caffi y janney - toward a pragmatics of emotive communication

Download Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication

Post on 06-Jul-2018




12 download

Embed Size (px)


  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    ELSEVIER Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    Toward a pragmatics of emotive communication*

    Claudia Caffi”, Richard W. Janneyb


    Dipartimento di Scienze Glottoetnologiche, Universitri di Genova, Via Balbi 4, I-16126 Genoa, Italy

    b Department of English - EZW, University of Cologne, GronewaldstraJe 2, D-50931 Cologne, Germany


    The task of developing a unified pragmatics of emotive communication poses many inter-

    esting challenges for future research. This paper outlines some areas in which more work

    could be done to help coordinate present linguistic research. After briefly reviewing some

    pioneering historical work on language and affect, the paper discusses the following concepts,

    all of which seem to be in need of further clarification: ‘emotive meaning’, ‘involvement’,

    ‘emotive markedness’,

    ‘degree of emotive divergence’, ‘objects of emotive choice’, ‘loci of

    emotive choice’, and ‘outer vs. inner deixis’. Competing categories of emotive devices in cur-

    rent studies of language and affect are reviewed, and a simplified framework is proposed,

    consisting of: (1) evaluation devices, (2) proximity devices, (3) specificity devices, (4) evi-

    dentiality devices, (5) volitionality devices, and (6) quantity devices. It is argued that only

    with consensual categories and objects of analysis can investigators start focusing on, and

    comparing findings about, emotive linguistic phenomena from a unified point of view.

    Finally, some distinctions between potential perspectives, units, and loci of emotive analysis

    are proposed, and the paper concludes with a call for increased discussion of how research on

    language and affect might be better coordinated in the future.

    1. Introduction: Metatheoretical views from a fuzzy periphery’

    Presently, a vast amount of linguistic data on language and affect is being col-

    lected in pragmatics that cannot be fully compared or interpreted due to the lack of

    a unified, overriding conceptual framework. If we look at the growing body of liter-

    ature on language and affect, it is difficult to discern a consensual theory, a consen-

    sual object of investigation, or a consensual analytical methodology. Investigators

    * We would like to express our thanks to Horst Amdt and Klaus HSlker for their valuable comments

    on the line of reasoning presented in this paper, and free them, at the same time, from any responsibility

    for deficits in the final product. Parts of the paper are adapted from a forthcoming book by Richard

    W. Janney entitled

    Speech and Affect: Emotive Uses of English.

    ’ Stankiewicz (1964: 267) used the expression

    “fuzzy periphery” to refer to the no man’s land of

    emotive language. His original statement was:

    “I see no reason . why we should be reluctant to admit

    the existence of a fuzzy periphery”.

    0378-2166/94/$07.00 0 1994 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

    SSDI 0378-2166(94)00040-L

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cajfi, R.W. Janney I Journal o rugmntics 22 19941 325-373

    presently seem to be proceeding in an ad hoc manner, operating on the basis of

    sometimes very different assumptions, producing findings that are interesting on an

    individual basis, but which cannot be fully accounted for from a unified point of

    view. Yet, if there is anything that we can be intuitively sure of as users of language,

    it is our awareness, deeply rooted in our everyday experience as communicators, that

    feelings and language are intimately interconnected in speech and writing.

    In this paper, we would like to make some modest suggestions about how linguists

    working in this area might begin cooperating in investigating affective features

    of language from a more unified, systematic, pragmatic point of view. We do not

    presume to be able here to fully answer all of the metatheoretical and methodolog-

    ical questions potentially raised by our suggestions, but we do believe that it is

    important to draw attention to the lack of coordination in current research, and to

    suggest the feasibility, at least, of bringing order to this endeavor.

    The complexity of the interface between language, people, and affect is implicit in

    the observation that: (1) we can all express feelings that we have, (2) we can all have

    feelings that we do not express, and (3) we can all express feelings that we do not

    have, or feelings that we think our partners might expect or wish us to have, or

    feelings that it might simply be felicitous to have in a given situation for particular

    reasons. In short, we all seem to be capable of producing, modifying, and modu-

    lating linguistic and other expressions of affect more or less at will, in very subtle

    ways, in order to fit the personal and interpersonal exigencies of different occasions;

    and we are capable of negotiating agreement about the intersubjective significance

    of our expressions of affect. In this broad sense, at least, the expression of feelings

    and attitudes in language does not seem to be that much different from the expres-

    sion of ideas: both processes are cognitively mediated - if perhaps in different ways,

    to different extents, and to different purposes (cf. Arndt and Janney, 1991).

    But how do we do this? On the basis of what type of linguistic knowledge, or

    what type of broader underlying pragmatic capacity? Is the ability to produce and

    interpret expressions of affect in speech and writing rooted in knowledge of some

    hitherto underexplored ‘emotive subcode’ within the code of language, as suggested

    by Stankiewicz (1964), Volek (1987), and others? Is it rooted in knowledge of hith-

    erto only partly investigated uses of the affective ‘tools’, ‘devices’, or ‘resources’ of

    language, as suggested by Irvine (1982), Labov (1984), Ochs (1986), and Ochs and

    Schieffelin (1989)? Or is it perhaps rooted in knowledge of a much wider, meta-

    communicational pragmatic nature, for which we presently have only dim

    metaphors, as suggested by Watzlawick et al. (1967), Friedrich (1986), Arndt and

    Janney (1987), and a few others?

    Behind questions like these, there are naturally some even more basic metaprag-

    matic questions (cf. Caffi, 1993). For example, how far do present pragmatic con-

    ceptual frameworks, descriptive approaches, and analytical procedures actually go in

    accounting for this complex, if apparently effortless, everyday ability? Is a unified

    investigation of language, affect, and human interaction even within the present

    scope of linguistics? Is a new, even more integrative, interdisciplinary effort perhaps

    called for? For lack of space, these questions will remain only implicit in the fol-

    lowing discussion. Instead, we will have the following, more restricted, aims: first,

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. Cafj?, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373


    we will review some old and new approaches to language and affect that seem to be

    of potential interest in developing what we would like to call ‘a pragmatics of emo-

    tive communication’;

    second, we will discuss some conceptual and methodological

    constraints on current research on language and affect, pointing out some underlying

    linguistic issues at stake in this research; and third, we will present a rough sketch of

    some conceptual distinctions that we feel could be helpful in approaching emotive

    communication from a unified, pragmatic point of view. The paper is not program-

    matic in spirit, but exploratory. That is, it is not an attempt to impose our own

    sketchy, preliminary ideas about various problems that seem (to us) to need to be

    dealt with in present studies of language and affect on others working in this area,

    but rather an attempt to clear ground for further discussion, in the hope of encourag-

    ing suggestions about how studies of language and affect might be better coordinated

    in the future.

    I .I. Some preliminary definitions

    I .I .I. The emotive capacity

    One of our underlying assumptions will be that all competent native speakers of a

    given language possess what might metaphorically be called an ‘emotive capacity’:

    that is, certain basic, conventional, learned, affective-relational communicative skills

    that help them interact smoothly, negotiate potential interpersonal conflicts, and

    reach different ends in speech. These skills are related, to performances of linguistic

    and other activities that broadly can be interpreted as ‘signs of affect’, or as indices

    of speakers’ feelings, attitudes, or relational orientations toward their topics, their

    partners, and/or their own acts of communication in different situations. Successful

    interaction depends to a certain extent on a mastery of these conventional skills. We

    will assume that explaining what the emotive capacity is, where it comes from, and

    how it is used to reach different ends in linguistic interaction, are fitting goals of

    pragmatic research.

    1.1.2. The notion of afSect

    The decision to focus on language and affect implies some body of underlying

    assumptions about what ‘affect’ is to begin with. The great diversity of phenomena

    studied under the rubric of affect in different branches of science underscores the

    truism that affect means many things to many people - not only across disciplines

    but also within disciplines, among different investigators. Like other terms used in

    science, the term ‘affect’ is a figure of speech, a metaphor, which, reified by scien-

    tific practice, enables us to approach certain ranges of conceptualized phenomena as

    independent objects of study, and define certain other ranges of phenomena as

    beyond the scope of investigation (cf. Sarbin, 1986: 87).

    Western psychologists commonly distinguish between feelings, a broad, complex

    class of subjective personal sensations or states of inner physiological arousal (cf.

    Besnier, 1990: 421); emotions, a restricted subset of empirically investigable phe-

    nomena within this general class that are relatively transitory, of a certain intensity,

    and are attached to, or triggered by, particular objects, ideas, or outer incentive

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pra,qnatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    events (cf. Kagan, 1978: 1617); moods, which are said to be of longer duration

    than emotions, and not necessarily attached to specific inner states or definite objects

    (cf. Davidson, 1984: 321); and attitudes, or transitory feeling states with partly

    uncontrollable subconscious psychobiological components and partly controllable

    expressive components, which are said to be instrumental in maintaining social and

    psychological equilibrium and adapting to different situations (cf. Plutchik and

    Kellerman, 1980: 30).

