How about emotions? Two cultures and varieties of Portuguese


Nunes, Ana Margarida Belém


Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Portuguese, University of Macau, Avenida da Universidade, Taipa, Macau, China


The capability to precisely recognize and perceive the emotional state of a speaker is essential for successful communication. Emotion expression and perception have many universal characteristics. However, European Portuguese shows some particularities. Values obtained for neutral expression, sadness, and joy are very close, contrary to what happens in other languages. This phenomenon, which differentiates European Portuguese from other languages, may occur due to cultural factors. The main point of this study is to verify whether cultural aspects and different prosody and pronunciation of the same language affect the acuity of listeners’ recognition of emotion in spoken European Portuguese. To do so, this study compared the perception of European Portuguese (EP) speakers and Brazilian Portuguese (BP) speakers, given that they share a language but vary in terms of culture and portrayal of emotion. The emotions investigated in the present study include the following: sadness, happiness, anger, despair, fear, and a neutral state. Results have shown that EP listeners are better at interpreting their own emotions, but that certain emotions, such as happiness, sadness, and neutral state, present similar results in both groups’ interpretations.


emotions; culture; speech perception; European Portuguese; Brazilian Portuguese

Publication Date

June 7, 2020


Volume 7, Issue 1

Citation information

Nunes, Ana Margarida Belém. 2020. “How about emotions? Two cultures and varieties of Portuguese.” Language. Text. Society 7 (1).


author = {Nunes, Ana Margarida Belém},
title = {How about emotions? Two cultures and varieties of Portuguese},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2020},
issn = {2687-0487},
number = {1},
volume = {7},
url = {},


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