Seminar on Language and Emotion


Jeanette Altarriba, Dana Basnight-Brown, Denis Burnham, Francesco Cavallaro, Jean-Marc Dewaele, Ludmila Isurin, Suzanne Knaller, Veronika Künkel, Renata Meuter, Bee-Chin Ng (organiser), Anne Pauwels, Alain Peyraube, Daniel Rellstab, Suzanne Romaine, Gesine Lenore Schiewer, Yesim Sevinc, Tan Ying Ying, Jyotsna Vaid, Xie Wen Han, Thekla Wiebusch

Seminar on Language and Emotion
by Bee-Chin Ng
30 April – 5 May 2018


A team of 17 international experts and two graduate students from different disciplinary backgrounds met from the 30th April to 4th May 2018 to share and discuss the most current research on Language and Emotion. The team also reviewed 60 contributions to the Handbook of Language and Emotion edited by Gesine Lenore Schiewer, Jeanette Altaribba and Ng Bee Chin. This volume to be published by Mouton De Gruyter in 2020 presents state of the art research from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The topic of emotion is central to many fields spanning arts, science and engineering. The papers and contribution discussed cover the topic of language and emotion from psychology and clinical psychology, healthcare, linguistics, anthropology, cultural and media studies, literature, law, art and design, philosophy, history, sociology, education, computer engineering, and economics.

The participants come from various institutions in Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Austria, London, Finland, Finland, Singapore, Kenya, Oslo and France. See below for a list of the 19 participants.

Over the 5 days, the participants took turns to present each of the 60 papers. The panel of experts then discussed each paper in depth and proposed amendments for each of the papers. The discussion aims were to focus on interdisciplinary links between the topics as well as to create a consistency in research rigour while maintaining diversity in voices and input. Another critical objective was to make sure that the knowledge presented is accessible and useful to both novice and experienced researchers.

Apart from discussing the contributions for the Handbook, the participants also had many opportunities to network each day during the breaks and in the evening. This has resulted in many exciting collaborations and scholarship exchanges. The inspiring atmosphere of the Fondation des Treilles provided the group with an idyllic and conducive setting for many sessions of stimulating and convivial academic exchange. This was not only invaluable for the completion of the Handbook of Language and Emotion, it cemented the strong network and relationship amongst the scholars. This intangible aspect of the time in Treilles is perhaps the most precious aspect of the experience as, we know, the network will be sustained for many years to come.



  1. Participants

As previewed, there were 20 participants of the workshop, among them, the three editors of the Handbook on “Language and Emotion”, and 15 additional experts from the fields of linguistics, psychology, intercultural studies belonging to the scientific committee of the handbook, the president of the Scientific Council of the Fondation les Treilles, Alain Peyraube, as well as the Directrice generale of the Fondation les Treilles, Anne Bourjade. The members of the scientific committee of the handbook present for the workshop came from the US, Australia, Singapore, and several European countries, among them Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and France.


  1. Preparation of the meeting

The participants each had been assigned to 4-5 papers of the planned handbook as main reviewers and to another 4-5 articles as secondary reviewers. They had been provided with the texts of the articles, the preliminary table of content of the handbook, and guidelines for reviewing some weeks ahead of the workshop for preparation. In addition, workshop participants could consult all available articles as electronic version on a platform provided by the handbook editors, in order to gain a better understanding of the planned handbook as a whole, and to compare the articles assigned to them with other papers. The librarian of the Fondation de Treilles had provided a small exhibition of books relevant for the topic of the seminar, that could be consulted throughout the week.


  1. Programme of the seminar and main activities

The seminar was scheduled for 5 days. In total, 59 out of the planned 144 handbook articles were available for the reviewing session.

The workshop followed the below schedule:

  • Arrival (Monday, April 30th)
  • General introduction of the handbook project and the aims of the seminar
  • Small group meetings between participant assigned to the same set of papers,
    to identify major topics for the plenary discussion (both for individual articles and arising suggestions for the handbook as a whole), as well as points of disagreement in the assessment of articles and in expectations about certain topics.
  • Plenary sessions with main reviewers presenting the content of the reviewed articles and their comments and suggestions according to the reviewing guidelines, integrating the comments of second reviewer, general discussion.
  • Concluding discussion
  • Departure (Saturday, May 5th)
  • One afternoon was reserved for visiting the landmarks and monuments in the vicinity


  1. Results of the seminar

All 59 Articles were reviewed according to the guidelines provided by the editors.

A vast majority of them was found suitable for the planned handbook, with certain smaller corrections. For some articles, major revisions were suggested. In the majority of cases, this concerned articles focusing on a small scale research question, instead of giving an overview over the field. In some cases, the language of articles written by non-native speakers was found to be an obstacle to a proper understanding of the content.

A major outcome of the joint discussion – underlining the importance of having this evaluation session uniting experts from several disciplines and countries – was the vast diversity of expectations towards the style and structure of a good handbook article. This diversity of expectations could be attributed both to differences between traditions of academic writing among disciplines, and across cultures.

Whereas the participants agreed that it was desirable not to impose the writing style of one culture or discipline on all others, it was concluded, that it belongs to the tasks of the editors to define the parameters and margins of variation, in order to secure the production of a coherent reference work.

Reviewing articles on topics not belonging to the reviewers’ discipline – as was often the case – proved a very fruitful approach to get an “external” perspective and to sensitize reviewers for methods, research questions and difficulties of other disciplines. The chosen setting resulted in

A number of additional topics for handbook articles were also proposed in the course of the discussions, as well as features requiring further standardization, such as references, footnotes, definitions, use of tables and diagrams, etc.


  1. Future steps

The workshop participants will provide their reviews in written form to the editors, which will share them with the authors.

Based on the preliminary results of the first 2 days, the editors were already able to have a conference call with the publishing house and set the next steps and new deadlines for the submission and publication of the volume, including the question of professional copy-editors that arose during the seminar.


  1. Organizational matters:

The Fondation les Treilles, by way of the directrice generale and the organization team took care of all matters both concerning the traveling and reimbursement of participants, their accommodation, and excellent meals. They also provided very professional assistance to the workshop, including technical equipment, photocopies, rooms for small group sessions etc. Coffee breaks and meals gave opportunities for informal exchange on topics of the handbook and future collaboration.
All matters and wishes were taken care of in an efficient, considerate and hospitable manner, allowing workshop organizers and participants to fully concentrate on the scientific content of their joint project. This highly professional and thoughtful organization contributed largely to the excellent working atmosphere and the progress made during the seminar.


Jeanette Altarriba Dana Basnight-Brown Denis Burnham Francesco Cavallaro Jean-Marc Deweale Ludmila Isurin Suzanne Knaller Veronika Künkel Renata Meuter Bee-Chin Ng Anne Pauwels Alain Peyraube Daniel Rellstab Suzanne Romaine Gesine Schiewer Yesim Sevinc Ying Ying Tan Jyotsna Vaid Xie Wen Han Thekla Wiebusch Langue et émotion - Language and emotion
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