Slavic 426 Ways of Feeling:

Expression of Emotions across Languages and Cultures

Winter 2016


Instructor:                  Katarzyna Dziwirek                            Telephone:     543-7691

Office:                         Padelford A217                                  e-mail:  

Office Hours:             Tue and Thu 1:30-2:20 and by appointment


Class website:   



ð Textbook:

& Wierzbicka, Anna. 1999. Emotions Across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ð Novel:

& Haden Elgin, Suzette. 2000. Native Tongue. New York: The Feminist Press.

ð Readings on canvas


Learning objectives/goals:

1. Learning about the diversity of cultural attitudes to emotions

2. Learning about the diversity of linguistic expressions of emotions

3. Learning a culture-free semantic description

4. Emotions as evolving concepts over time




uReadings: This is a reading-intensive course. Do not let this scare you! The readings are v. good! You will learn much! Start reading Native Tongue right away, so that you are ready to discuss it in week 10. All readings are in English, and no prior specialized knowledge of Slavic languages or linguistics is required. Reading the texts discussed in the class prior to that class is a must.


vClass Participation: You should be prepared to discuss assigned texts in class. Don’t just read, think about what you are reading and have an opinion! This class works when people care about what they have read and want to talk about it.


w Short research projects (no email submissions, spacing irrelevant, citations required, good writing encouraged, best papers will be posted on the class website/canvas)


#1 Attitudes to Emotions in your culture (January 26) Does your culture encourage emotional expression? What emotions are appropriate to display in public by men, women, children? What physical correlates of emotion are “allowed”: loud laughter, wailing, weeping, jumping for joy, etc.? What do restrictions on emotional expression tell us about the underlying cultural values? (3-4 pages) See examples on the class website.


#2 Embodied emotions/The human face There are two parts to this project: 1) Start developing a collection of authentic emotion expressions (no models grinning at the paparazzi). It can be on paper or electronic (10 points). Bring your collection to class on February 2 to discuss and test others’ ability to recognize facial correlates of emotions. 2) Analyze what features of the face and body convey a specific emotion most clearly and what different images of one emotion have in common. Can different emotions have similar facial expressions? Due February 11 (2-3 pages, 20 points) See examples on the class website.


#3 Special emotion words in your language (February 23). Does “your language” have unique emotion words? If so, discuss and define them. If not, comment on how concepts discussed in the readings in weeks 5 and 6 relate to words and concepts in your language. (3-4 pages)


#4 “Anger” in your language (March 10) How do people talk about anger in “your language”? What are the key words, expressions and metaphors. When is it appropriate to display anger in your culture? Who can show anger in public? (3-4 pages) See examples on the class website.


# 5 Emotions: Universal or Culture-Specific? (March 15) This is the final project, a reflection on the course themes, the readings, class discussions, and your conclusions about them: where do you stand on the existence of universal/basic human emotions? Do people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds feel anger, love, pity, sadness, etc. differently partially due to the language they speak? their gender? Or do we all, due to our shared heritage as human beings, experience emotions similarly? The paper should reflect what you learned in the class and refer to the readings and class discussions. (5-6 pages)


Honors students:


Term paper (7-10 pages) INSTEAD OF SHORT PAPER #5: You should discuss your project with the instructor and by February 18 email the instructor with your topic and three references (at least 2 print) you plan to use. See the class website for hints on How to write a research paper, consult the Selected References file, and check out Past student paper topics. The final project includes an oral presentation of your research with a handout on March 10 and 12. Students who receive a course grade of 3.9 or higher are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration for the Slavic Department’s Excellence Prize ($$$). Papers due March 15. No email submissions, no extensions, yes incompletes.


Slavic 426 and CHID 498B students may choose to write a final term paper instead of short project #5. If they elect to do so, they should follow the guidelines above.


Honors students are encouraged to archive items from this course in their Honors learning portfolios. Readings, lecture notes, visual materials, music, poems, syllabi, tests, papers, etc., are examples of items that might assist with reflection on experiential learning and ways of thinking within and across disciplines. The Honors electronic learning portfolios span students’ undergraduate years and are best used as an ongoing, dynamic forum for the integration of knowledge. In addition to archiving items, students are also asked to take a few minutes to write-up a paragraph or two describing the significance of the archived items and how what they learned in the course contributed to their larger experiences, goals, and thoughts about education and learning.





Final grade based on the number of points achieved and class participation. Total points = 160: short research projects #1-4 = 120 (4 x 30), short research project #5= 40. Honors students: Total points 200: short research projects #1-4 = 120 (4 x 30), term paper = 80 (paper =50, presentation = 15, handout = 15). Slav 426 students who chose to do the final paper instead of short research project #5  = 200 points.


Slavic 426: Course Outline and Reading List

T = textbook


WEEK 1:       What are emotions? How do people talk about them?


