Emotion and sincerity in Persian discourse: Accomplishing the representation of inner states

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This paper deals with the presentation and evocation of emotion in performative face-to-face linguistic communication in Iran. Performance in linguistic communication is shown to involve the speaker's need to convey an impression of his or her own inner states. Since affectivity is one of the most difficult things to convey in face-to-face interaction, it is posited that a person employing successful linguistic performance skills must have a series of strategies available for demonstrating that he or she is truly conveying a specific intended emotion. This involves a two-stage process in which the speaker first signals that a message conveys an emotion, then signals the nature of the emotion being conveyed. In order to accomplish this, culturally prescribed symbolic elements are presented by the speaker that must be performed for others to "read" the emotional content of a communication. Added to the performative skills needed by the speaker is the requirement that the emotion conveyed be perceived as "sincere." This paper continues earlier research (Beeman 1986) demonstrating the effectiveness of speakers in Iran in creating the contexts for the interpretation of their own strategic communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-57
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number148
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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