Language is a means we use to communicate feelings; we also reflect emotionally on the language we and others use. James Wilce analyses the signals people use to express emotion, looking at the social, cultural and political functions of emotional language around the world. The book demonstrates that speaking, feeling, reflecting, and identifying are interrelated processes and shows how desire or shame are attached to language. Drawing on nearly one hundred ethnographic case studies, it demonstrates the cultural diversity, historical emergence, and political significance of emotional language. Wilce brings together insights from linguistics and anthropology to survey an extremely broad range of genres, cultural concepts, and social functions of emotional expression.