• Yusrita Yanti Universitas Bung Hatta


Basic emotion, Cognitive appraisal study, Figurative language, Function, Value


The present study investigates the basic emotions in the 2008 US Presidential Debates. Basic emotions refer to the emotional state or the strong feeling that is revealed through word use. In the presidential debates, each candidate conveyed ideas, information, and criticisms, and they also proposed a number of programs in the debates. In the delivery of the ideas, emotions accompany the speakers’ opinions. The emotions of the candidates were depicted in the words used. Such emotions can be a reflection of personal, group, and/or societal emotions as a result of an evaluation of social phenomena, situations, and conditions faced by people in society. Data used in this study were taken from three transcripts of the presidential debates between Democratic candidate Barrack Obama and his Republican opponent John McCain. All data were classified in terms of literal and non-literal expressions and analyzed comprehensively by using cognitive appraisal theory and other related theories that can be expanded in terms of basic emotion framework, function, value, and politeness framework. From the data analysis, the various emotions were verbalized through literal words or using vocabulary for emotion, figurative languages such as metaphor, personification, and irony/sarcasm; repetition of the same words, phrases, clauses/lexical bundles; and rhetorical questions. These words show how the expression of emotions reflects the function and values. This study is useful for improving communication skills to construct a polite, dynamic, and colorful speech.


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