In rhetoric, emotive language (also known as loaded language or high-inference language) is wording that attempts to influence the listener or reader by appealing to emotion.
Loaded words and phrases have strong emotional overtones or connotations, and evoke strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning. For example, the phrase “tax relief” refers literally to changes that reduce the amount of tax citizens must pay. However, use of the emotive word relief implies the tax was an unreasonable burden to begin with.
If something is emotive it makes people emotional. If you have just had your new bike stolen then your friends might avoid boasting about their bikes: bikes are an emotive subject for you at the moment.
Newspapers often choose emotive language (words) to get their readers to react emotionally to a story. If you call an event a 'riot' rather than a 'disturbance' you are much more likely to get your readers excited.
Studies commissioned by major companies have identified four main reasons behind the success of emotional appeals over straight rational appeals when used in advertising (and this is one of the most common uses of emotive language):
1. We're more likely to notice words with an emotional appeal.
Look at these examples:
* "Things go better with Coke"
* "The taste that satisfies"
* "Another Kodak moment”
These tell us nothing about the product, but each packs a strong emotional appeal, so we stop and we look, instead of skimming over the ad.
2. We're more likely to remember ads with emotional appeals - for the same reason that we remember the words of pop songs, but not theorems. We humans are emotional little critters; we use our emotions first, and then fall back on our intellect!
3. We're more likely to become involved with a product when an emotional appeal is made. Let's face it, there's no real, rational reason to form an attachment to a mixture of chemicals, smeared under the arms and designed to prevent the sweat glands from functioning, is there?
4. We're more likely to believe that a product will give us those intangible benefits the advertisers want us to believe in, when emotional appeals are made. We want - desperately - to believe that we will be more successful, popular, healthy, loved, important etc.
Teo Hock Bing
Teo Hock Bing