A sociolinguistic analysis of emotion in Iranian culture and language use is developed. The work of Friedrich, Bateson, and others is drawn on to indicate how emotion is represented though metacommunicative, paralinguistic, and stylistic elements of language use. Communicative contexts in Iranian culture are marked in terms of two continua: one of personal and communicative intimacy, from "inside" (baten) to "outside" (zaher), and another of social hierarchy, from contexts indicating hierarchical relationships to those indicating equality. Affectivity in Persian language use is represented through intensification of a statement in relation to its contextual frame, through transposition of a linguistic form appropriate for one frame into another, or through culturally marked withdrawal from social interaction. It is argued that since emotions and psychological characteristics of individuals cannot be observed directly, attention should be focused on the expressive rules of culture rather than on "character" or "personality."