    The term ‘affect’ is usually reserved for feeling states that are ascribed to others

    on the basis of their observable behavior in different situations (cf. Besnier, 1990:

    421). In cognitive psychology, notions of affect range from ‘hot’ to ‘cold’ extremes

    (cf. Mandler, 1990: 21). At the hotter end, ‘affect’ is used almost synonymously

    with emotion, as defined above. At the cooler end, it is used to refer simply to

    human preferences, attitudes, or likes and dislikes, and to adaptive choices related to

    these (cf. Mandler, 1990: 21-22). This latter perspective, which is incidentally of

    great potential interest for pragmatics, sees affect as a state of interpretive action and

    arousal that results from goal-directed cognitive appraisals of perceptions of ‘inner’

    and ‘outer’ processes in different contexts (cf. Lazarus, 1982: 1024; Lewis et al.,

    1984: 271).

    In linguistics, on the other hand, the term ‘affect’ is often used simply as a broad

    synonym for ‘feeling’, and is regarded as subsuming not only traditional psycholog-

    ical notions of emotion, mood, and attitude, but also notions of character and per-

    sonality, and notions related to interactional linguistic phenomena such as masking,

    hedging, undercutting, and so forth (cf. Irvine, 1982: 32; Ochs, 1986: 254; Ochs

    and Schieffelin, 1989: 7). In the following pages, in keeping with standard linguis-

    tic usage, we will use the term ‘affect’ in this latter, broader sense - apologizing to

    psychologists in advance for blurring important theoretical distinctions - as an over-

    riding, generic term for linguistically expressed feelings, attitudes, and relational dis-

    positions of all types (cf. Ochs, 1989).

    I .I .3. Emotive communication

    We would like to suggest that pragmatics should focus broadly on what Marty

    (1908), at the turn of the century, called emotive communication: the intentional,

    strategic signalling of affective information in speech and writing (e.g., evaluative

    dispositions, evidential commitments, volitional stances, relational orientations,

    degrees of emphasis, etc.) in order to influence partners’ interpretations of situations

    and reach different goals. Marty contrasted the notion of ‘emotive communication’

    to the notion of ‘emotional communication’, which he regarded as a type of sponta-

    neous, unintentional leakage or bursting out of emotion in speech (cf. Amdt and Jan-

    ney, 1991). According to Marty, emotive communication influences partners’ inter-

    pretations of situations by suggesting what he called “states of affairs that coincide

    with one’s own declared feelings and desires in the widest sense” (“Zustanden, die

    dem kundgegebenen eigenen Ftlhlen und Wollen im weitesten Sinne entsprechen”)

    (1908: 364). Marty’s wording is important here, because it underscores the notion

    that emotive communication, by this definition, has no automatic or necessary rela-

    tion to ‘real’ inner affective states. Rather, it is related to self-presentation, and it is

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. Cuff, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    inherently strategic, persuasive, interactional, and other-directed by its very nature

    (cf. Parret, 1984: 583; Robinson, 1986: 659; Amdt and Janney, 1991: 526-532).

    Emotive communication, thus viewed, is hence less a personal psychological phe-

    nomenon than an interpersonal social one. This aligns Marty’s (1908) idea of ‘emo-

    tive utterances’ conceptually with Bally’s (1909) and Sapir’s (1927) notions of

    ‘social emotional displays’, Biihler’s (1934) idea of ‘relational traffic signals’, and

    Black’s (1949) notion of ‘persuasive employments of affect’.

    We could say that the function of emotive communication, in Biihler’s terms, is

    essentially appellative: emotive uses of language impose a kind of ‘communicative

    valence’ (kommunikative Vulenz) on the situation, influencing partners’ perceptions

    of what literally is communicated at the ideational level (cf. Biihler, 1934: 31).

    During interaction, we tend to perceive others as ‘opening up’ or ‘closing down’,

    being responsive or reticent, making signs of approach or withdrawal; we perceive

    their relative strength or weakness, their fuller or lesser presence, their attentiveness

    or disinterest (cf. Frijda, 1982: 112). All such perceptions are rooted in, and depend

    on, emotive displays. The prerequisite for interpreting emotive activities, according

    to Frijda, is often merely only the ability to view a piece of linguistic or other behav-

    ior as “the possible starting-point of its own continuation” (1982: 112). It is the

    capacity, for example, to view ‘positive’ behavior as a possible starting point for

    agreement or cooperativeness, ‘negative’ behavior as a possible starting point for

    disagreement or conflict, ‘confident’ behavior as a possible starting point for self-

    assertiveness or determination, ‘uncertain’ behavior as a possible starting point for

    compromise or resignation, and so forth. In all cases, the interpretation of emotive

    activities involves an appreciation of interpersonal relations and self-presentation

    strategies (cf. Frijda, 1982: 112). In this sense, following Biihler’s (1934) discussion

    of the appellative function, emotive communication seems to be more closely related

    to notions of dramatic performance (role performance) and rhetoric (persuasion) than

    to traditional notions of emotional expressivity (cf. Amdt and Janney, 1991).

    2. Historical notes on language and affect

    A reasonable first step toward developing a unified pragmatics of emotive com-

    munication, we would like to suggest, is to reflect on the history of similar endeav-

    ors in the past, and see what lessons can be drawn from these. Throughout the his-

    tory of linguistic thought, we can find an unstable balance between the necessity of

    abstraction and the necessity of not losing sight of living language. Emotive com-

    munication inherently belongs to the latter. Solutions to the problem of the relation

    between language and affect vary according to the roles assigned to these two com-

    peting needs. The problem of the relation itself, however, has always been present in

    theoretical reflections on language - present, and yet often somehow repressed, due

    to the difficulty of solving it in a fully satisfactory way. It figures, for example, in

    Sublime’s (Pseudo-Longinus) &3oq (1st century A.D.), and in the semiotics of pas-

    sions of the 70’s (cf. Greimas, 1983; Parret, 1986; Fabbri and Pezzini, 1987), in the

    acrus signatus (as opposed to the actus exercim) of medieval scholastic philosophy,

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafi. R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    and in the entangled problem of connotation (for a good historical survey on conno-

    tation, see Garza-Cuarbn, 199 1).

    If we look for theories that explicitly make the linguistic expression of affect a

    central concern, however, the list of possible candidates becomes shorter: we can

    find significant forerunners not only in linguistics, but also in rhetoric, philosophy of

    language, and linguistic stylistics. In particular, Aristotle’s rhetoric, Marty’s philos-

    ophy of language, Bally’s linguistic stylistics, and Prague functionalism offer pre-

    cious insights. Each of these approaches is famous, and at the same time extremely

    complex, making any attempt to explain the many subtle differences between their

    underlying views of language and affect potentially a subject of volumes of philo-

    logical and exegetical analysis. Here, we will simply mention, in a very cursory way,

    some reasons for their relevance.


    Rhetoric: Aristotle and the argumentative perspective

    If pragmatics - envisioned here as dealing with the whole reality of communica-

    tion, including its emotive aspects - could choose a prestigious ancestor, it should be

    ancient rhetoric. Aristotle’s Rhetoric can be seen as a metapragmatic treatise on the

    construction of the shared knowledge necessary for effective emotive communica-

    tion. Starting from what today would be regarded as a social psychological perspec-

    tive, Aristotle analyzes different kinds of argumentation which must fit different

    types of audiences. In Rhetoric I, (A), 3, 1358b, perhaps an original source of the

    recurring semiotic triads in philosophy and linguistics throughout the ages, Aristotle

    states that discourse is comprised of three fundamental elements - the speaker, the

    topic, and the hearer.

    In the present century, Aristotle’s rhetoric of persuasive discourse has been

    pursued in Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s

    Trait de l’argumentation. La nouvelle

    rhe’torique (1958), a work of great potential interest for pragmatics, which focuses

    on complex emotive strategies stemming from speakers’ continuous efforts to adapt

    to their addressees. Interestingly, some basic aspects of Giles and Couplands’

    (1991: 60ff.) ‘accommodation theory’ are anticipated by, and subtly analyzed in,



    The main problem dealt with by Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca is how

    speakers build up a consensus, or a ‘communion of minds’, with addressees through

    the strength of their arguments, and by the capacity of these to trigger the

    addressees’ emotive participation.

    What makes the classical rhetorical perspective a refined precedent of a prag-

    matics of emotive communication is mainly its strong intersubjective orientation.

