[Lingtyp] Seats of emotions: experiencer pronouns, body-part collocations and similar
Stef.Spronck at kuleuven.be
Sun Jun 28 21:12:15 UTC 2015
Missionary linguist Howard Coate, who did a lot of work in the Kimberley region of Western Australia has an interesting unpublished conference paper with the following passage about the metaphorical extension of body parts in Ungarinyin (non-Pama-Nyungan, Worrorran):
`By the cultural outlook of the people, it seems to be a given assumption that:
The ears are the seat of wisdom.
The stomach is the seat of happiness, pleasure and generosity.
The liver is the seat of affection - the heart very rarely so.
The pancreas is the seat of anger.’
(The metaphorical extension of the ears has been documented in languages throughout Australia, see Nick Evans and David Wilkins’s 2000 Language paper ‘In the mind’s ear’. )
This type of body part construction is very frequent in Ungarinyin narratives, examples from Howard Coate’s paper include (glosses added):
(1) a-di o-ni-ngarri-nga
`He became suspicious (that another man was loving his wife)' (Lit. his liver was smiting him)
(2) a-jila a-ma-nga
`He was angry with him' (Lit. he took his pancreas)
From: Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] On Behalf Of Peter Austin
Sent: zondag 28 juni 2015 20:44
To: Matthew Dryer
Cc: <LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG>
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Seats of emotions: experiencer pronouns, body-part collocations and similar
For Australian Aboriginal languages there are a number of published sources, including Maia Ponsonnet's recent book on Dalabon (https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/clscc.4/main) and Father Anthony Piele's book/dictionary on Kukatja (out of print but you can order from Amazon http://www.gould.com.au/Body-Soul-Aboriginal-Viewpoint-p/hes009.htm).
In Dieri, there are constructions parallel to those you describe that involve the word kalhu 'liver', eg. kadlhu marra- 'liver become.red' = to yearn for, kalhu miltyarri- 'liver become.pieces' = to feel sorry for, kalhu paki- 'liver burst' = to grieve, feel sorry for.
In Jiwarli the parallel constructions use puju 'stomach', eg. puju pakalyarri- 'to feel happy' (lit. stomach become.good), puju walhi 'to be sad' (lit. stomach bad).
On 28 June 2015 at 17:07, Matthew Dryer <dryer at buffalo.edu<mailto:dryer at buffalo.edu>> wrote:
Walman (Torricelli; Papua New Guinea) has a number of idioms of this sort, though some of these denote mental states that are not really emotions, but subjective physical states, like ‘be hungry’ or ‘feel sick’, or cognitive states like ‘remember’. Most involve as subject a noun won, whose only contemporary meaning is ‘chest’, but which is clearly cognate to the word for ‘heart’ in related languages. With the meaning ‘chest’, won is grammatically feminine, like most inanimate nouns in Walman. But in idioms relating to mental states, however, won is masculine, as subject agreement with the copula -o in (1) shows.
‘Then I got angry.’
When the predicate in these idioms is an adjective, as in (1), the noun phrase expressing the experiencer comes first, but grammatically is not subject, object, or possessor. In many of these idioms, the predicate is an adjective, but in some it is a verb with the experiencer as object, as in (2), where ‘they are happy’ is literally ‘heart follows them’.
(2) Ri won n-rowlo-y
3pl heart 3sg.m.subj-follow-3pl.obj
‘They are happy.’
Some idioms relating to mental states make use of words which appear to have different meanings outside of the idioms in which they occur. For instance in (3), the noun nyukuel only occurs in this idiom apart from the expression oputo nyukuel ‘food’ (where oputo means ‘yam’).
‘We (I and him) are hungry.’
The word cheliel, which occurs in the idiom in (4), occurs elsewhere only as an adjective meaning ‘hot’.
‘He felt sick.’
The word glossed as ‘angry’ in (5) is a transitive verb that does not occur outside this idiom; its subject is won ‘heart’ and its object denotes the experiencer.
‘I am angry.’
In (6), the expression for ‘be ashamed’ has the word chie ‘mother’s older sister’ as subject and the verb -arao ‘carry on back, with strap around forehead’ (though one or both of these could be accidental homonymy), with the experiencer object of the verb.
‘Then the men were ashamed.’
In (7), the verb is an intransitive verb, with won as subject and the experiencer as neither subject, object, nor possessor.
‘She fell in love with him.’
In (8), the predicate is a word nyopunon, which occurs outside this idiom only as a noun meaning ‘leader’.
‘The two [brothers] were happy.’
In (9), the predicate is a noun chrieu, whose original meaning means ‘marks’ (as in a mark in a tree to signal some meaning, or sticks on the ground to show the route one has followed) but which is now used for any form of writing.
‘... he did not remember to call the dogs.’
A different sort of idiom involving a body part is illustrated in (10), where the body part is saykil ‘liver’ functioning as postverbal nonobject with the reflexive form of the verb for ‘kill’ and the experiencer as subject.
‘She is boastful.’
The following is a table of these idioms:
meaning of first part
meaning of second part
grammatical relation of
won no kisiel
be angry, get angry
won no cheliel
sad, to worry
to fall in love
up out of water
feel sick, be sick
carry with strap around head
boastful / excited
(11) Runon nyupul y-arie-n
3sg.m sleep 3pl-hit-3sg.m
‘He feels sleepy.’
‘But the little boy didn't go to sleep and stayed up.’
'Nothing worries me.'
(14) Isaac won nyopu-ø.
Isaac heart good-f
‘Isaac is happy.’
Matthew Dryer and Lea Brown
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Prof Peter K. Austin
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Director, Endangered Languages Academic Programme
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Department of Linguistics, SOAS
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