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The Role of Emotional Expressions in the Evolution of CommunicationEmotional expressions are rich communicative devices. What has been missing so far is a systematic analysis of what can be communicated by emotional expressions of different kinds. I introduce a general theory of the communicative moves the expression of emotions makes available. This theory builds upon Austin and Searle’s taxonomy of speech acts. This may seem surprising, because not every emotional expression is an act of speech. Yet, I will argue that there are important and so far largely unexplored similarities between the communicative dimensions of emotional expressions and speech acts that shed new light on the evolution of language.
georgia state university