The Language of Emotions

The case of Dalabon (Australia)

ORCID logoMaïa Ponsonnet | Dynamique du Langage, CNRS/Université Lyon 2 / Australian National University, Canberra
ISBN 9789027204073 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027269201 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
Google Play logo
The Language of Emotions: The case of Dalabon (Australia) is the first extensive study of the linguistic encoding of emotions in an Australian language, and further, in an endangered, non-European language. Based on first-hand data collected using innovative methods, the monograph describes and analyzes how Dalabon speakers express emotions (using interjections, prosody, evaluative morphology) and the words they use to describe and discuss emotions. Like many languages, Dalabon makes broad use of body-part words in descriptions of emotions. The volume analyzes the figurative functions of these body-part words, as well as their non-figurative functions. Correlations between linguistic features and cultural patterns are systematically questioned.
Beyond Australianists and linguists working on emotions, the book will be of interest to anthropological linguists, cognitive linguists, or linguists working on discourse and communication for instance. It is accessible also to non-linguists with an interest in language, in particular anthropologists and psychologists.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“In The Language of Emotions: The Case of Dalabon (Australia), Ponsonnet presents an impressively broad and competent study of the language and culture of the Dalabon people of southwestern Arnhem Land, the Northern Territory, Australia, ultimately focusing on their ways of talking about and expressing emotions. A reader with even a smidgeon of interest in the cultural and linguistic changes undergone by Australian Aboriginal peoples will find the book a great read, as did this reviewer. Ponsonnet provides insights on traditional culture, early contacts and recent relations with European colonists, the status of contemporary Dalabon language and culture, the dominance of Kriol, and the persistence of traditional kinship practices and interests. Her discussions of linguistic theory pertaining to emotion are thought-provoking on two issues: the difficulty of applying a scientific definition of emotion to Dalabon language practices (they are emotionally reticent) and the question of whether emotion language is best treated as expressive of internal states or as pragmatic action. The linguistic analysis is appropriate and meticulous, covering syntax, semantics, figurative language, and expressive qualities such as prosody and emotional behavior. For the comparativists, there are interlinear translations, tables, and a lexicon.”


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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 20 april 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.



Main BIC Subject

CFK: Grammar, syntax

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2014038340 | Marc record