Article published in:Emotion, Body and Mind across a Continent: Figurative representations of emotions in Australian Aboriginal languages
Edited by Maïa Ponsonnet, Dorothea Hoffmann and Isabel O'Keeffe
[Pragmatics & Cognition 27:1] 2020
► pp. 20–82
The role of the body in descriptions of emotions
A typology of the Australian continent
This article presents the first systematic typological study of emotional expressions involving body parts at the scale of a continent, namely the Australian continent. The role of body parts in figurative descriptions of emotions, a well-established phenomenon across the world, is known to be widespread in Australian languages. This article presents a typology of body-based emotional expressions across a balanced sample of 67 languages, where we found that at least 30 distinct body parts occur in emotional expressions. The belly is by far the most frequent, and a dozen others also have significant representation. The study shows how the properties of these body parts – e.g., whether they are internal organs or visible facial parts – partly determine which historical scenarios led to their linguistic associations with emotions, and in turn, their semantic and figurative properties.
Keywords: figurative language, metaphors, metonymies, body parts, emotions, linguistic typology, Australian languages
Published online: 22 September 2021
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