Séminaires RALI-OLST

Genre differences in expressing knowledge emotions: A frame semantic perspective

Chen Lang (michaellangchen <at> gmail (point) com)

Chercheur indépendant

Tuesday 25 June 2024 at 11:30 AM  — DATE INHABITUELLE

Salle C-9019, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx — Diffusion simultanée sur Zoom

Knowledge emotions are emotions arising from the discrepancy between expectations and actual observations. They include SURPRISE, INTEREST, and CONFUSION, of which SURPRISE precursors the other two, INTEREST ensues SURPRISE if coping potential is high, and CONFUSION follows SURPRISE if coping potential is low (Silvia, 2019). Given the intrinsic relationship between knowledge emotions and knowledge creation and the status of research articles (RAs) as the key genre for knowledge creation, it is hypothesized that RAs differ from other genres in the way knowledge emotions are described. To verify this hypothesis, the present study operationalizes linguistic expression of knowledge emotions (knowledge emotion markers, KEMs) as lexical units that evoke relevant semantic frames and classify the semantic frames they evoke into three conceptual categories: experiencer focused (Just_found_out for SURPRISE, Emotion_directed for CONFUSION, and Emotion_directed, Experiencer_focus and Mental_stimulus_exp_focus for INTEREST), process focused (Stimulate_emotion), and Stimulus_focus (Stimuls_focus for SURPRISE and CONFUSION, Mental_stimulus_stimulus_focus for INTEREST). The frequency distributions of the KEMs and their expression types in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) were obtained after annotating the corpus by semantic frames with a deep-learning language model finetuned with the FrameNet data. A series of chi-square tests of contingency found that, compared to other genres in COCA, its academic portion, which consists of all RAs, is significantly more likely to describe INTEREST than other genres when needs arise to describe a knowledge emotion, and in the academic portion, INTEREST is also significantly more likely to be described from an experiencer focused manner. These results suggest that scholars tend to present themselves as having high coping potential when encountering discrepancies between expectations and observations. The present study contributes to both Frame Semantics and academic genre studies by demonstrating the capability of Frame Semantics-informed analytical frameworks in revealing the nuances in the semantics of academic texts.


Silvia, P., 2019. Knowledge emotions: feelings that foster learning, exploring, and reflecting. In: Biswas-Diener, R., Diener, E. (Eds.), Noba Textbook Series: Psychology. DEF Publishers, pp. 31–48.

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