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In this paper, a sinusoidal model has been proposed for characterization and classification of different stress classes (emotions) in a speech signal. Frequency, amplitude and phase features of the sinusoidal model are analyzed and used as input features to a stressed speech recognition system. The performances of sinusoidal model features are evaluated for recognition of different stress classes with a vector-quantization classifier and a hidden Markov model classifier. To find the effectiveness of these features for recognition of different emotions in different languages, speech signals are recorded and tested in two languages, Telugu (an Indian language) and English. Average stressed speech index values are proposed for comparing differences between stress classes in a speech signal. Results show that sinusoidal model features are successful in characterizing different stress classes in a speech signal. Sinusoidal features perform better compared to the linear prediction and cepstral features in recognizing the emotions in a speech signal.