Research is reported in a framework linking phonetic exponents to communicative functions. From the heterogeneous field of emphasis, two areas are selected: positive/negative expressive intensification of verbal meaning, e.g. its delicious! vs it stinks! German data are collected in controlled monologues and dialogues. On the hypothesis that positive emphasis strengthens sonority, negative emphasis weakens it, aspects of f0, acoustic energy, duration, voice quality are tested statistically.