A tendency to judge that speech is only an instrument for making statements is rather primitive. Some people forget that there are a lot of different possibilities. The way we speak also expresses our emotions, attitude to people interrelations between the audience and the speaker.
Sometimes it is necessary to guide people, to warn them or to show somebody’s disapproval or approval or to make your speech sound more enthusiastic or encouraging. We should take all these into consideration while investigating the lexical meaning of words. Using such terms as “emotive” or “expressive”; “affective” or “evaluative”, some people think they are synonyms, for example, that an emotive word is of necessity also a stylistically colored word, or considering all stylistically colored words as emotional. But that is not the case.
So, let us agree that so-called emotive speech is any utterance expressing different human emotions. It is easy to find in speech a great number of syntactical, lexical and intonational peculiarities. Thus, by lexical peculiarities I mean special, emotionally colored words. The emotional coloring of the word may be occasional or permanent. Let us focus on the second. Lexical units acquire their emotional coloring, in other words, their affective connotation, in emotional contexts of particular situations.
The most common type of emotional words, as it seems to me, are interjections. The fact is that they express a lot of emotions without naming them: Ouch! My! Boy! Heaven! Wow! Ah! etc. The interjections may be derived from other parts of speech or be primary interjections. For example, if you describe something as a “drag”, what do you mean? It is boring, too difficult or physically exhausting? Certainly, something that is annoying or boring. We can find a lot of emotional words in everyday small talks or in the literature: ” I love Sibyl Vane. I want to place her on a pedestal of gold, and to see the world worship the woman who is mine. What is marriage? An irrevocable vow. You mock at it for that. Ah! don’t mock.” ( Oscar Wild “The Picture of Dorian Gray” Moscow Progress Publishers 1979 Volume One, page 170)
To express irritation, mockery or any other emotions the speech should possess some special traits, that would show the audience that the speaker’s emotions are very strong. The traditional word order is not used in such cases, but one can obviously find the inversion. More to that, very interesting and vivid examples of echo-conversations can be found in everyday spoken speech. Sometimes it sounds really amusing: “Why should I… ?” – “Stop why-should-I-ing!” or “Oh, come on!”- “Don’t come-on-me!” These are examples of mockery back-chat. It is funny to find brand new words like “why-should-I-ing” invented by the speaker in the moment of utter irritation. This type of emotional speech is definitely increasing in the speech of young people today, as the native speakers assume.
The emotionally colored words are opposed to the emotionally neutral ones. These words actually express notions (It is the so-called nominating function) but they fail to express the speaker’s emotions or his attitude towards people or the speaker’s mood. However, sometimes it is very difficult to tell the sets as they are not very distinguishing, there are a lot of mixed cases. Some of them may possess traits that belong to both. Many words are definitely neutral in their primary, direct meaning but absolutely emotional in the certain conversation under the conditions of the context.
Another group of words may be called “evaluator-words” which contrasts in speech to the neutral words. These words, while we use them in the sentences, can not only show the presence of emotions but identify or specify them.
Just to sum up what have been mentioned I would like to underline that emphatic and emotional words do not show emotions by themselves but impact these to the whole utterance in the combination with syntactic and intonational means.