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PS R.Hickey ³Language and

Florian Peter
Grundstudium LN


 Theories of the emotions

 Comparison between some English emotions

 ³Happiness´ in an European perspective

 Culture- related emotions


 a field of semantics
 emotions and colours as well highlight and
sharpen the theoretical and methodological
conflicts in semantics

 ==> they illustrate how the study of linguistic

semantics is influenced by other human
science disciplines
 e.g.. psychology, anthropology, semantics

 uhy should we study semantics of emotions?

 Emotions are a subject in which nearly

everybody is interested in

 ==> 1. interested in our own feelings

 ==> 2. interested in the feelings of others

 in the last decade, there has been much

controversial discussion about:

 the nature of emotions

 the meaning of emotions

 ==> human science disciplines which deal

with such questions are:
 anthropology, psychology, semantics

 Founder of the ³Physicalist Theory of

 he asked himself the question if emotions are
essentially physical in nature

 fear for example depend on

 1. bodily symptoms like trembling, excitement
 2. our awareness of them
 ==> when we fear sth. we can also see it on
our body
 [ there are some emotions, as happiness
which do not have any prototypical body

 even so, there are some basic emotions like

anger, fear, surprise, sadness, joy which all
have typical body signs
 other emotions are declared as amalgams:

 delight= joy+ surprise

 Proponents of this theory say that each
feeling can be seen in the mimic of people
(facial expressions)
 these facial expressions match up all over the
 across language and culture barriers

 [ psychologists and anthropologists found

out, that there is much diversity and variation
 [riggs ¦nuit, Lutz ¦fauk, Rosaldo Hongot
 two main rivals in the basic emotion theory

 cognitive approach / social constructivism

 first one depends on mental processes
 ex. proud = there is a good reason for people
to think well of one
 ex. angry = on has been wronged and feeling
an urge to retaliate
 second one takes emphasis on the cultural
 therefore emotions are shaped by social
judgements, cultural values etc.

 in connection to that Geerts(1975) says that

³emotions are cultural artifacts´
 to tackle emotions across language and
culture barriers, one cannot use complex,
specific terms
 terms are not universal
 ¦faluk for example have no word for anger
 uhat do we have to do now?
 ==> we have to find words which have a
counterpart, like to think, to feel, good, bad....
 Linguists are not really interested if the
emotion are real,

 but as semantics is the study of meaning,

 it is about ³the meaning of the words by which

people discuss and describe emotions´
 ¦ordanskajas¶s work on emotions
 important points she highlighted:

 firstly: emotion terms of different cultures

really do not match up
 secondly: the task of linguists is about
analysing the meaning in such a clear way so
that a cultural outsider is able to understand it
 Aefinition of an emotion term should have two
 internal description of the emotional state
(good feeling/ bad feeling; active/ passive)
 reason for its occurrence
 she classified Russian emotions into six
 joy, anger, grief, fear, hope, surprise,
 main features for this division is the
experiencer¶s assessment

 if s.o. likes or dislikes the event

 if s.o. wants do to anything in relation to the

 uierzbicka on emotion concepts
 founder of the prototypical scenario
 inspired by the author Tolstroy who wrote
Anna Karenina,

 a book which describes a wide range of

possible scenarios and linked to that a wide
range of emotions
 ¦t is important to note, that emotions differ due
to subjective reasons for its occurrence

 Moreover it is important that one can feel sth.

without knowing the cause
 sth good is happening now
 not everybody feels joy, but when s.o. feels
joy s.th. good happened


 Aifferences between happy, joyful and

pleased depend on the use of it
 happy= self oriented or personal
 x feels happy/ s.th. good has happened to
me/ i wanted this/ i don¶t want other things
 so beside self oriented it is past perfective
and also implies further desires
 ex.:Are you thinking of applying for atransfer?
No ¦ am quite happy where ¦ am
 joy= could apply to other people/ not self
oriented/ has also a present perspective
 x feels joy/ s.th. very good is happening now/
¦ want this

 ex.: To his mother¶s joy, he won the first price


 sad: contains components like resignation

and acceptance
 ex.: ³¦f my cat dies, ¦ will be sad not unhappy!´

 unhappy: suggests a more active frame of

mind/ an unaccepting, active response
 ex.: ³¦ am unhappy about it´
==> could imply that s.o. intends to do s.th.
about it (like changing the situation)


 happy is a common and everyday word in

 joy is more stylistically marked

 but in other European languages words with

a meaning close to joy are used more often
 ex.: in German ³sich freuen´ and ³Freude´ are
used on a daily basis
 ¦n contrast ³glücklich´ and ³Glück´ are not
used on a daily basis
 beside the difference in frequency, it is
important to note that there is only a rough
meaning correspondence between ³glücklich
and happy´
 happy: a less intense emotion than ³glücklich´
 German ³Glück´: leaving no room for any
further wishes or desires
 happy has a more limited character
 ex.: ¦ am happy with this answer
---> ³glücklich´ does not fit in here
 so one has to use less intense words; in this
case words like ³zufrieden´

 emotion terms are culture related

 every culture has a folk psychology

 in connection to that emotion terms are

directly related to the values and priorities of
a culture
 apanese amae
 Takeo Aoi: ³[Amae] is a key concept for the
understanding not only of the psychological
makeup of the individual apanese but of the
structure of apanese society as a whole.´

 it is hard for the apanese to believe that

there no word in English for amae
==>´uhy, even a puppy does it´ (=colleague
of Aoi)
 Amae is a good feeling
 something like ³to presume upon another¶s
love´ and ³to take advantage of another¶s
 indicates that there is someone powerful and
well intentioned (x can do things for me/ x
wants to do good things)
 and because of this you are completely
protected (nothing bad can happen to me)
 Moreover you do not have to do anything
==> it is the responsibility of X to do s.th.

 Amae can exist in adult relationships like

husband and wife, doctor and patient,
but also in other relationships like mother and
 Thank you for paying attention