    In classical oratory, emotive activities are regarded as semiotic phenomena with

    communicative potential, regardless of whether they are ‘sincere’ or not, and

    regardless of which mode (verbal, prosodic, or kinesic) they are performed in. It

    could be claimed, in fact, that emotive uses of language have been studied

    throughout most of Western intellectual history as ‘rhetorical techniques’. Rhetor-

    ical communication and emotive communication share some crucial features: both

    trigger a surplus de sense, both presuppose shared knowledge on the speaker’s and

    hearer’s parts, and both rely on the hearer’s cooperation and willingness to under-

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. Cafi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373


    take the inferential steps necessary to give utterances intended meanings beyond

    their literal ones.

    One interesting goal for a pragmatics of emotive communication would be to

    begin attempting to account for emotive rhetorical techniques from a new, more sys-

    tematic, unified, point of view. This would require, among other things, rethinking

    and reinterpreting many important rhetorical insights of the past, and perhaps

    re-evaluating some modem contributions in this area such as Lausberg’s (1960) and

    Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s (1958). Helpful recent research in this direction

    has been done by Mortara-Garavelli (1988).

    2.2. Philosophy of language: Anton Marty

    Anton Marty’s (1908) discussion of emotive ;iujerungen, at the turn of the

    century, may be regarded as an important pioneering philosophical contribution to

    later linguistic studies of emotive communication.2 To Marty, as said earlier (see

    section 1.3), we owe the insight that we must first distinguish between emotional

    (cathartic, expressive) and emotive (instigative, appellative) affective uses of speech

    before we can begin to investigate language and affect from a systematic pragmatic

    point of view. In the present connection, Marty’s main contribution was his discus-

    sion of what he called ‘interest-demanding’ (interesseheischende) utterances: that

    is, utterances signaling momentary evaluative stances or volitional states, which are

    performed by speakers to strategically guide partners’ attention and influence their

    behavior. For this category, he invented the term ‘emotive utterances’, apologeti-

    cally adding that “One must excuse the new term on the grounds that in present lin-

    guistic usage, no better term for the whole class is available, as words like ‘procla-

    mation’, ‘request’, ‘wish’, ‘command’, etc. all have a narrower meaning” (“Man

    entschuldige den neuen Terminus damit, da8 im bisherigen Sprachgebrauch ein fur

    die ganze Klasse passender nicht vorhanden ist, da die Namen: Ausrufung, Frage,

    Wunsch, Befehlsatz usw. alle einen engeren Bedeutungsumfang haben”) (1908:

    275). Later, Btihler (1934) integrated Marty’s distinction between emotional and

    emotive uses of language into his notions of the Ausdruck and Appell functions of


    According to Marty, emotive communication is rooted in the relationship between

    explicit forms of linguistic expression and their potential implicit significance for

    interpreters. Marty noted that speakers habitually modify explicit forms of linguistic

    expression in order to emotively ‘color’ them and steer interpretations of their

    implicit, intended significance (1908: 524ff.). The linguistic activities involved in

    emotive communication, he said, are not cathartic in nature, but intentional, infor-

    mative (Mitteillung), persuasive (uberzeugung), and/or coercive (Beeinflussung). An

    utterance, he argued, is like a stenograph or a rough sketch of an idea: while the

    basic conceptual coordinates for interpreting it are provided by the linguistic code,

    * Marty’s philosophy was much more linguistically oriented, for example, than his friend Brentano’s,

    as is evidenced by the title of Marty’s major work,

    Untersuchungen zur Grundlegung der allgemeine

    Grammatik und Sprachphilosophie (1908).

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cap, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragt nat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373

    the task of filling the utterance into a meaningful cognitive-emotive whole is left

    largely up to the interpreter (1908: 145). In interpreting an utterance, he said, the

    partner must assign relative importance to the concepts referred to, and must recon-

    struct most of the implicit relations between these concepts and the speaker, the

    topic, and the context in which the utterance is made. Inferences about such implicit

    relations are influenced, in part, he maintained, by the form of the utterance. He con-

    cluded that the potential emotive interpretations of utterances are restricted by the

    perspectives on events that the utterances explicitly sketch out.

    In Marty’s view, although notions like, for example, ‘You must do x’, ‘I want

    you to do x’, ‘Please do x’, ‘It would be nice if you did x’, ‘I’ll be unhappy if you

    don’t do x’, ‘Would you like to do x? ‘, etc., may all perhaps potentially be in mind

    at the moment that a speaker makes an utterance meant to express a general idea

    like ‘do x’, the stenographic nature of utterances themselves requires speakers to

    select only one version. Insofar as only one version can be uttered explicitly, the

    others remain implicit. Marty claimed that for this reason, it is constantly necessary

    for speakers to reduce complex thoughts into simplified, explicit verbal sketches on

    the one hand; and by the reverse logic, it is constantly necessary for partners to

    expand simplified verbal sketches into complex thoughts on the other. From this, he

    concluded that the literal information that passes back and forth during conversation

    is thus inevitably always only a small, selective percentage of what potentially may

    be ‘meant’ by the speaker, and what potentially may be ‘understood’ by the partner

    (1908: 168).’

    Emotive expressions, he said further, can be distinguished into two main sub-

    classes: (1) those related broadly to

    evaluation, e.g.,

    expressions of acceptance

    or rejection, agreement or denial, like or dislike, etc., and (2) those related to what

    he termed

    interest, e.g.,

    expressions of wishes, desires, and feelings related

    to these (1908: 276).4 He regarded this second category as linguistically more

    complex than the first one. In sections 3, 4 and 5, in which we discuss the catego-

    rization of emotive communicative activities in psychology and linguistics, we will

    see that Marty seems to have been quite correct. His category of interesse-

    heischende _ erungen seems to have certain similarities with the psycholinguistic

    notion of the motivational ‘potency’ of utterances (see section 4) and with notions

    of linguistic ‘involvement’ (see section 6), both of which are associated with a

    multitude of linguistic activities. A pragmatics of emotive communication can

    scarcely ignore Marty’s contribution to later distinctions in Btihler’s Sprachtheorie,5

    3 Marty would not have subscribed to the view of language as a conduit of meaning.

    4 Marty’s sub-class of evaluative phenomena corresponds roughly with psychological concepts of

    positive and negative attitudes and their intensity. His sub-class of interest-related phenomena cor-

    responds roughly with psychological concepts of individual conation or motivation and its urgency.

    5 In a review of Marty (1908) Biihler remarked that whereas Wundt concentrated on language mainly

    as Ausdruck (emphasizing emotional expressivity), and Husserl, in his strong opposition to Wundt,

    focused mainly on language as Darstellung (emphasizing the referential function), Marty dealt with the

    Ausdruck (emotional) and Appell (emotive) functions, but ignored aspects of language related to


  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    and to the Prague School notion of the expressive-emotive function (see sec-

    tion 2.4).


    Linguistic stylisties: Charles Bally

    Charles Bally’s linguistic stylistics is also of special interest: not only for prag-

    matic approaches to emotive communication in particular, but also for pragmatics

    tout court, because ‘style’ (understood as expressivity in Bally’s approach), is

    regarded not simply as an auxiliary or accompanying feature of the linguistic sys-

    tem, but as a constitutive one. Style, as defined by Bally, makes it possible to

    establish a link between affect as a psychological category, and grammar (under-

    stood in a broad sense as also including the prosodic resources of language) as a

    social category. Bally’s stylistics is of extraordinary linguistic relevance mainly

    because, in it, affective values are embedded in the linguistic system itself, and not

    simply added to, or superimposed on, the linguistic system.

    As is well-known, Bally’s stylistics is a stylistics of language (while Vossler’s

    and Spitzer’s, for example, are stylistics of literary texts). Bally defines stylistics

    as follows : “Stylistics studies the expressive facts of language from the viewpoint

    of their affective content, in other words, the expression of feelings through lan-

    guage and the action of language on feelings” (“La stylistique Ctudie . les faits

    d’expression du langage organise au point de vue de leur contenu affectif, c’est-

    a-dire l’expression des faits de la sensibilite par le langage et l’action des faits de

    langage sur la sensibilitb”) (1970: 16


    19091). Following Bally, two abstract fun-

    damental tendencies, or modes of communication, are dialectically at work in lan-

    guage: the intellectual mode (the mode pur) and the affective mode (the mode

    v x).

    These two modes do not constitute a true dichotomy, but are rather ideal

    poles of a continuum: a message, that is, will be more oriented toward one of

    them or the other. The intellectual, logical mode is, above all, an abstract possi-

    bility which offers the identifying term: that is, the neutral choice - for example,

    in a series of affective synonyms representing possible choices for the speaker

    (and not only words, but also whole sentences and expressions) - against which

    the expressive choice can be detected, compared, and evaluated. There is a con-

    tinuous silent process of comparison at work in communication: “Words are

    understood and felt only through a continuous and unconscious comparison

    among them in our mind” (“les mots ne sont




    que par une


    paraison incessante et inconsciente qui se fait entre eux dans notre cerveau”)

    (1970: 22 [1909]).