January 5

Introduction to the course themes and topics


January 7

T Chapters 1, 2 (Introduction, Defining emotional concepts)


WEEK 2:       Introduction to Metaphor, Cultural Attitudes to Emotion


January 12

Zoltan Kovecses, Metaphor and Emotion Chapters 1-2 

Eric G. Wilson, Against Happiness: Introduction and Conclusion

Anna Wierzbicka, “Happiness” in cross-linguistic & cross-cultural perspective

Ruth Whippman, America the Anxious (NYT)


January 14

T Chapter 6 (Emotional norms across languages and cultures: Polish vs. Anglo-American)

Dmitrij Dobrvol’skij and Elisabeth Piirainen, Idioms of FEAR: A Cognitive Approach


WEEK 3:       Cultural Attitudes to Emotion


January 19


Hazel Rose Markus and Shinobu Kitayama, The Cultural Construction of Self and Emotion: Implications for Social Behavior

Rie Hasada, Cultural Scripts: glimpses into the Japanese emotion world

Ake Daun, Swedishness as an Obstacle in Cross-Cultural Interaction


January 21


Wendy Langford, Bunnikins, I love you snuggly in your warren

Richard Wilkins and Elisabeth Gareis, Emotion expression and the locution ‘‘I love you’’: A cross-cultural study

Catherine, Caldwell-Harris, et al. Do more say less: Saying “I love you” in Chinese and American



WEEK 4:       Physical Correlates of Emotions


January 26

· Part of Human Language video

T Chapter 5 (Russian emotional expression)

T Chapter 4 (Reading Human Faces)

Lisa Feldman Barrett, What faces can’t tell us (NYT)

! Short research project #1 due


January 28

Cenita Kupperbusch, et al. Cultural Influences on Nonverbal Expressions of Emotion

Zhengdao Ye, Why the “inscrutable” Chinese face? Emotionality and facial expression in Chinese

Ning Yu, Metaphor, Body and Culture: The Chinese understanding of gallbladder and courage

Iwona Kraska-Szlenk, Metaphor and metonymy in the semantics of body parts


· Videos on body language and gesture


WEEK 5:       Emotional Diversity? Culture-Specific Conceptualizations of Emotions


February 2

$ Discussion of image collections

Anna Wierzbicka, Semantics, Culture, and Cognition, Chapter 3 (Are emotions universal or culture specific?)


February 4

Anna Wierzbicka, Semantics, Culture, and Cognition, Chapter 4 (Describing the Indescribable)


WEEK 6:       Culture-Specific Conceptualizations of Emotions continued


February 9

Catherine Travis, Omoiyari as a core Japanese value: Japanese style empathy?[1]

Rie Hasada, Two “virtuous emotions” in Japanese: Nasake/joo and jihi

Irina B. Levontina and Anna A. Zalizniak: Human Emotions viewed through the Russian language

Monika Bednarek and Wolfram Bublitz, Enjoy!: The (phraseological) culture of having fun


February 11

T  Chapter 3 (German Angst)

Cliff Goddard, ‘Hati’: a key word in the Malay vocabulary

Ning Yu, The Chinese conceptualization of the heart and its cultural context

Anna Wierzbicka, A culturally salient Polish emotion: ‘przykro’

Ethan Watters, Suffering Differently (NYT)


! Short research project # 2 due


WEEK 7:       The Linguistics of Emotions: Do Parts of Speech Matter?

Universal Human Emotions? The Case of “Anger”

February 16


Anna Wierzbicka, Adjectives vs. verbs: the iconicity of part-of-speech membership

Anna D. Mostovaja, On emotions that one can “immerse into”, “fall into”, and “come to”: the semantics of a few Russian prepositional constructions

Meredith Osmond, The prepositions we use in the construal of emotion: Why do we say fed up with but sick and tired of? (p. 111-134)

Marika Kalyuga, On syntactic patterns of verbs for surprise and delight


February 18


Anna Wierzbicka, “Sadness” and “anger” in Russian: The non-universality of the so-called “basic human emotions”

George Lakoff and Zoltán Kövecses, The cognitive model of anger inherent in American English

Uwe Durst, Why Germans don’t feel “anger”


! Email instructor with term paper topic and 3 references (at least 2 print)


WEEK 8        Universal Human Emotions? The Case of “Anger”

                        Emotions across Time


February 23

Agnieszka Mikołajczuk, The metonymic and metaphorical conceptualization of anger in Polish

John R. Taylor and Thandi G. Mbense, Red dogs and rotten mealies: How Zulus talk about anger

Keiko Matsuki, Metaphors of anger in Japanese

Pawel Kornacki, Concepts of anger in Chinese


! Short research project #3 due


February 25

Rom Harre and Robert Finlay-Jones, Emotion Talk across Times

Dirk Geeraerts and Stefan Grondelaers, Looking back at anger. Cultural traditions and metaphorical patterns

Carol Stearns, ‘Lord help me walk humbly’: Anger and Sadness in England and America 1570-1750

Marika Kalyuga, Antonina Harbus, Expressing Love in English and Russian: Common and Language-Specific Features


WEEK 9        Emotions across Time

                        Are There Gender-Specific Emotions?


March 3

From Peter Stearns, American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style

Chapter 7 “Impersonal but Friendly”: Causes of the New Emotional Style

Chapter 8 The Impact of the New Standards: Controlling Intensity in Real Life

Chapter 9 The Need for Outlets: Reshaping American Leisure


March 5

Stephanie Shields, Doing emotion/doing gender: practicing in order to get it right

Michelle C. Alexander and Wendy Wood, Women, men and positive emotions: A social role interpretation

Robyn Fivush and Janine F. Buckner, Gender, sadness, and depression: The development of emotional focus through gendered discourse

Marianne LaFrance and Marvin A. Hecht, Option or Obligation to Smile: The Effects of Power and Gender on Facial Expression


WEEK 10:     Native Tongue and summary of course themes

Presentations of term research papers with handouts


March 10

Discussion of Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue

Elisabeth Mahoney, Claiming the speakwrite: linguistic subversion in the feminist distopia

T Chapter 7 (Emotional Universals)

Presentations of term papers


! Short research project # 4 due


March 12

Presentations of term papers

Course evaluations




March 15


Research project #5 and term papers due by noon in Padelford A210

No email submissions, no extensions, yes incompletes.



[1] Those interested in Japanese emotion words should see Wierzbicka’s Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words, Chapter 6 (Japanese Key Words and Core Cultural Values).