Term of Art: Affective

“affective: (Function, meaning) having to do with the speaker’s feelings. E.g. one might say, as a neutral statement, ‘I have finished it’; or one might say, with triumph or amazement, ‘I have actually finished it.’ What is said is in other respects the same, but the utterances differ in affective meaning. Also of the intonations themselves or of other individual units: e.g. beastly is an affective form in This is a beastly nuisance.

Also called ‘emotive,’ ‘expressive.’ Affective meaning has been distinguished variously from cognitive meaning, propositional meaning, or the representational or referential function of language.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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