Variations in how Students describe ‘Friendship’ An Application of Appraisal Theory

Mohammed Alhuthali


This study explores the link between cognition and emotion using concepts from functional linguistics. Appraisal Theory argues that all emotions are first articulated (actively or passively) before they are experienced. As with many essentially constructionist approaches, this process is influenced both by circumstances and previous experience. This study specifically tests if positive and negative framings of the concept of friendship use different linguistic formulations. If so, this provides some evidence both for the underlying theoretical assumption and the value of functional linguistics as a tool to understand the process. Appraisal Theory has roots in both Psychology and Functional Linguistics and this study aims to bring these two strands together so as to link the analytic framework from Functional Linguistics to the conceptual framework in the Psychological formulation. In conclusion, it was found that negative formulations used more complex language, offered alternative formulations and used words to indicate both the focus and to modulate the force of any statement. In the context of the study, it was suggested that positive images of friendship reflected their expectations of the behaviour of close family members.


Appraisal Theory, Functional Linguistics, Friendship

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