Culture, words and understanding
Goddard's (1997) comparative analysis of English and Malay surprise words is critically evaluated. While his major aim to overcome ethnocentric semantic comparisons is generally laudable, the methodological tool in the form of a universal inventory of lexical items is argued to prove unable to perform this job. First, in its explication of surprise scenarios, the natural semantic metalanguage falls short of delivering more or better insights than traditional interpretative approaches to human actions and texts. Second, the discursive orientations and perspectives within which emotion terms are put to use in actual talk are washed out. Consequently, in order to achieve some richer understanding of emotion terms, particularly those of a foreign language, fuller contours of emotion talk need to be taken into account.
Culture and Psychology
Bamberg, Michael, "Culture, words and understanding" (1997). Psychology. 162.