    In Bally’s view, there are two main types of affective features: first, natural affec-

    tive features

    (caractkes affectifs naturels),

    which are connected with notions of

    intensity, evaluation, and beauty (1970: 300, 170ff. [1909]); and second, evocative


    (effets par vocation),

    which are connected with the capacity of linguistic

    choices to evoke “the milieu where their employment is most natural” (“les milieux

    oti leur emploi est le plus naturel”) (1970: 30 [1909]). While natural affective fea-

    tures of language are implicitly centered on the speaker, he says (partly prefiguring

    later notions of the ‘expressive function’), evocative effects are centered mainly on

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cuffi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragtnatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    the addressee (cf. Segre, 1985: 314), and are related to ‘subcodes’ and registers of

    language that project different tacit definitions of the partners’ social status, profes-

    sional affiliations, respective cultural levels, and so forth.6

    Bally further distinguished between two types of formal expressive processes

    @roce’de’sformels) and linguistic features connected with these: first, what he calls

    ‘direct’ processes, which involve lexical choices; and second, ‘indirect’ processes,

    which involve prosodic and syntactic choices that go beyond single words (1970:

    250ff. [ 19091). Bally’s exemplifications of these two types of expressive processes

    and their formal features deserve careful attention in modern pragmatics. There is

    not enough room in these sketchy notes to fully discuss Bally’s contribution to the

    understanding of affective aspects of language, but it is worth emphasizing that

    Bally’s approach is not restricted to the lexicon. His notion of modality in the

    analysis of sentences is an important step that clears the way for the representation

    of ways in which speakers’ subjective attitudes are formally embedded in


    According to Bally, a sentence is comprised of a modus (similar to the modern

    notion of modality) and a dictum (similar to the notion of propositional content).



    which is expressed by verbs of propositional attitude like ‘think’,

    ‘rejoice’, ‘hope’, etc., is the heart of the sentence (“c’est l’ame de la phrase”)

    (1965 : 36 [ 1925]), and represents the speaker’s attitude toward the propositional

    content, or the dictum, in Bally’s terms, in its active, operative mode. The link

    between the intellectual and emotive modes, rediscovered within the theoretical

    unit ‘sentence’ (see section 7.7.2), finds its formal abstract representation here.

    Starting from this conception, Bally develops a refined analysis of different types

    of dislocation (la phrase se’gmente’e), which, in many respects, anticipates both the

    Prague studies of the thematic progression of texts in theme-rheme, and modern

    pragmatic analyses of right- and left-dislocation.

    6 While there are certain similarities between Bally’s ‘natural/evocative’ distinction, Marty’s ‘emo-

    tional/emotive’ distinction, and Bilhler’s ‘expressive/appellative’ distinction, it would be a mistake to

    assume that these notions are all synonymous. Bally’s discussion is, in a sense, more linguistically

    oriented than those of Marty and Biihler. Rather than discussing different reasons or psychological

    motivations for making linguistic choices, that is, Bally is pointing out two different basic types of

    linguistic stylistic choice: his ‘natural’ affective features are related mainly to intrastylistic choices, or

    choices within a given style or register between different linguistic form tokens and arrangements; and

    his ‘evocative’ features are related mainly to interstylistir choices, or choices between different styles or

    registers of speech per Se (cf. Amdt and Janney, 1987).

    ’ Notions somehow close to Bally’s more explicit notion of modality can be found in the following

    definitions: “the intellectual subscription to an act can be accompanied by a more or less lively sym-

    pathy toward that act” (“l’assentiment intellectuel que nous donnons a un act peut etre accompagne

    d’une sympathie plus ou moins vive pour cet acte”) (Brunot, 1922: 539); “Every sentence of collo-

    quial language . . is comprised of two distinct elements: the idea and its presentation There is also

    a feeling which accompanies the experience and which is expressed at the same time as the experi-

    ence . It is the affective presentation” (“Toute phrase du langage courant renferme deux elements

    bien distincts: l’ide’e et la

    p sentution

    de celle-ce .., I1 y a aussi un sentiment qui accompagne l’expe-

    rience et que le sujet exttriorise en mCme temps qu’elle .._ C’est la prf?sentation affective”) (Camoy,

    1927: 1).

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373


    Bally’s importance for a pragmatics of emotive communication rests finally in the

    fact that he restores the crucial role of emotive expression in language; and he goes

    further, assigning affective language, the mode ve’cu, supremacy with respect to

    intellectual language. Whenever we speak, he says, we are called upon to choose the

    most effective ways of expressing our ideas and feelings; and our feelings come

    first. In saying this, Bally completely subverts de Saussure’s dichotomy between

    lungue and parole. The subversion, however, was never made explicit in Bally’s

    works, where we find nothing but words of devoted assent to the master whose notes

    he, together with Sechehaye, so carefully collected and edited into the Cows (1916).

    Perhaps this explains divergent, often critical, interpretations of Bally’s viewpoints

    later (cf. Stankiewicz, 1964; Braselmann, 1982; Chiss, 1987). Without entering into

    exegetical discussion here, it may suffice to quote a touching passage, which has the

    flavor of a confession: “[after acknowledging the Saussure’s importance for his

    work] Nevertheless, this incomparable master did not particularly dwell on the ques-

    tions which I later came to love, I mean the questions concerning expressive lan-

    guage, the vehicle of affective thought” (“Toutefois ce maitre incomparable ne s’est

    pas attarde specialement aux questions qui m’ont passion5 plus tard, celles notam-

    ment qui concement le langage expressif, vehicule de la pensee affective”) (Journal

    de Gendve, 10 April, 1957, quoted in Hellman, 1988: 109).

    Once we recognize the true significance of affect in Bally’s stylistics, which has

    nothing to do with the whimsical expression of idiosyncratic emotionality or irra-

    tionality, but rather comes very close to the Latin


    (to affect, to do something

    to something, to influence something or someone), it becomes possible to share

    Braselmann’s (1982) and Wunderli’s (1990) conclusion that it is reductive to see

    Bally’s works ‘merely’ as studies of expressive language. His research, beyond

    being stylistic, is, in fact, eminently pragmatic: it is centered on the active social

    character of language, viewed as “the tendency by which speech is moved to serve

    action” (“la tendance qui pousse la parole a servir l’action”) (1965: 18


    19251). The

    social nature of affective language is never blurred in Bally’s research: “one can

    show what one is thinking and feeling only through expressive means which are

    understandable to others” (“on ne peut montrer ce qu’on pense et ce qu’on sent soi-

    meme que par des moyens d’expression que les autres peuvent comprendre”) (1970:

    6-7 [1909]). Bally’s work paves the way for models of linguistic communication

    based on intersubjectivity, such as those developed by Benveniste and Bachtin later

    in the century, and makes him, as Wunderli (1990: 385) says, “one of the important

    forerunners of modem pragmatics” (“einer der wichtigen Vorlaufer der heutigen



    Linguistics: Prague functionalism

    Finally, important contributions to the study of language and affect have also

    come for several decades from the Prague School, which has dealt with the affective

    functions of language since the very beginning (cf. Dane:, 1989). The second and

    third statements of the third thesis of the Prague Linguistic Circle (1929), for exam-

    ple, are directly concerned with this issue. After distinguishing conceptually between

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    336 C. Caffi, R.W. Janney I Journal oj’fragmafics 22 (1994) 325-373

    ‘internal’ and ‘manifested’ speech (in a manner, incidentally, that is reminiscent of

    Marty’s earlier distinction between inner and outer manifestations of language),8

    the writers state that the “features important for the characterization of language are



    and the


    of language manifestations. Both these fea-

    tures either interpenetrate each other or one of them prevails over the other” (1929:

    88). In the Prague functionalist view, ‘intellectual’ speech is always socially

    oriented; ‘emotional’ speech, on the other hand, may be itself an outlet of the

    speaker’s emotion (Marty’s emotional function Btihler’s


    function); it

    may also have a social orientation: for example, when it aims at causing emotions

    in the hearer (Aristotle’s persuasive goal, Marty’s emotive function Btihler’s



    Among works in the Prague functionalist tradition that are particularly relevant for

    modem studies of language and affect, at least Mathesius’s studies of linguistic

    means of reinforcement


    and emphasis


    have to be men-

    tioned. Mathesius’ (1964) distinction between reinforcement and emphasis may be

    summarized as follows: whereas reinforcement is mainly a lexical matter, involving

    choices of graded suffixes, marked lexemes, slang, and so forth, emphasis is mainly

    a matter of syntax and prosody, and involves choices in sentences in which the par-



    and intonation express the emphatic orientation of the speaker to

    the content (emphatische Einstellung des Sprechenden zum Satzinhalt) (1964: 430).

    Roman Jakobson, who was a protagonist of Prague functionalism from the outset,

    includes, within his widely-known six functions of language, a function called the

    ‘expressive or emotive’ function, which is speaker-centered, and is based on the



    function in Biihler’s (1934)


    In Jakobson’s

    words, this function “aims at a direct expression of the speaker’s attitude toward

    what he is speaking about .

