International Conference on Language and Emotion, Madrid, Spain, 23-25 November, 2016

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The International Conference on Language and Emotion (ICLE) was organized by the EMO-FunDETT research group and hosted by the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) on their campus in Madrid on 23rd-25th November 2016, with Professors Laura Alba-Juez (UNED) and Mercedes Díez Prados (University of Alcalá) as chairs of the organizing committee. EMO-FunDETT is a research group integrated by researchers from different countries whose main area of research is found within discursive-pragmatic studies from a functional perspective, focusing on the study of the relationships between language and emotion. ICLE allowed the research group to share their own findings on the topic while welcoming all contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to the matter. The conference brought together over 70 researchers and scholars from 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. All participants gathered for the 8 plenary talks at the conference, and 60 papers were presented in parallel sessions. The conference also offered an invited talk - “Emotional intelligence as a personal characteristic that affects communicative competence” - by Juan-Carlos Pérez-González (UNED), and a workshop on Eye-Tracking by Paulina Burczynska, from SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH. A very special and touching moment took place at the opening of the conference when due homage was paid to Geoff Thompson (1945-2015), sorely missed late member and mentor of the EMO-FunDETT group, whose work enlightened many of the findings being made public at ICLE. The first plenary was presented by Ad Foolen, Faculty member at Radboud University, Nijmegen (1975-2015). In his lecture ‘Laterality in language, emotion, and the body’, he illustrated how many words and idiomatic expressions are emotionally loaded, with examples having to do with the left and right part of the body, in particular the hands. Cross-culturally, the right side is the ‘right’ side, the left one is ‘sinister’. This difference in evaluation is, of course, linked to the fact that the majority of people are right-handed. This right-handedness, in turn, is linked to a strong role for the left brain hemisphere with regard to manual activities. He also provided the audience with an overview of recent literature that is relevant for the challenge to untangle the lateral puzzle. Jean Marc Dewaele, Birkbeck College, London, UK, in his lecture ‘How hard is it to recognise emotions in a native and in a foreign language?’ discussed the challenge of communicating emotions when the communication happens in a foreign language. He considered questions that have received very little attention to date: why do some people struggle more to recognise emotions than others? Is it harder to recognise an emotion in a foreign language? Recent research on monolingual and multilingual participants from across the world suggests that Emotion Recognition Ability of basic emotions is linked to a number of cultural, linguistic, psychological and sociobiographical factors such as having acquired two languages from birth. These findings have pedagogical implications and consequences for all areas of life where emotional interactions happen in a lingua franca. In the third plenary, Monika Bednarek, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Sydney, brought together her research interests in corpus linguistics, media discourse and Appraisal. Her lecture ‘Revisiting swear/taboo words - with focus on their use in US televisual narratives’ dealt with the use of ‘bad’ language in American English - in particular, what are commonly called ‘swear words’, ‘taboo words’, ‘curse words’ or ‘profanity’. Drawing on The Sydney Corpus of Television Dialogue (SydTV), as well as additional data, she proposed a new categorisation of the potential linguistic strategies around the use of swear/curse/taboo words, which shows how scriptwriters negotiate a number of language-external and -internal constraints to do with language use in 21st-century televisual narratives. Ruth Breeze and Manuel Casado-Velarde (University of Navarra, Spain), in their lecture “Emotions in Spanish Phraseology. A Crosslinguistic Approach from English” approached the study of emotions from phraseology. With a view to laying the foundations for a comparative onomasiological dictionary of phraseology in the field of the emotions, their work sets out some initial proposals for classifying various notional fields in Spanish and English (the absence of emotions, the inability to speak as a result of an emotional impact, emotional control and lack of control). Ian Wood, (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland) in “MixedEmotions: Mining Emotions in Big Data” presented the H2020 MixedEmotions project, which is building a big data platform for emotion detection from multiple modalities (audio, video, image and text). The intention is to make current state of the art emotion detection technologies available to European small to medium enterprises (SME’s). This talk presented an overview of the project and its capabilities, focusing on current research challenges and opportunities for emotion detection from text. Javier de Santiago Guervós (University of Salamanca, Spain), in his lecture “Léxico, emoción y relato en la retórica del discurso persuasivo”, which could be translated as “Lexicon, emotion and narrative in the rhetoric of persuasive discourse” discussed the idea that analyzing discourse involves its deconstruction in order to arrive at the origin of the idea intended by its author. In this talk two fundamental aspects were analyzed in the persuasive process: the selection of the lexicon seeking an emotional response by the recipient and the use of stories, which may facilitate the emotional interpretation of the message. Barry Pennock-Speck, senior lecturer at the Universitat de València - Estudi General and member of IULMA, presented the seventh plenary, under the title ‘Persuasion and Emotion: Exploring face and facework in educational settings’. He provided an overview of the face/facework framework devised by Goffman, (1956, 1967) and its development and modification by Brown and Levinson (1987) and Penman (1990). From this framework, he discussed on the connections between emotion, persuasion and face in interactions between teachers and students