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«Eating Regret and Seeing Contempt» – A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to the Language of Emotions in Igala (Nigeria)

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Lillian Brise

This book deals with the expression of emotions in Igala – a Nigerian minority language with about two million speakers – from a Cognitive Linguistics perspective. The author investigates the network of the Igala language of emotions using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) framework as developed by Anna Wierzbicka and her collaborators. The claims of adequacy of NSM in its present form for the analysis of emotion concepts universally will be challenged. This is due to the way emotions are conceptualized in the Igala language and due to the absence of certain semantic primes which are considered necessary for the analysis of emotions.Therefore, this study presents a testing ground for further development of the framework as well as a peek into research in African languages.

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Chapter Two: Previous Research on Emotions and State of the Field

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Chapter Two

Previous Research on Emotions and State of the Field

Overview

This chapter focuses on the review of literature related to the development of the scientific study of emotions, especially in relation to language. The chapter shall examine the historical development of the study of emotions as well as the different directions in which research in the field has gone. A review of literature relating to the methodology used in the analysis of data for this thesis will also form part of the chapter. We shall briefly discuss the major theories in the field but our focus shall be on cognitive linguistic theories of research and this focus shall be narrowed down to the approaches relevant to this study, namely the approaches proposed by Anna Wierzbicka via the use of semantic primes and semantic explications.

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