    The emotive function, laid bare in the interjections, fla-

    vors to some extent all our utterances, on their phonic, grammatical, and lexical

    level” (Jakobson, 1960: 354). In hindsight, it is rather unfortunate that Jakobson

    combined Marty’s (and, to a lesser extent, Biihler’s) clear distinction between the

    emotional and emotive functions of language into a single function in his model.

    Nevertheless, Jakobson makes explicit reference to Marty’s contribution, pointing

    out the informational capacity of emotive elements of messages, and stressing the

    systematic - and not yet adequately studied - character of this capacity. In this

    connection, Jakobson offers the famous example of the forty different interpretable

    messages communicated by the phrase ‘This evening’ in Stanislavskij’s Moscow

    Theatre, and understood by the audience.

    After Jakobson, working within a much narrower conceptual framework, Stan-

    ckiewicz (1964) repeatedly emphasizes the systematic character of expressive devices

    in language. Stanckiewicz aims at restoring the primacy of cognitive aspects of affec-

    tive linguistic forms, narrowing the range of affective phenomena potentially relevant

    to linguistics to features such as expressive phonemes, expressive derivation, suffixes,

    and so forth. According to Stanckiewicz,

    “Biihler did not always draw a clear distinc-

    * The fact that Marty taught for many years in Prague gives rise to intriguing conjectures about his

    influence later on the Prague School.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    tion between emotive phenomena which are contextually conditioned and emotive

    features which are embedded in the code” (1964: 266). Here again, it could be argued,

    we find a certain lack of clarity with respect to differences between the expressive

    (subjective, personal) and emotive (intersubjective, interpersonal) functions of signs of

    affect in speech. Stanckiewicz himself seems to have recognized the problem of the

    failing interpersonal orientation of a strictly code-centered approach: “practically

    every word can be endowed with emotive connotations if it is placed in an appropriate

    social situation or verbal context” (1964: 242). The history of concepts of ‘expressiv-

    ity’ and ‘emotivity’ in the Prague functionalist approach has been dealt with in detail

    recently by Volek (1987).

    Finally, it remains to be said that, over the years, the Prague School linguists have

    raised many important foundational questions about relations between language and

    affect, some of which are still waiting for adequate answers. One problem that espe-

    cially needs to be addressed - which is related to the concept of ‘markedness’ as first

    defined in Prague phonology, and is potentially very important for studies of emo-

    tive communication (cf. Hiibler, 1987, and see section 6 below) - is: from where

    must we begin in order to detect, and make inferences about, ‘emotive connotations’

    in the first place? As Bally said, two opposing tendencies appear to be operative in

    expressivity (les tendances oppose’es de l’expressivite’): expectation (l’attente) and

    surprise (la surprise) (1965: 69 [1932]). The crucial point generally seems to be the

    divergent choice from some type of expectation. We will go into this matter in more

    detail in section 6.


    Psychological dimensions of affect

    Another step toward developing a unified pragmatics of emotive communication


    in addition, that is, to reconstructing the history of related endeavors in the past -

    would be to start working on developing systematic concepts about the underlying

    nature of what Black (1948), Richards (1948), Stevenson (1948), Alston (1967), and

    others earlier in the century called ‘emotive meaning’.

    3.1. The issue of ‘emotive meaning’

    The issue of how emotive activities function as substitutes for what they ‘mean’,

    ‘denote’, ‘signify’, or ‘index’ has important implications for studies of emotive com-

    munication (cf. Ogden and Richards, 1923; Black, 1949). Regardless of how we ulti-

    mately analyze emotive linguistic phenomena, initially, we depend, to a greater

    extent than we perhaps like to admit, on assumptions about what ‘emotive signs’ are

    signs of, and about their potential meanings and interpretations in different situa-

    tions. We need such assumptions in order to designate conceptualized ‘emotive

    activities’ as objects of analysis in the first place (cf. Janney, 1981; Amdt and Jan-

    ney, 1987: 13-20). The decision to study emotive communication from a pragmatic

    perspective implies underlying interpretive assumptions (or biases) of some kind

    from the very outset, and these should be stated explicitly in advance.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    Almost fifty years ago, Black (1948:

    112-l 13) argued that confusion in

    approaches to emotive language in America during the 1920’s to 40’s were due

    mainly to “the lack of a consistent and coherent theory of ‘emotive meaning’ “; and

    today, we still lack linguistically useful theories of emotive meaning (cf. Volek,

    1987: 249). As a consequence, linguists studying emotive communication are some-

    times forced to adopt (or adapt) interpretive categories derived from Western psy-

    chological notions of underlying ‘basic dimensions of affect’ (cf. Brown and

    Gilman, 1960; Wiener and Mehrabian, 1968; Dittmann, 1972; Arndt and Janney,

    1983; Brown and Levinson, 1987; Dane& this issue).

    Gaps between psychological and linguistic approaches to affect, however,

    presently make it difficult to imagine directly transferring concepts from psychology

    into linguistics without first considering their compatibility, descriptive adequacy,

    and explanatory power in the linguistic context. Psychological studies often do not

    take language and interaction fully into consideration; and linguistic studies, on the

    other hand, often shy away from psychology. Although potentially useful models of

    emotive meaning were devised many years ago in psycholinguistics (cf. Osgood et

    al. 1957; Davitz, 1964, etc.), there has not yet been much apparent interest in incor-

    porating these into current studies of emotive communication. As a result, the work

    of many linguists who presently are most actively addressing issues related to lan-

    guage and affect tends to remain psychologically rather uninformed.

    3.2. ‘Dimensions of affect’ in psychology

    In psychology, there is a tradition of tripartite distinctions between metaphorical

    ‘basic dimensions of affect’ reaching back to about the turn of the century (cf. Gallois,

    this issue) (see Table 1). The term ‘dimension’ was first used in connection with affect

    in studies of moo in the 1950’s (cf. Nowlis and Nowlis, 1956). It was originally a

    means of suggesting that affective states are not static, stable mental ‘things’ (e.g., fixed

    qualities, traits, or characteristics of mind), but dynamic, gradient mental processes that

    must be represented and measured on variable, more/less scales (cf. Osgood et al.,

    1957). Western psychologists tend to agree about three broad basic dimensions of affec-

    tive experience: (1) a positive or negative evaluative dimension, (2) a power, control, or

    potency dimension, and (3) an activity, arousal or intensity dimension (see Table 1).

    The psychological view, at the most reduced level, is that people typically respond

    affectively to objects of appraisal9 (if and when they respond) mainly by feeling pos-

    itively or negatively evaluatively inclined toward them, and by feeling in some sense

    either in control of them or not in control of them; and these affective orientations

    tend to vary in intensity or strength. The resilience of psychological distinctions such

    as these for the past several decades seems to argue in favor of using related dimen-

    sions, at least, for comparing assumptions about emotive meaning in linguistics.‘0

    The issue of objects of emotive appraisal is dealt with in section 8.

    lo Osgood et al.‘s (1957) categories of

    evaluation, potency,



    are used to organize the list in

    Table I, as these have been the most widely recognized psycholinguistic terms in recent decades, and

    have been subject to the most rigorous empirical testing.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    Table 1

    Basic psychological dimensions of affect


    (+/-) Evaluation

    Wundt (1912)

    Osgood et al. (1957)

    Leary (1957)

    Gough (1957)

    Brown and Gilman (1960)

    Davitz (1964)

    Averill ( 1975)

    Russell (1978)

    Amdt and Janney (1983)

    Daly et al. (1983)

    Amdt and Janney (1987)

    Russell (1991)

    (+/-) pleasantness

    (+/-) evaluation

    (+/-) like

    (+/-) affiliation

    (+/-) solidarity

    (+/-) valence

    (+/-) affect

    (+/-) affect

    (+/-) ego-threat

    (+/-) affect

    (+/-) affect

    (+/-) pleasure

    (or affiliation)

    (+/-) Potency (+/-) Activity

    (+/-) relaxation

    (+/-) potency

    (+/-) dominance

    (+/-) power

    (+/-) power

    (+/-) strength

    (+/-) control

    (+/-) agressiveness

    (+/-) ego-nearness

    (+/-) control

    (+/-) assertiveness

    (+/-) dominance

    (or power)

    (+/-) arousal

    (+/-) activity

    (+/-) activity

    (+/-) intensity

    (+/-) intensity

    (+/-) ego-involvement

    (+/-) intensity

    (+/-) intensity

    (+/-) arousal

    (or activity)

    4. Emotive categories in linguistics

    An important question that naturally arises in connection with psychological

    notions such as those represented in Table 1 is whether they might be useful as

    underlying interpretive categories for a pragmatics of emotive communication. It

    would seem that their usefulness depends on the degree of fit that can be established

    between them and present linguistic emotive categories. Are psychological and lin-

    guistic emotive categories compatible? The issue of degree of fit is relevant for three

    reasons: first, naturally, because it invites us to consider where present linguistic

    findings fit into the vast body of findings about emotive phenomena in other

    branches of science (cf. Buck, Gallois, this issue); second, because it invites us to

    consider the extent to which linguists presently agree about the underlying nature of

    emotive phenomena per se (cf. Dane& 1989, and this issue); and third, because it

    invites us to consider the extent to which linguists are presently focusing on the same


    or at least related - phenomena as objects of investigation. The present section

    addresses these issues.

