Language and culture
The goal of the focus is to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of language and culture in the experience and linguistic expression of emotion. Our research themes include:
- The language-emotion relation. Does the use of language influence the emergence, or the quality, of our emotional experiences?
- Emotion terms. Do affect terms reflect the way we conceptualize emotions? How can we study the meaning of emotion words in different cultures and at different stages within the same culture?
- Universality and specificity. What is common to all humans and what group-specific in the way we think of emotions and communicate them with language?
- Universals. Is there a small set of “basic” emotion terms that all languages share? Is the concept of “emotion” universal?
- Semantic variation. How does the meaning of emotion words change from language to language?
- Cultural variation. Do emotion words reflect cultural values of the community? Can the same word mean different things in two countries with the same language?
- Cultural transmission. Do emotions affect the processes of selection and transmission of material and immaterial cultural heritage ?
- Performance. How do performative practices affect the linguistic and bodily expression of emotions?
- History of emotion terms. How does the meaning of emotion words change through time? Do linguistic changes reflect changes in the perception of a given emotion, either socially or psychologically?
- Metaphor and emotion. Do we think of emotions in metaphorical terms? What are the consequences? Are there differences between languages and within the same language across time? How can we test this experimentally?
- Typology and ontology. How many types of affective experiences can languages distinguish? What’s the difference between a feeling and an emotion, for example?
The focus organizes workshops, colloquia and a yearly focus day, and hosts a selection of visiting scholars.
- MetaEmo project