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Empirical Methods in Language Studies

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Edited By Krzysztof Kosecki and Janusz Badio

«Empirical Methods in Language Studies» presents 22 papers employing a broad range of empirical methods in the analysis of various aspects of language and communication. The individual texts offer contributions to the description of conceptual strategies, syntax, semantics, non-verbal communication, language learning, discourse, and literature.
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Negative self-evaluative emotions from a cross-cultural perspective: A case of ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ in English and Polish

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Abstract: This study investigates the socially grounded concept of SHAME in a cross-linguistic and cross-cultural context. The concept is operationalized through two adjectives instantiating it, namely ashamed and guilty in British English and American English and their respective equivalents in Polish. Since concepts such as SHAME are determined by a complex system of intersubjective assumptions and rules, it is expected that differences in their conceptualization will emerge across the three communities. Some of these divergences will have to do with the ideas of individualism and collectivism, as represented here by the Anglo-Saxon world and Poland, respectively. The approach adopted here combines detailed qualitative analysis of natural examples with multivariate quantitative modeling. This makes possible the identification of frequency-based patterns of language use, which, in turn, afford an insight into conceptual and socio-cultural models of the phenomenon under investigation.

Keywords: negative self-evaluative emotions, usage-based, manual qualitative annotation, quantitative statistics

1. Introduction

The present paper examines two specific instantiations of negative self-evaluative emotions, namely, the lexical categories of ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’, as realized by their adjectival exponents. It is a comparative cross-cultural and cross-linguistic study, whose primary goal is to investigate the conceptualization of these emotion categories in three distinct communities, i.e., British English, American English and Polish. These societies can be perceived as epitomizing two opposing worldviews: the individualism of the Occidental, Protestant and capitalist world and the relative collectivism of the Eastern, Catholic, post-communist reality. These socio-cultural differences are, among others, reflected...

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