Slavic 426 Ways of Feeling:

Expression of Emotions across Languages and Cultures

Winter 2014


Instructor:                  Katarzyna Dziwirek                            Telephone:     543-7691

Office:                         Smith Hall M260                                e-mail:  

Office Hours:             Mon 1:30-2:20, Wed 4:30-5:20 and by appointment

TA:                             Bonnie Layne                                      Telephone:     543-0173

Office:                        Smith Hall 017                                    e-mail:   

Office Hours:             Wed 11:30-12:20, Fri 11:30-12:20


Class website:   



đ Textbook:

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

đ Novel:

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

đ Readings on electronic reserves


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. (See handout on Reading and Class Discussion on the class website.) Worth 1/5 of your grade or more!!!


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


#1 Attitudes to Emotions in your culture (January 27) 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 (February 10) 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) 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? Bring your collection to class to discuss and test others’ ability to recognize facial correlates of emotions. Pick one emotion, and based on the readings and your research discuss what are the necessary facial and bodily ingredients that go into a person’s physical display of this emotion. (2-3 pages, 20 points) See examples on the class website.


#3 Special emotion words in your language (February 24). 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.


#4 “Anger” in your language (March 5) 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 18) 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 or TA and by February 19 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. Also, check out this link: 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 18. No email submissions, no extensions, yes incompletes.


Slavic 426 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.





Total points = 200: Class participation = 40 points plus (points for being in class, points for speaking up), short research papers #1-4 = 120 (4 x 30), short research paper #5= 40. Honors students: Total points 240: Class participation = 40 points plus, short research papers #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 paper #5  = 240 points.


Slavic 426: Course Outline and Reading List


Symbol key:

R = electronic reserves item

T = textbook


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


January 6

Introduction to the course themes and topics


January 8

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


WEEK 2:       Introduction to Metaphor, Cultural Attitudes to Emotion


January 13

R Zoltan Kovecses, Metaphor and Emotion Chapters 1-2 

R Anna Wierzbicka, Cross-Cultural Pragmatics, Chapter 3 (Attitudes) 121-130

R Eric G. Wilson, Against Happiness: Introduction and Conclusion

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


January 15

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

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

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


WEEK 3:       Cultural Attitudes to Emotion


January 20: Martin Luther King’s Day


January 22

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

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

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


WEEK 4:       Physical Correlates of Emotions


January 27

· Part of Human Language video

T Chapter 5 (Russian emotional expression)[1]

T Chapter 4 (Reading Human Faces)


! Short research project #1 due


January 29

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

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

R Jonathan Cole, Living with difficulties of facial processing

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

· Videos on body language and gesture


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


February 3

$ Discussion of image collections

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


February 5

R Catherine Travis, Omoiyari as a core Japanese value: Japanese style empathy?[2]

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

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

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


WEEK 6:       Culture-Specific Conceptualizations of Emotions continued

The Linguistics of Emotions: Do Parts of Speech Matter?

February 10

T  Chapter 3 (German Angst)[3]

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

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

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

R Ethan Watters, Suffering Differently (NYT)

! Short research project # 2 due


February 12

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

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

R Kat Dziwirek, A Folk Classification of Polish Emotions: Evidence from a Corpus-Based Study

R Gunter Radden, The conceptualization of emotional causality by means of prepositional phrases


WEEK 7:       Universal Human Emotions? The Case of “Anger”


February 17: Presidents’ Day


February 19

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

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

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


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


WEEK 8:       Universal Emotions? The Case of “Anger” continued, Emotions across Time


February 24

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

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

R Keiko Matsuki, Metaphors of anger in Japanese

R Pawel Kornacki, Concepts of anger in Chinese


! Short research project #3 due


February 26

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

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

R Wolfgang Teubert, When did we start feeling guilty?

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


WEEK 9:       Emotions across Time continued

Are There Gender-Specific Emotions?

March 3

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

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

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

R Chapter 9 The Need for Outlets: Reshaping American Leisure


March 5

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

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

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


! Short research project # 4 due


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 (discussion questions on electronic reserves)

T Chapter 7 (Emotional Universals)

Presentations of term papers


March 12

Presentations of term papers

Course evaluations




March 18


Research project #5 and term papers due by noon under the door in Smith M260

No email submissions, no extensions, yes incompletes.


[1] Those interested in Russian emotion words should also see Wierzbicka’s Russian Cultural Scripts: The Theory of Cultural Scripts and Its Applications on electronic reserves.

[2] 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).

[3] Those interested in German culture should see Wierzbicka’s German Cultural Scripts: public signs as key to social attitudes and cultural values on electronic reserves.