    Table 2 lists some categories that have been used in recent decades in linguistic

    studies of emotive communication. The terms are organized according to Osgood et

    al.‘s (1957) original psycholinguistic categories (evaluation, potency, and activity) in

    order to facilitate a comparison of notions of affect in linguistics and psychology.

    Assuming that at least some degree of conceptual fit between linguistic and psycho-

    logical categories is desirable if we wish to argue that ‘the emotive capacity’, how-

    ever we ultimately define it, is psychologically (in addition to socially and linguisti-

    cally) grounded, what is the present situation in linguistics?

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    340 C. Cani, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    Table 2

    Linguistic emotive categories


    (+/-) Evaluation

    (+/-) Potency (+/-) Activity

    Labov and Waletzky



    Hymes (1972)

    Gumperz (1977)

    Chafe (1982)

    specifying keys

    _~~ affectkeys_----___---____----__-

    intensifying keys

    involvement/detachment emphatic particles

    Irvine (1982) loaded terms

    Labov (1984)

    Tannen (1984)

    Ochs (1986)

    Schiffrin (1987)

    Hiibler (1987)

    Volek (1987)

    focus: indices of

    linguistic distancing

    from concrete events

    emphatic particles

    intensity maximizers

    intensity minimizers

    _-_-involvement ___~____~_____~~_____

    affect specifiers

    focus: indices of

    emotional interest in, or

    identification with, the

    topic, the needs of the

    partner, or the

    interaction itself

    ‘distance’ from the


    affect intensifiers

    ‘commitment’ or

    ‘position’ with respect

    to the message

    focus: indices of

    confidence or



    ‘attachment’ or

    ‘detachment’ vis-a-vis

    the speech act

    focus: indices of an

    emotive identification

    with the speech act

    evaluative excitizers

    emphasizers and par-


    unspecific excitizers and


  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. [email protected], R.W . Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373 341

    Table 2 (cont.)

    Authors (+/-) Evaluation (+/-) Potency

    (+/-) Activity

    Fairclough (1988) affect minimizers

    affect maximizers

    Biber and Finegan



    affect markers evidentiality markers

    focus: indices of

    positive or negative


    focus: indices of

    certainty or doubt

    @hs~dSchieffelin _ ___ affectkey~


    affect specifiers affect intensifiers

    Wowk (1989)

    intensity of affect

    Katriel and Dascal

    Besnier (1990)



    focus: indices of

    cognitive commitment to

    the belief, state, etc.

    expressed by the


    __________----involvement __

    ‘topical involvement’

    focus: indices of

    weak/strong attentional

    orientation to the topic



    focus: indices of

    weak/strong attentional

    orientation to the speech

    situation and/or the


    positive/negative affect

    ‘directionality’ of affect intensity of affect

    focus: indices of ‘self

    vs. ‘outside’ focus of a


  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Caffi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    Table 2 (cont.)


    Lutz (1990)

    (+/-) Evaluation

    (+/-) Potency

    (+/-) Activity

    ‘personalization’ of affect

    focus: indices of

    personal distance vs.


    Amdt and Janney (1991) value-ladenness assertiveness


    focus: indices of positive focus: indices of focus: indices of strong or

    or negative affect

    confidence or uncertainty weak affective involve-


    Table 2 shows that there are currently many competing emotive categories in lin-

    guistics, and these do not always refer to exactly the same ‘things’ (cf. Besnier, this

    issue). This lack of consensus at the categorical level, it can be assumed, reflects a

    corresponding lack of consensus at the epistemological level. Which broad cate-

    gories of phenomena are currently being studied, and how are these being conceptu-

    alized and labeled for analytical purposes (see section 7)?

    Linguists presently appear to distinguish most clearly between emotive categories

    related to the psycholinguistic dimensions of ‘evaluation’ and ‘activity’ in Table 1:

    that is, between (1)

    categories related to ‘positivelnegative’ orientations, e.g.,

    notions of ‘affect specifying keys’ (Hymes, 1972; Gumperz, 1977), ‘loaded terms’

    (Irvine, 1982), ‘affect specifiers’ (Ochs, 1986; Ochs and Schieffelin, 1989), ‘evalu-

    ative excitizers’ (Volek, 1987), ‘positive/negative affect markers’ (Biber and Fine-

    gan, 1989; Besnier, 1990), ‘value-ladenness choices’ (Amdt and Janney, 1991), etc.,

    and (2) categories related to ‘morelless’ intense orientations, e.g., notions of ‘inten-

    sifiers’ (Labov and Waletzky, 1967), ‘affect intensifying keys’ (Hymes, 1972;

    Gumperz, 1978), ‘emphatic particles’ (Chafe, 1982; Irvine, 1982), ‘intensity maxi-

    mizers and minimizers’ (Labov, 1984), ‘affect intensifiers’ (Ochs, 1986; Ochs and

    Schieffelin, 1989), ‘unspecific excitizers and intensifiers’ (Volek, 1987), ‘affect

    maximizers and minimizers’ (Fairclough, 1988), ‘the intensity of affect’ (Wowk,

    1989; Besnier, 1990; Arndt and Janney, 1991), etc.

    With respect to the ‘potency’ dimension, however, which is the central psycholin-

    guistic motivational category in Table 1, I there seems to be less agreement. Here, a

    variety of phenomena are presently being studied, and it is not clear whether all of

    them can, or even should, be included within a single category. From a psychologi-

    cal standpoint, at any rate, it can be said that most of these phenomena are related in

    some sense to approach and avoidance behavior. Leaving current linguistic notions

    of involvement temporarily out of consideration (see section 5), we can outline four

    broad linguistic categories that are commonly associated with the ‘potency’ dimen-

    I’ According to Volek (1987: 249), “the motivational structure of emotive signs appears as a crucial

    phenomenon, since their semantics is not based on representation, but rather on direct associative


  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. Cafh R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    sion: (1) categories related to ‘near/far’ orientations, e.g., notions of the ‘distanc-

    ing’ of language from concrete events (Chafe, 1982), the speaker’s ‘distance’ from

    the truth of the proposition conveyed (Ochs, 1986), the speaker’s ‘position’ with

    respect to the message (Schiffrin, 1987), the speaker’s degree of ‘personal distance’

    from the message (Lutz, 1990), the ‘directionality’ of affect (Besnier, 1990), etc.; (2)

    categories related to ‘clearlvague’ orientations, e.g., notions of ‘clear/vague’ signals

    (Wiener and Mehrabian, 1968), ‘clear’ vs. ‘fuzzy’ uses of words (G. Lakoff, 1972),

    ‘particulizers’ (Volek, 1987), linguistic ‘specificity’ phenomena (Arndt and Janney,

    1991), etc.; (3)

    categories related to ‘confdentldoubtjhl’ orientations, e.g.,


    of the speaker’s cognitive ‘commitment’ to the message (Schriffrin, 1987; Katriel

    and Dascal, 1989), ‘modality markers’ (Chafe and Nichols, 1986), ‘evidential cer-

    tainty and doubt markers’ (Biber and Finegan, 1989), etc.; and (4) categories related

    to ‘self-assertivelunassertive’ orientations, e.g., notions of ‘politeness principles’

    (Leech, 1983), ‘supportive strategies’ (Amdt and Janney, 1985), ‘indirectness’

    (Blum-Kulka, 1987), ‘face saving strategies’ (Brown and Levinson, 1987), ‘rela-

    tional work’ (Watts, 1989), ‘self’ vs. ‘outside’ focus of the message (Besnier, 1990),

    ‘linguistic assertiveness’ (Arndt and Janney, 1991), and so forth.

    In Table 3, the categories above are compared with the psychological categories

    discussed earlier. Are they finally compatible? The answer to this question seems to

    be a qualified ‘yes’, but only in a general sense. In order to analyze specific

    instances of emotive communication in terms of categories such as those listed in

    Table 3, a pragmatics of emotive communication seems to need various conceptual

    and methodological bridges: first, from a linguistic standpoint, it would seem that

    investigators need to agree in principle about how ‘emotively significant’ linguistic

    contrasts are recognized as such in natural discourse (see section 6); second, emotive

    categories like ‘positive/negative’, ‘near/far’, ‘clear/vague’, ‘confident/doubtful’,

    ‘self-assertive/unassertive’, ‘more/less intense’, etc., need to be connected with spe-

    cific types of linguistic choices (see section 7); and third - and an issue of deepest

    concern from a pragmatic point of view - a systematic interpretive account of lin-

    guistic emotive choices and their inferred objects and objectives must be devised

    (see section 8). Although each of these problems is naturally too complex to be ade-

    quately discussed in a paper of this length, later, we will make some modest prelim-

    inary suggestions about how these might be addressed. But before doing this, we

    would like to briefly discuss the present status of the central notion of ‘involvement’

    in linguistics.

