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From Motion to Emotion

Aspects of Physical and Cultural Embodiment in Language

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Edited By Marek Kuźniak, Bożena Rozwadowska and Michał Szawerna

This volume has its origins in an international conference on emotions organized by the Polish Association for the Study of English and held at the University of Wrocław in April 2015. In the course of the conference, it became clear that emotions are productively explored with relation to motion for the reason that emotion(s) and motion(s) constitute profoundly intertwined dimensions of physical and cultural embodiment reflected in language. The relationship between motion(s) and emotion(s) became the underlying theme of this volume, which comprises nineteen contributions presenting exploratory and applicative accounts of (e)motion(s) situated in topical research areas of linguistic theory, second language acquisition, and translation studies.

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Introduction: From motion to emotion

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Motion(s) and emotion(s) may be viewed as aspects of bodily and cultural entrenchment reflected in language. This implicates both figurative and literal understanding of motion(s) and emotion(s) as often intertwined phenomena. As emphasized by Fontaine, Scherer & Soriano (2013), understanding the meaning of emotion terms is a shared interest across the different disciplines that study emotions, such as psychology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, sociology, history and multidisciplinary cross-cultural research.

Among the issues traditionally studied by emotion theorists from the philosophical, psychological and socio-cultural perspectives are questions about how particular types of emotional experience (e.g., pain/pleasure, attachment-related affect, moral affect) arise and how the various types of feelings or emotional experiences interact with the motor systems (which produce actions, action tendencies or states of action readiness, and motoric expression of emotion, both verbal and non-verbal), central and peripheral physiological arousal systems, as well as attentional and memory systems (Koelsch et al. 2015; Moors 2009). Moreover, since emotion involves conscious cognitive appraisal, language plays a crucial role in eliciting emotional feelings as well as in their regulation, expression and communication. Both this complex interaction and the role of language in it are precisely the heart of this volume.

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