Emotions: Stative Formatting Of Knowledge About The World In Business Communication


The study is devoted to the problem of stative formatting of emotions in the sphere of business communication. Being the most important component of the human inner world emotions have a special representation in written business communication. This article sets out to investigate how emotions are manifested in the sphere of business communication, thus the purpose is to reveal and describe the way of emotional states’ representation. Extensive research has shown that emotions of a person can be linguistically represented through various linguistic mechanisms: hyperbole, epithet, comparison, lexical repetitions of phrases, numerals. It is highlighted that there can be other explicators of emotionality in written business communication. The main conclusions are the following: firstly, the sphere of business communication is characterized by emotional restraint because of its rigid structure, and secondly, the emotionality of a person in the sphere of business communication is presented as a property that characterizes the content, quality and dynamics of his emotions.

Keywords: Business communicationconceptemotionemotional statestate


Modern cognitive theory of language has paid substantial attention for the different aspects of linguistic interpretation of a human emotional state. It is defined as a state caused by any emotion or response of a person to internal and external changes. The main link between the emotional state and its verbal manifestation is language. It is an anthropocentric system which is the so-called prism through which a person learns both the surrounding and his inner world. Thus, with the help of language a human can represent his emotional state.

Nowadays the impact on the emotional state of a human occurs in almost all areas of his life, especially in the field of business communication. Today it is one of the most developed and important areas in which its various forms coexist. In the field of business communication, communication itself plays the role of a means of interaction of team members, acts as a means of ensuring the achievement of business goals and cooperation, as well as a means of influencing the emotional state of a potential client of a company. In everyday communication, human emotions are usually manifested openly, but the business sphere is characterized by emotional restraint which does not exclude the presence of an emotional component in it.

The present study offers an overview of linguistic mechanisms that allow showing and detecting emotions and emotional states of a human when interacting in business communication. Despite the fact that the expression of emotions in this area is limited we argue that active development of business today significantly expands the possibilities of verbalization of emotional state in this area.

Problem Statement

The study of the emotions of the human being has been conducted since ancient times in various fields of science: psychology, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, medicine, psycholinguistics, etc. From the standpoint of physiology, human emotions have been studied by Anokhin (1964). In his research, he noted that the emotional state of a person is “a physiological state of the body, which has a strong subjective colouring and which covers all kinds of feelings and experiences of a human, ranging from deeply traumatic suffering to high forms of joy and social sensations”. From the point of view of psychology, human emotions are considered differently. Among the researchers involved in the study of the emotional part of a human Levitov (2015) was one of the first who argued that the term “state” as the emotional component is not applicable in other spheres except the sphere of human mental activity. As the psychologist Izard (2008) points out the emotional system of a person rarely functions independently from other systems. The functioning of the individual depends on how well the activities of the perceptual, cognitive, emotional and motor systems are balanced and integrated.

States that occur when a person percepts objects and events at a basic level are implemented in the following meanings: the experience of sensory perception (feel), emotional reaction (be glad, be angry, be sad, be afraid, be disgusted). Interpreting a feeling as a state in which a person is able to be aware of the world around him we can assume that the basic level of stative conceptualization of sense perception of the world is represented by the verbs of the senses fell, see, smell, taste, hear in accordance with the five senses.

The discussion of the problem related to the verbalization of emotional states by linguists led to the emergence of a fairly large number of proposed classifications of emotional states. It is worth noting that they differ not only in the number of emotions allocated but also the grounds underlying a particular classification. Most of the outstanding researchers engaged in the study of emotions distinguish a fairly wide range of them. For example, from the point of view of traditional linguistics emotional states are divided into two large groups:

  • positive / favourable emotional states;

  • negative/unfavourable emotional states.

All other existing emotions and states are variants of their combinations with different degrees of intensity.

For example, Leontiev (2002) proposed as the main criterion the source of the origin of emotions and emotional states and identified six main groups:

  • emotional states which are connected with satisfaction or dissatisfaction of personal needs;

  • emotional states that arise when comparing a person and his actions with certain norms, rules, standards natural to the person;

  • emotional states that arise when comparing the object with social norms and beliefs;

  • emotional states arising from the interaction of people with each other;

  • emotional states arising in connection with other people's needs;

  • emotional states arising on the basis of contempt.

In our study, we adhere to the classification of the American scientist Ekman (1992a) who explores the emotional state of a human from the point of view of psycholinguistics. In his opinion, emotion can be considered basic for a person in the case where it is possible to correlate it with an easily identifiable expression of a person's face. Ekman (1992b) believes that absolutely any person has seven basic (innate) emotional states: happiness, amazement, grief, anger, disgust, disdain, fear (Ekman, Friesen, & Ellsworth, 1972).

Stative conceptualization of the emotional reactions of the person is represented by the basic emotions: fear, disgust, sadness, anger, enjoyment (figure 01 ).

Figure 1: Stative conceptualization of the emotional reactions
Stative conceptualization of the emotional reactions
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Colours, the chosen shape and the combination of the basic emotional states in figure 01 convey such characteristics as duration, increase / decrease in degree, uncontrollability, phase and variability.

According to Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, & O'Connor (1987) classification, which was developed in the works of Parrott (2001), emotions can be divided in order of their occurrence into primary, secondary and tertiary.

