surprised (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary), the context will
make clear which emotional experience is involved (if any). Here are some examples from
the British National Corpus (http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/) for the phrase speechless with +
emotion (bold face mine):
which left Jenny almost speechless with delight. (B0B 796)
Chairman of the Action Committee, was almost speechless with anger. (CAR 1675)
the artists before whom he became speechless with respect. (FB9 1514)
All morning everyone had been speechless with depression about Sonnet. (FBM 2658)
at the famous Hurlingham Club which left her speechless with wonder (CA0 2399)
of flanking attack which always left Matthew speechless with admiration. (GV8 2936)
which has left me speechless with rage. (CH1 6719)
I was speechless with a mixture of fear and embarrassment. (AC6 1365)
the same route they had just walked, I was speechless with indignation. (AS3 1241)
Naturally, he was speechless with rage and he seemed to go a funny colour (J56 297)
For a time the eagles were speechless with surprise at what had happened (FP3 1022)

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Monika Bednarek

and hurried down the path, and Katherine, speechless with rage (EVG 1390)
She went scarlet, speechless with rage as she glared at him in the sunlit (JYD 2120)
Speechless with rage, Mait hurled the card in the Doctors (FSR 1984)
Speechless with weary anger, she cut herself two crooked slices (H8N 2285)

There is a difference, then, between potential schemata (schemata in the mind) and
actualized schemata emotion schemata that are construed by discourse (by the
lexicogrammatical unit of meaning in its co-text and context). In other words, we can look at
emotion talk from two perspectives: the cognitive and the discursive. Whereas the cognitive
perspective looks at discourse as a pathway to individuals inner life, whether it be cognitive
processes, motivations or some other mental stuff (Edwards & Potter 1992: 127), the
discursive perspective regards psychological issues as constructed and deployed in the
discourse itself (Edwards & Potter 1992: 127). Both discursive psychology (Edwards &
Potter 1992) and SFL arguably offer discursive rather than cognitive perspetives. Whereas
the discursive perspective offers useful insights into social functions, the cognitive
perspective has some explanatory power and can be of help in providing a classificatory grid
for affective language.
3 Classifying Affective Language
Figure 1 is an attempt to classify affective language, trying to show where APPRAISAL
distinctions fit in with emotion schemata, i.e. incorporating insights from discursive and
cognitive perspectives in emotion research. In Figure 1 (which is not a system network as
used in systemic functional linguistics but rather a simple taxonomy), the resources shown
above the dotted line are the resources that are available with authorial AFFECT, whereas the
resources shown below the dotted line are the resources that are available with non-authorial
AFFECT. The main difference is that when the Emoter is not the Self, emotional talk devices
are only available in reported speech/thought for showing the Emoters emotions. The curved
lines leading from I said/thought: (above the dotted line) and from S/he said/thought:
(below the dotted line) to the left-hand side of Figure 1 show that the resources above
the dotted line can be used as the content of ones own and others reported speech and
thought to show an Emoters experience. For example: I was afraid vs. I thought: Im
afraid and S/he was afraid vs. S/he thought: Im afraid or S/he thought that she was
afraid (and so on, for diverse options for reporting speech and thought see Leech & Short
1981, Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 441-482).
Although the linguistic examples in Figure 1 (listed on the right-hand side) are invented,
many similar authentic examples from different types of discourse can be found in relevant
emotion research, for example: My heart sank; He had a broken heart; his voice broke; he
became very much more taciturn, more difficult to talk to, more tense, more withdrawn; he
seemed to have aged and lost weight (from Bednarek 2005b); we fenced them in like sheep;
all we children being herded up, like a mob of cattle; we smashed their way of life; you touch
my kids and you fight me (from Martin & White 2005: 6267); I could kill you; I could
strangle you; I could kiss you (heard on TV); my biggest sister got into a car accident so she
died; I moved to Worcester and I couldnt see my neighbors and their dogs; my Mommy hit
me she hit me in the eye (from Bamberg 1997).

Emotion talk and emotional talk

43

Figure 1: A classification
In Figure 1 the resources that have been introduced above (emotion talk and emotional

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Monika Bednarek

talk, inscribed and evoked APPRAISAL, and non-gradable INVOLVEMENT (Martin & White
2005: 33) resources such as swearing) are treated as affective linguistic resources. In other
words, affect is taken as primary. This means that:
APPRECIATION and JUDGEMENT are re-interpreted simply as references to aesthetic and
moral-ethic evaluative meanings, and treated as a way of indicating affect.7
Appreciating and judging lexis has to do with social standards that are esteemed in
particular cultures and societies with respect to aesthetic and moral value.
Expletives and interjections are seen to express affect rather than
APPRECIATION/JUDGEMENT; they are underspecified only as far as affect is
concerned.
Affording, provoking and flagging are also considered primarily with reference to
affect. That is, utterances such as we smashed their way of life are regarded as
showing the writers negative affective stance towards the proposition (the ideational
content) and described as flagging affect rather than JUDGEMENT.
Where we draw the line between inscribed and evoked/invoked affect (as well as
between emotion talk and emotional talk) is in fact not clear. For instance, fixed
figurative expressions can be considered as inscribing affect (and thereby part of
emotion talk) since they are conventionalized to a very high degree. On the other
hand, they involve metaphor and metonymy (Kvecses 2000) and could thus also be
classified as provoked rather than inscribed affect. There is also no clear dividing line
between behavioural affect and the description of behaviour (see also Martin & Rose
2003: 27).
It is important to emphasize that this classification is not a systemic-functional linguistic
one, thought it draws on SFL. Rather, it is a classification of how emotional experience can
be represented linguistically, according to components of emotion schemata. It suggests that
the different linguistic resources work conventionally to realize affective meanings because
speakers are aware of the various components of such schemata (and vice versa, exposure to
such discourse contributes to the construal of such schemata, even if not exclusively).
Further research needs to investigate the co-construal of such options across modes, its
prosodic distribution, and its social functions. Crucially, more research is needed to link
functional and cognitive approaches (e.g. Bednarek in press, forthcoming c), which Butler
has also called for: I myself see no fundamental contradiction between sociocultural and
cognitive approaches, and would want to see these two aspects integrated into an overall
framework. (Butler 2004: 162-163).

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