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. 272–312
Emotion metaphors in an awakening language
Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains
Kaurna, the language of the Adelaide Plains, is an awakening language undergoing revival since 1989 (Amery 2016). Though little knowledge of Kaurna remains in the oral tradition and no sound recordings of the language as it was spoken in the nineteenth century exist, a surprising number and range of emotion terms were documented. A great many of these involve the tangka ‘liver’ followed by kuntu ‘chest’, wingku ‘lungs’, yurni ‘throat’ and yurlu ‘forehead’, whilst mukamuka ‘brain’ and yuri ‘ear’ are involved in cognition. The role of pultha ‘heart’ is minimal. But these are not the only means to talk about emotions. Muiyu ‘pit of the stomach’, a more elusive term, which may or may not be located in a body part and yitpi ‘seed’ are also central to emotions. These three terms tangka ‘liver’, muiyu ‘pit of the stomach’ and yitpi ‘seed’, appear to be viewed by Teichelmann & Schürmann (1840) and especially Teichelmann (1857) as seats of emotion. In addition, there are a range of other means to express emotion, simple verbs and interjections.This paper will discuss in detail the historical documentation, its interpretation and the ways in which this documentation is used today. In the context of re-introducing a reclaimed language, such as Kaurna, how to talk about emotions can become the topic of serious and sometimes unresolved debate. The title of a book of poetry (Proctor & Gale 1997) ended up having two translations, one involving tangka ‘liver’ and the other pultha ‘heart’. Historical phrases expressing emotions are often co-opted in names, speeches, poetry and written texts.
Keywords: Kaurna, awakening language, the liver, the chest, the lungs
Published online: 22 September 2021
Amery, Rob & Mary-Anne Gale
Amery, Rob, Jasmin Morley, Susie Greenwood with Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi
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