    5 Involvement: An entangled notion

    As said in the preceding section, the lack of agreement in linguistics about emo-

    tive categories is particularly evident in the middle column of Table 2, in the cate-

    gories associated with the psycholinguistic motivational notion of ‘potency’ (cf.

    Osgood et al., 1957). If we look more closely at this middle column, we notice one

    term that has been used so often in pragmatics in connection with emotive communi-

    cation that it deserves special consideration: the term ‘involvement’. Here, we will

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafl, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    Table 3

    A comparison of psychological and linguistic emotive categories

    Psychological Evaluation


    Main positive/



    contrasts negative unpo werful






    Evaluation Proximity Specificity







    Evidentiality Volitonality








    present a sketchy overview of some current notions of involvement in pragmatics,

    making no claim to completeness, and attempt to clarify a few basic distinctions. The

    discussion will focus on: (a) what involvement is; (b) what involvement is opposed

    to; and (c) what linguistic units are pertinent to different studies of involvement.

    5.1. The notion of involvement

    The folk-psychological notion of ‘involvement’ is sometimes used in pragmatics

    as a sort of bridging category between the broad psychological categories discussed

    in section 3, and the narrower linguistic ones discussed in section 4. Involvement

    comes from the Latin involvere (in + volvere), meaning literally ‘to roll’, ‘to wrap

    up’. Still present in its etimology, is the idea of movement, with the mildly negative

    connotation of danger of potential entanglement. Understood in this sense, the term

    nicely encapsulates the idea that ‘getting involved’ in the dynamics of human emo-

    tive communication can be a ‘risky move’.‘*

    Unlike traditional linguistic notions of

    ‘expressive language’, ‘expressive derivations’, and so forth (see the discussion of

    Jakobson and Stankiewicz in section 2.4), which tend, in their code-centeredness,

    to presuppose “a person not in a WITH”,

    as Goffman (1981: 78) puts it, the folk-

    psychological notion of ‘involvement’ suggests immediately that emotive communi-

    cation has an interpersonal relational dimension. Here it is worth mentioning that in

    well-known psychiatric research, the parameter of ‘involvement’ has been used to

    ‘* In the Compact

    Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary

    (1971), ‘involved’ is paraphrased by

    “implicated, entangled, engaged”,

    and the substantive ‘involvement’ is paraphrased by “embarassment

    . entangled condition . complicated state of affairs, imbroglio”.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJ i, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 1994) 325-373


    assess ‘expressed emotion’ (EE) in schizophrenics’ relatives’ discourse (cf. Vaughn

    and Leff, 1976).13


    Linguistic definitions of involvement

    In linguistic literature, we find that the term ‘involvement’ is used in widely dif-

    ferent ways: for example, (1) with reference to speakers’

    inner states

    as precondi-

    tions of interaction:

    “unlike commitment, involvement is not a social but a mental

    state and, as such, it is not rule-governed” (cf. Katriel and Dascal, 1989: 291); (2)

    with reference to speakers’ emotive identifications with speech acts, as a sort of addi-

    tion or complement to the Gricean sincerity condition (cf. Htibler, 1987: 371); (3)

    with reference to uses of linguistic techniques and strategies as “conventionalized

    ways of establishing rapport” (cf. Tannen, 1984: 30): “conversation, like literature,

    seeks primarily to MOVE an audience by means of involvement” (cf. Tannen, 1984:

    153); (4) with reference to overall rhetorical effects, or senses of vividness evoked

    by the strategic use of narratives, reported speech, imagery, and so on (cf. Tannen,

    1989);i4 (5) with reference to speakers’ cognitive orientations to shared discourse

    topics (cf. Katriel and Dascal (1987: 285) on ‘topical involvement’), which, in some

    other approaches, are associated with notions of saliency and fore- and back-

    grounded information in thematic organization: and finally (6) with reference to

    metamessages of rapport, successful communication, shared feelings, etc., as means

    of enhancing social cohesion (cf. Tannen, 1989: 13).

    In the list above, we could say that there is a movement from an individual psy-


    orientation to an interpersonal


    orientation, via a


    orientation. Clearly, these three orientations call for different theoretical standpoints,

    rely on different assumptions, and refer to different designated realities (cf. Caffi,

    1992). Echoing Besnier (this issue), we can say that linguistic notions of involve-

    ment are presently heterogeneous. Involvement is a pre-theoretical, intuitive, rather

    vague, unfocused notion, which has not yet been employed in a technical way, and

    whose present use, even within individual frameworks, is inconsistent. As is shown

    above, the term is used variously to refer to preconditions (inner states), techniques

    (rhetorical-stylistic strategies), messages (messages of rapport, shared feelings), and

    effects (the result of ‘happy’ or ‘cohesive’ interaction) of communication. Deborah

    Tannen alone uses it in three different senses (see above).

    In view of this, it seems reasonable to ask which uses of ‘involvement’ are most

    helpful from a pragmatic standpoint. As to the usefulness of employing ‘involve-

    ment’ to refer to emotive techniques, we have already pointed out the difficulty of

    attempting to distinguish clearly between emotive features of language assumed to

    be embedded in the code and features that are contextually or cotextually condi-

    tioned (cf. also Stankiewicz, 1964: 266). The root of this problem is simply that in

    I3 We are indebted to Giuseppe Car& Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Universiti3 di Pavia, for having

    brought this to our attention.

    I4 It may be worth mentioning here that such strategies are called “figures of presentation” in rhetoric

    (cf. Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1958: $42).

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafi, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    studying emotive communication, we deal not simply with signs, but with indices, in

    Peircean terms: that is, we investigate signs which point to, or are associated with,

    things that may be emotively significant, but whose significance ultimately can only

    be decided on external contextual or cotextual grounds. The hypothetical, conjectural

    nature of indices of affect tends to make it difficult to avoid constructing corre-

    spondingly hypothetical, conjectural typologies of emotive devices (see section 7).

    As to the usefulness of employing ‘involvement’ to refer to inner

    states, we


    note that this practice has a history in psychology, where the notion of ‘ego-involve-

    ment’ has sometimes been contrasted to notions of ‘ego-threat’ and ‘ego-nearness’,

    and has been interpreted as a dimension of inner affect somewhat similar to Osgood

    et al.‘s (1957) ‘activity’ (cf. Amdt and Janney, 1987: 135ff.). One problem with this

    idea from a pragmatic standpoint, however, is that the notion of involvement as an

    inner state, like the notion of involvement as a message, is viable only as long as we

    can establish inferrable connections between emotive activities and their observable

    external effects. In a pragmatics analysis, as in everyday interaction, we do not usu-

    ally deal with remote ‘causes’ or slippery and fathomless ‘inner states’, but with

    effects. A partner’s hypothetical ‘inner state’ is a projected reality, a sort of impli-

    cature, hence defeasible, which can only be assigned by an act of inference (cf.

    Sbisa, 1990). Precisely because of the potential confusion between observable outer

    effects and inferrable inner states, the notion of involvement lends itself easily to a

    sort of circularity. As Besnier (this issue: p. 285) points out, some linguists

    presently seem to assume that “involvement is the result of the . use of involve-

    ment strategies, and the . use of involvement strategies is the result of involve-

    ment”. An ancient rhetorical notion lurks behind this critical remark: the notion of

    emphasis (cf. Lausberg, 1960), to which modem treatments of involvement add little

    additional insight.i5

    In order to escape this circularity, it would perhaps be helpful to shift from a tax-

    onomic point of view (focused on developing lists of ‘signs of involvement’), to a

    functional, inferential point of view that concentrates on investigating the mecha-

    nisms involved in the construction of shared presuppositions and background expec-

    tations about others’ feelings and attitudes. From such a viewpoint, involvement

    would be regarded as a kind of unsaid. The question would then become: what enti-

    tles hearers to abductively assign feelings of involvement to speakers? What types of

    assumptions, ‘display rules’, and inferences are required?

    If we were to start from this end of the problem, perhaps we could begin to pro-

    vide - more than ad hoc lists of ‘signs of involvement’ - lists of pragmatic con-

    straints linked to different types of interactions and different types of texts, which

    account for variations in the ways in which (and extents to which) speakers express

    involvement under different conditions. Rather than starting with definitions of the

    ‘emotive meanings’ of ‘signs of involvement’, that is, we would simply start with

    choices of words, syntactic arrangements, discourse patterns, and so forth that are

    Later (see section 8.2), we suggest that in order to add anything new to ancient rhetorical treatments

    of emphasis, modem approaches to involvement will have to ‘open up’ and incorporate the relevant find-

    ings of empirical social psychological work such as Wiener and Mehrabian’s (1968).

