What are the verbal signs of subjectivity?

I am doing research about the linguistic content of media (debates, talk-show, sport comments). It occurs that once the participant gets nervous or excited, the grammatical structure of the sentences and word choice (growing amount of modal verbs, judgmental adjectives, not politically correct nouns, dynamic verbs) can change.

That is why I am looking for sources that give me some research results about how emotions affect our verbal expressions (e.g., sentence structure, word usage, etc).

My research is in Polish and Dutch.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd be very interested in the outcome of your research. I'm studying how to identify author profile in written documents, and now going to study how spoken and written are related... $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2012 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulinaDymalska ngram analysis would be useful. Its being used to settle long time disputes on who made a particular quote in an analytic way and could be used in media discourse as well. You may view books.google.com/ngrams to get some idea. $\endgroup$
    – Ubermensch
    Jul 19, 2012 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ What about semantic analysis using NLTK in Python? $\endgroup$
    – mac389
    Oct 8, 2012 at 0:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you might be able to get an answer on linguistics. Unfortunately I can't migrate the question there anymore since this question is older than 60 days. In case you ask the question there, consider deleting this one after you have received answers. Also keep us posted if you post there. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Nov 15, 2012 at 10:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Better yet, ask this question on linguistics.stackexchange.com and then comment on both questions, linking them to each other. Then, when one question gets an accepted an answer, post that answer to the other question and accept it. $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Nov 15, 2012 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


This is by no means exhaustive, but is a beginning, as these links also provide links.

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A Neural Dissociation within Language: Evidence that the Mental Dictionary Is Part of Declarative Memory, and that Grammatical Rules Are Processed by the Procedural System

The following study links the effects of emotional arousal on these two memory systems, thus linking the effects of emotional arousal on speech.

Effects of emotional arousal on multiple memory systems: Evidence from declarative and procedural learning
Stephan Steidl, Salwa Mohi-uddin, and Adam K. Anderson

How Emotion Shapes Behavior: Feedback, Anticipation, and Reflection, Rather Than Direct Causation
Roy F. Baumeister Kathleen D. Vohs C. Nathan DeWall Liqing Zhang

A review of paradoxical performance effects: Choking under pressure in sports and mental tests
Roy F Baumeister Carolin J. Showers

Choking under pressure refers to the failure of a person to perform tasks that they are highly skilled in, when placed under pressure to perform. This could well apply to people speaking on a talk show.

This study shows the effects of various emotions on the actual voice quality, which is also useful.

Tom Johnstone and Klaus R. Scherer University of Geneva

  • $\begingroup$ Skippy, thanks for all of your effort on this, but I don't think any of these actually answer the question. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2013 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate that you are attacking this difficult unanswered question with gusto! :) However, it seems like you hit on some of the points, but the grammatical structure of the sentences and word choice portion (which I think is important, and why I think the question went unanswered) doesn't seem to be here anywhere. If I'm wrong, please include quotes from the papers indicating that aspect of it. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2013 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ It's fine that you did that, but I think tying it together with some additional prose to indicate the lack of direct evidence would make it a stronger answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2013 at 22:32

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