Human Emotions: Universal or Culture-Specific?


  • Anna Wierzbicka

    1. Australian National University
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      ANNA WIERZBICKA is a Reader in the Department of Linguistics, Arts, Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia.


The search for “fundamental human emotions” has been seriously impeded by the absence of a culture-independent semantic metalanguage. The author proposes a metalanguage based on a postulated set of universal semantic primitives, and shows how language-specific meanings of emotion terms can be captured and how rigorous cross-cultural comparisons of emotion terms can be achieved.