Cultural scripting of body parts for emotions: on "jealousy" and related emotions in Ewe

Pragmatics and Cognition 10 (1):27-56 (2002)
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Abstract

Different languages present a variety of ways of talking about emotional experience. Very commonly, feelings are described through the use of ¿body image constructions¿ in which they are associated with processes in, or states of, specific body parts. The emotions and the body parts that are thought to be their locus and the kind of activity associated with these body parts vary cross-culturally. This study focuses on the meaning of three ¿body image constructions¿ used to describe feelings similar to, but also different from, English ¿jealousy¿, ¿envy¿, and ¿covetousness¿ in the West African language Ewe. It is demonstrated that a ¿moving body¿, a pychologised eye, and red eyes are scripted for these feelings. It is argued that the expressions are not figurative and that their semantics provide good clues to understanding the cultural construction of emotions both emotions and the body

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