and peer-to-peer interactions. Finally, he looked at the connection between face and persuasion, particularly between teachers and students. The eighth plenary, by Francisco Yus, Professor of Pragmatics at the University of Alicante, Spain, and director of IULMA, marked the end to the scientific programme of the conference. In his lecture entitled 'The phatic Internet. Networked feelings and emotions across the propositional/non-propositional and the intentional/unintentional board’, Professor Yus argued that the extent of the phatic feelings and emotions generated through sustained virtual interactions cannot be reduced to their status as proposition-centered weak implicatures, and the analysis has to be extended across the propositional/non-propositional board (and across the intentional/unintentional board) with the addition of the term phatic effects, which are devoid of the qualities of intentionality and propositional shape, but are nevertheless essential to understanding why many users spend hours exchanging (apparently) irrelevant content. Two main themes covered the 60 presentations: “Language and Emotion at Work”, which included 45 papers on general topics on language and emotion, and “Persuasion at Work”, with 15 papers on emotion as a persuasive resource in discourse. Papers related to “Language and Emotion” were grouped in 13 panels exploring a wide and diverse range of perspectives and disciplines. The “Emotion and Humor” panel explored the difference between humor and mirth, and the reversal of negative emotions in US presidential discourse. The talks in the “Comparative studies on Emotion” panel compared conceptualizations in European and Brazilian Portuguese, the interplay between cultural background and language in German and Japanese, impoliteness in Russian and English literary discourse, lexicalization of emotion in English and Spanish, and the portrayal of emotion through vocabulary in the Estonian language. “Emotion in different texts and contexts” gathered papers on emotion and offence in law, the deregulation of emotions in politics, emotion and intersemiosis in graphical abstracts, the political discourse of Flora Tristan, and the emphatic communication in health services contexts and its placebo effect for patients. A presentation suggesting the revision of Martin & White’s affect and judgement subsystems based on corpus analysis and emotion research was the contribution to the “Evaluation and Emotion” panel. “Emotion in Spanish” included talks on types of verbal impoliteness and emotion, a cognitive and interdisciplinary classification of emotions in European Spanish phraseology, and epistemic modality and evidentiality in the expression of opinion. Regarding the “Emotion and para/extra-linguistic features” panel, presentations explored prosody and affective emotional responses, and emotion and oral skills in second language assessment. Talks on an intercultural perspective on stance, emotion and politeness in the article review genre, and the emotional and educational consequences of (im)politeness in the classroom were given as part of the “Emotion and (im)politeness” panel. “Emotion in the Media” gathered papers on the media and the use of emotion in the projection of stance, a contrastive annotation study of interpersonal discourse markers and generic variation in journalistic texts, the verbalization of emotions in collaborative newswriting, love discourse in sitcoms, and emotion and representation in newspapers’ advice columns. Presentations from the “Narration and Emotion” panel explored a cross-linguistic study on prosodic and gestural expressions in storytelling, the multimodal representation of emotion in digital storytelling, and a mixed viewpoint and Blending Approach to traumatic emotional discourse. The “Emotion and Syntax/Grammar” panel included talks on the syntax of emotional expletives in English, interjections in present-day English, and markers of epistemic (un)certainty in English and German. Papers on structural equations, and language and identity were included in the “Interdisciplinary Studies on Emotion” panel. Presenters in the “Emotion and Language-Learning/Education” panel discussed teachers’ emotional multimodal discourse, learners’ responses to emotion prompts in lexical tasks, students’ face-loss concerns in spoken L2 workshops, emotion and interpersonal features in teaching, the assessment of EFL learners’ ability to express emotions, and emotion talk in a university setting. Finally, emotions on corporative twitter, cyberemotion in students’ digital discourse, and responses to negative online feedback were explored in “Emotion on the web”. “Persuasion” papers were presented in 4 different panels. “Persuasion in the world of politics and economy” explored topics such as the persuasive effect of emotions in political discourse and as a mass-controlling device, the telltale quality of financial analysts’ recommendations, repetition and recontextualization in TV commercials, and a phraseological approach to the interpretation of customers’ wishes in hotel websites. In the “Persuasion and Audience” panel, participants discussed the interplay between fiction, evaluation and persuasion, and how attention is called for in nursing conference presentations. The “Persuasion in different texts and contexts” panel introduced talks on the discursive construction of newsworthiness in journalistic Facebook, emotion and persuasion in soccer, and (un)desirability and evidentiality in adverbs of strong perception. Finally, the “Business Persuasion” panel gathered papers exploring contrasting televised business pitches in Spanish and English, negotiation and turn-taking strategies, a sociolinguistic approach to persuasive discourse, linguistic elements for argumentative strength, the interplay between emotion and rationality in entrepreneur discourse, and non-verbal communication in business discourse. We hope the ICLE Conference has contributed to the comprehension of human nature through the exploration of emotions from a discursive-pragmatic approach and want to thank all those who participated in the event and made it possible. © Carmen Santamaría-García, David Ferrer-Revull, 2017

Carmen Santamaría-García

Alcalá University


David Ferrer-Revull

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)



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Copyright (c) 2017 Santamaría-García C., Ferrer-Revull D.

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