Article published in:"Happiness" and "Pain" across Languages and Cultures
Edited by Cliff Goddard and Zhengdao Ye
[International Journal of Language and Culture 1:2] 2014
► pp. 149–173
“Pain” and “suffering” in cross-linguistic perspective
This paper builds on findings of the author’s 1999 book Emotions Across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals, which tentatively identified eleven universals pertaining to human emotions. The paper probes some of those “emotional universals” further, especially in relation to ‘laughing’, ‘crying’, and ‘pain’. At the same time, the author continues her campaign against pseudo-universals, focussing in particular on the anthropological and philosophical discourse of “suffering”. The paper argues for the Christian origins of the concept of “suffering” lexically embodied in European languages, and contrasts it with the Buddhist concept of ‘dukkha’, usually rendered in Anglophone discussions of Buddhism with the word suffering.
Keywords: pain, laughing, crying, Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM), suffering, Christianity, Buddhism
Published online: 28 October 2014
Ekman, P., Friesen, W.V., & Ellsworth, P.
Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A.
John Paul II
Kittel, G., & Friedrich, G.
Laughren, M., Hale, K., & Warlpiri Lexicography Group
Oxford English Dictionary
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Thérèse de Lisieux, Saint
Cited by 11 other publications
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