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ERIC Number: EJ885196
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Different Languages, Different Emotions? Perspectives from Autobiographical Literature
Besemeres, Mary
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v25 n2-3 p140-158 2004
Bilingual life writing offers a rare insight into the relationship between languages and emotions. This article explores ways in which some striking contemporary memoirs and novels of bilingual experience approach questions of cultural difference in emotion. The texts considered include memoirs by Eva Hoffman and Tim Parks, autobiographical fiction by Lilian Ng and Nino Ricci, and personal essays by Stanislaw Baranczak and Zhengdao Ye. I focus on these writers' treatment of the role played in their own or their protagonists' lives by forms of emotional expression that do not readily translate between their two languages. These include expressive forms such as diminutives and interjections as well as concepts which invoke specific feelings, like the Polish "szczesliwy" (happy) and American English "happy". Another significant area represented in these texts is the extent to which nonverbal means of expressing feelings translate, or fail to. The narratives explored here suggest that different languages make possible distinct emotional styles, which engage different parts of a bilingual's self. (Contains 17 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A