Bert Peeters Bert.Peeters at MODLANG.UTAS.EDU.AU
Wed May 7 01:43:05 UTC 1997

At 03:27 PM 6/05/97 -1000, Philip A. Bralich, Ph.D. wrote:

>Assuming Schadefreude does not exist in every culture is a little like
>saying there are cultures that don't have envy or anger.  For me it's just
>a little to basic to ignore.

A little too basic, of course, but from whose point of view? From an Anglo-Saxon
one, I guess - if such a generalization is permissible. What is it that allows
us to say that if something is "a little too basic to ignore FOR US" it is going
to be the same for everyone else? Emotions are a highly language-specific area,
as recent research (e.g. by Anna Wierzbicka) has painstakingly tried to show.
Typologies of emotions are nice, but most of them suffer from an ethnocentric
bias and what a lot of people do is impose the English way of seeing things upon
everything else. I'm not saying for one moment that there are cultures that
don't have any form of envy or anger, or indeed Schadenfreude. What I'm saying
is that they may have slightly different concepts, different forms of envy,
and Schadenfreude. It would be wrong for us to try and force our world view in
the realm of emotions upon theirs.

Bert Peeters

Dr Bert Peeters - Department of English and European Languages and Literatures
University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-82, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
Tel.: +61 (0)3 6226 2344 / Fax.: +61 (0)3 6226 7631
E-mail: Bert.Peeters at

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