Pragmatics and Cognition 10 (1):307-340 (2002)

This paper examines the different ways in which the body is linguistically codified in the Chinese language of emotions. The three general modes of emotion description under examination are via (a) externally observable (involuntary) bodily changes, (b) sensation, and (c) figurative bodily images. While an attempt is made to introduce a typology of sub-categories within each mode of emotion description, the paper focuses on the meaning of different iconic descriptions through the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM). On one hand, the linguistic evidence, from a Chinese perspective, attests to the emotional universals proposed by Wierzbicka (1999). On the other, it points to cultural diversity in bodily conceptualisation and interpretation in emotional experiences, which are crystallised in linguistic conventions of Chinese emotion talk, including certain syntactic constructions. This paper also demonstrates the importance of examining the language of emotions in emotion studies, and concludes that a full account of emotions must include the examination of the language of emotions
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DOI 10.1075/pc.10.12.13ye
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