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Emotional grammar: Is there a relationship between emotions and grammatical creativity?


  • Toke Laursen

Summary, in English

The purpose of this study was to explore whether there is a relationship between emotional state and the degree of creative use of grammatical constructions. Based on previous literature on the relationship between mood (used interchangeably with emotional state) and creativity a hypothesis was formulated: Speakers in a more positive mood will be more creative in their use of grammatical constructions. Sixteen native Danish speakers participated in an experiment consisting of a general mood assessment (PANAS), two mood inventories (MI) evaluating current mood, two language production tasks (LPT), two tasks where eye blink rates (EBR) were tracked, and a mood induction task. In working with the experiment and the data the pheno-methodological triangulation (P-MT) was employed. This consists of three levels: 1st person methods (subjective perspective); 2nd person methods (intersubjective perspective); and 3rd person methods (objective perspective). Examples of use in the study: use of native speaker intuition for coding the data (1st person); discussions with co-researchers (2nd person); and correlation analyses (3rd person).
The analyses showed that positive mood was associated with less creative (i.e. less divergent) use of word constructions and morpheme constructions, contrary to the prediction. That is, the lemmas and their morphological changes used by participants in a more positive mood were less divergent in relation to the -KORPUS-DK corpus of Danish language. Possible explanations for these results are discussed in terms of research design, population, and analyses. The thesis has identified a research gap, and further exploration of the relationship between emotions and grammatical creativity, and maybe even grammar in general, is recommended.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (one year)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Emotions
  • mood
  • grammatical structures
  • mind and body
  • Danish language
  • linguistics
  • construction grammar
  • cognitive semiotics


  • Marianne Gullberg (Professor)