These and many other classifications are aimed at understanding the entire spectrum of human emotional reactions, structuring the experience of their feelings. It should be specially noted that a person is endowed with such socially formed mental regulator as sense of conscience - the ability to control their behavior with the help of social measures, to assess their own "I" through the eyes of other people. In the presented classification of Shaver et al. (1987), the secondary manifestation of this emotional state in a person is indicative, since the variable nature of the possibility of its formation leads to its absence in the basic set of emotional states of a person.

At the present moment the emotional and sensual sphere of a person in the English language is represented by more than 4000 words. It indicates the undoubted importance and dominant position of the stative concepts of feelings and emotions in the human linguistic cognition. As noted earlier, the emotional state of a person is an integral part of communication and can both unite and divide its participants. Communication as a phenomenon penetrates into absolutely all spheres of human life because with the help of it a person has the opportunity to build relationships with other people to establish contacts. One of the most modern and most developed areas today is the sphere of business communication.

According to Panfilova (2004), business communication is a process of interaction of business partners aimed at the organization and optimization of a particular type of their activities. Different companies use various forms of business communication: advertising texts, meetings, business discussions, letters, press conferences, commercial offers etc. It is considered that business communication is one of the main working tools of any businessman. Since modern business is a complex production, including the disposal of material resources of any company, team management, it is worth noting that communication plays not only the role of a means of interaction of team members, but also a means of achieving business goals and cooperation with other companies (Panfilova, 2004). In this case it is the effectiveness of communication that determines the financial position of the company as effective communication in business is one of the steps to success in managing the team and the company as a whole.

Thus, it can be concluded that business communication is characterized not only by a specific purpose, rules and norms, but also at the same time acts as a means of regulating the relationships of communicants. These factors also affect the language of business communication itself which is characterized as standardized, clichéd and emotionless. However, due to the rapid and active development of the business sector, some deviations from the generally accepted norm have become possible.

The presence in business communication of the emotive component, by which we mean external translation of the emotional state of the linguistic personality (Ilyin, 2001) is explained by the fact that the interaction of interlocutors is based on interest – obtaining material benefits, and interest, in turn, is the basis of motivation of communicants.

Figure 2: Interaction of human interests, motives and emotions
Interaction of human interests, motives and emotions
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Motives of business communication participants are always accompanied by emotions and feelings. Thus, the relationship of interests, motives and emotions allows us to talk about the emotivity of the sphere of business communication.

Research Questions

Taking into account the fact that the sphere of business communication is the sphere which is characterized by various rules and norms that must be followed for successful interaction with communication partners it is still allowed there to display human emotions. Thus, the main question becomes how emotions are manifested in this sphere.

Purpose of the Study

The article aims at revealing and describing the way of emotional states’ representation in the sphere of business communication.

Research Methods

In this study a descriptive method is used while working with the theoretical material, and a continuous sampling method is used while working with the practical material. The main specific scientific method of research is the conceptual analysis of language material.


It is axiomatic that human emotions in language have a particular linguistic representation, but the verbalization of the emotions of communicants in written interaction is more limited than in oral form because of the established rules. In written business communication, person's emotions can be linguistically represented through various linguistic mechanisms. For example:

  • hyperbole (the highest professional standards, two super silo, the best way to get a lot of profit, highly competitive, etc);

  • epithet (e.g. frustrating, numeric cold calls, numeric hot calls golden opportunity, high-profile marketing agency, etc);

  • comparison (other organizations like yours, unsuccessful methods like cold calling, we are seeking partners with like-minded businesses, etc);

  • lexical repetitions of phrases (we are pleased to propose, the price of the product, our quality, the time of delivery, etc);

  • numerals (over the last 23 years, we composed a portfolio of 5.5 million, spending has increased by $2 million, etc).

It is worth noting that lexical mechanisms are not the only explicators of emotionality in written business communication. The emotional state of a person, for example, in the text of a letter, can be also verbalized by:

  • graphic design of the text (for example, The PRICE of this CONTRACT, The AUTHORITY shall deliver said, etc.);

  • links to any external factors (sanctions, embargo, tariffs, etc).

Different types of highlighting in the text are aimed at drawing attention to the designated object, structuring the entire text, better memorizing the selected words and expressions by the addressee of the message.


The knowledge of the world in a person's mind is presented in the form of various concepts interconnected with each other. A person, being a carrier of a conceptual system represented by different formats of knowledge, can interpret his state with the help of various mechanisms. As part of the modern developing world, a person verbalizes his state, for example, emotional, directly or indirectly, depending on the sphere of his interaction. Speaking about the sphere of business communication, as a rather structured, clichéd sphere with its own rules and regulations, it is worth noting that the emotional state of a person in this sphere is represented limitedly. A person needs to follow the rules of communication in business, so he needs to know how to build communication with a partner. Since most of the communication of a business person is written communication, a person needs not only to comply with the rules and regulations of written communication, but also to select the appropriate means of verbalization of his emotional state. The practical material of written business communication analyzed by us showed that a person in the conduct of business correspondence uses such means as hyperbole, epithets, comparisons, numerals, lexical repetitions of phrases. Also, there are cases of representation of emotional states by means of graphic selection in the text or references to external factors.


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20 April 2020

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Discourse analysis, translation, linguistics, interpretation, cognition, cognitive psychology

Cite this article as:

Pavlova, A. V., & Pogrebovskaya, Y. D. (2020). Emotions: Stative Formatting Of Knowledge About The World In Business Communication. In A. Pavlova (Ed.), Philological Readings, vol 83. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 781-787). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.04.02.92