Issue Details: First known date: 2004... 2004 Different Languages, Different Emotions? : Perspectives from Autobiographical Literature
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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 Stanisław 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 szczęśliwy (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. (Author's abstract at

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Last amended 30 Apr 2007 11:17:37
140-158 Different Languages, Different Emotions? : Perspectives from Autobiographical LiteratureAustLit Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
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