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. Cafi , R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    hypothesized to be of potential emotive significance (see section 7.7.2 on micro- vs.

    macro-choices), and then, using these choices as independent variables, we would

    investigate their uses and effects in different types of contexts and cotexts, looking

    for variations that confirm or contradict these hypotheses.

    5.3. What is involvement opposed to?

    As said, in psychology, the notion of ‘ego-involvement’ is sometimes opposed to

    notions of ‘ego-nearness’ and ‘ego-threat’ (cf. Amdt and Jarmey, 1987). In order to

    clarify linguists’ understandings of the concept of involvement, it may be useful to

    look at the paradigmatic oppositions to this notion in the literature. Glancing through

    some random examples, we find that in linguistics, involvement is opposed to the

    following concepts: (1) detachment (Chafe, 1983); (2) integration (Chafe, 1983);16



    (Tannen, 1984); (4)


    (Katriel and Dascal, 1989); and

    (5) sincerity, in the Gricean sense, as presupposed in ‘unmarked’ utterances in

    Bally’s mode pur (see section 2.3) (Hiibler, 1987).

    Again, these oppositions, like the definitions listed in the preceding section, are

    rooted in different conceptual frameworks, and are based on different (to a certain

    extent, incompatible) assumptions, whose discussion is beyond our aims. Here, we

    will just mention an interesting line of reasoning in Htibler’s (1987) discussion of

    involvement, which points to how we perhaps might conceptualize oppositions to

    this notion. Htibler argues that if the concept of involvement is to be analytically

    useful, it must be regarded a continuum: that is, we must regard both ‘detachment’

    and ‘attachment’ as ‘modes of involvement’ (1987: 373):

    “Either mode can be said to represent the speaker’s involvement equally . They just represent differ-

    ent solutions to the methodological question of how to externalize one’s involvement in terms of lin-

    guistic behaviour. The mode of attachment represents the mode of ‘living’ one’s involvement. The mode

    of detachment is a mode of suppressing it . the attempt not to appear involved is too obvious not to be

    communicatively relevant.”

    From a pragmatic analytical point of view, this is something of an improvement

    over the present situation, because it breaks with the simple equation of involvement

    with ‘emphasis’ (cf. Lausberg, 1960), and makes it possible to consider detached com-

    municative behavior as also potentially emotively relevant. Within this more dynamic

    notion, the rhetorical ‘forms of subtraction’, for example (reticence, ellipsis, preteri-

    tion, understatement, silence, etc.), can be regarded as ‘cold’ means of emotive expres-

    sion. This adds rich new possibilities for the analysis of emotive communication.

    5.4. Linguistic units in studies of involvement

    In present studies of involvement, it seems to be recognized - although not always

    foregrounded, as in ancient rhetoric (see section 2.1) and in Bally’s linguistic stylis-

    I6 Chafe (1983) speaks of the ‘involvement and fragmentation’ of oral discourse, as opposed to the

    ‘detachment and integration’ of written discourse.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication



    C. Cafl, R.W. Janney I Journal of Pragmatics 22 (1994) 325-373

    tics (see section 2.3) - that impressions of involvement result from clusters of lin-

    guistic, prosodic, and other features. Many studies mention (but few actually ana-

    lyze) the importance of prosodic and other vocal activities as signals of involvement

    (e.g., speech rate, frequency, rhythm; pitch prominence, contour, gradience, etc.)

    (for a review, see Selting, this issue); and a few recognize the importance of kinesic

    activities (e.g., gaze, facial expression, body posture) (for a review, see Arndt and

    Janney, 1987). But most studies tend to focus mainly on linguistic units such as the

    following: (1) channel (oral/written) (Chafe, 1983); (2) conversation (Tannen,

    1984; Katriel and Dascal, 1989); (3)

    narrative style

    (Tannen, 1989); (4)


    (Katriel and Dascal, 1989); (5) speech act (Hubler, 1987).

    The list shows that the linguistic units presently being chosen as relevant to the

    study of involvement - like present definitions of involvement (see section 5.2) and

    present notions of conceptual oppositions to involvement (see section 5.3) - are not

    homogeneous, and share no common theoretical framework. So far so good. But if

    the notion of involvement is to be incorporated into an integrative pragmatics of

    emotive communication - for example, an approach like the one advocated here,

    which takes psychological, linguistic, and rhetorical stylistic findings into account -

    it is clear that precisely from a theoretical standpoint, some crucial problems need to

    be clarified both at the local utterance level and at the global discourse level (see

    section 7.7.2).

    In particular, at the utterance level, it is important to clarify the relation between

    notions of involvement and modality, on the one hand, and between notions of

    involvement and felicity conditions (especially the sincerity condition of a speech

    act), on the other. Also, the relation between involvement and commitment needs to

    be clarified (cf. Katriel and Dascal, 1987). As is well known, the main linguistic

    means of commitment in the epistemic modality are Urmson’s (1952) parenthetical

    verbs, and modal adverbs like ‘probably’, which modify the ‘claim to truth’ of an

    assertion. These are called ‘evidentials’ in another tradition. If commitment is

    defined as a sign of subscription (‘neustic’ in Hare’s terms) (cf. Hare, 1970; Lyons,

    1977), then involvement, it seems, could be defined as the emotive subscription to

    the utterance. However, such a definition, which is to some extent plausible, would

    first have to be grounded on an empirical basis (see section 8).

    At the discourse level, it is important to clarify the relation between involvement

    and interaction-types and text-types, since these latter put constraints on the kind and

    amount of involvement allowed. A solution might start from an emit definition of

    contexts, as in sociological and anthropological work (cf. Besnier, 1990). Once

    again, however, here, we face the problem of the margins of freedom: we can start

    making inferences about partners’ behavior and about their involvement only when

    partners can choose among different, equally possible, communicative alternatives.

    Clearly, choice is much reduced, at times approximating zero, in highly ritualized

    types of interaction (e.g., institutional interaction). It seems evident that there is an

    inverse relation between the strictness of the conventions that are expected to be met

    in any given interaction-type, and the speaker’s freedom of emotive choice: the

    more ritualized the interaction is, the less apparent the choices will be that trigger

    emotive interpretations.

  • 8/18/2019 Caffi y Janney - Toward a Pragmatics of Emotive Communication


    C. CafJi , R.W . Janney 1 Journal of Pragmat i cs 22 (1994) 325-373


    6. Emotive contrasts

    Another step toward developing a unified pragmatics of emotive communication

    is to agree about how emotive activities are recognized and interpreted as such to

    begin with. What constitutes an ‘emotively significant’ linguistic contrast? The way

    this question is answered has important implications for how we finally represent

    emotive contrasts as objects of analysis, and how we explain them from a systematic

    point of view.

    6.1. D i vergence

    Following a line of rhetorical reasoning that goes back beyond Montesquieu’s

    (1758) Plaisirs de la surprise to Cicero’s (55 B.C.) concept of praeter expecta-


    and Aristotle’s (330 ca. B.C.) concept of


    and which figures

    prominently in studies of ‘style shift’ in sociolinguistics (cf. Gumperz, 1982;

    Labov and Fanshel, 1977) and literary stylistics (cf. Riffaterre, 1960),” we can

    hypothesize that emotive significance is associated mainly with features of dis-

    course that strike interpreters as being in some sense ‘unusual’, ‘unexpected’, or

    ‘surprising’ in the situation. The figures and tropes of classical rhetoric are essen-

    tially techniques for producing discourse patterns that diverge from “the matter-of-

    fact . presentation of thoughts” (Baily, 1981: 30).18 The notion that surprising

    divergence is emotively significant is very much in keeping with modem homeo-

    static views of language perception and cognitive appraisal. At the most reduced

    level, it is sometimes said, interpreters project something like hypothetical ‘further

    courses of events’, which are either confirmed or disconfirmed by partners’ subse-

    quent behavior. Unexpected events tend automatically to call attention to them-

    selves (cf. Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) notion of ‘relevance’) by destabilizing

    interpreter’s situational assumptions (cf. Amdt and Janney, 1987: 55-63). In home-

    ostatic terms, unexpected behavior leads to a sort of interactive destabilization,

    which triggers a post-destabilization reorganization of interpretive assumptions,

    I7 Selting (1985: 180) defines a style shift as “the alternation of one speech style with another speech

    style in the context of the same communicative event”.

    ‘s Such activities are dealt with in rhetoric under the concept of style (L. elocutio, ‘utterance’, ‘expres-

    sion’; G. lexis, ‘speech