When health mattersthe display of emotions as relational practice in genre-based cross-cultural contexts

  1. Hernández López, María de la O
ES: Revista de filología inglesa

ISSN: 0210-9689

Year of publication: 2012

Issue: 33

Pages: 115-141

Type: Article

More publications in: ES: Revista de filología inglesa


Drawing upon pragmatics and communication studies and based on 80 audio-recorded interactions, this paper examines the expression of emotions by English and Spanish patients in their discussions with general practitioners about minor health ailments. Considering earlier culturally-based studies that have detected a greater degree of emotional expressiveness among Spanish, rather than English, interlocutors, and that have concluded that English speakers tend to orient themselves towards implicitness and deference, the present study also aims to determine the following: whether the display of emotions is a culture or genre-based activity; the types of emotions that are most common in this context; and the extent to which these emotions vary in intensity. Consequently, the findings problematize the concept of culture as a relevant, but by no means singular, factor influencing a patient’s linguistic choices.