Cross-cultural conceptualisations of happiness

Zhengdao Ye*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This chapter provides an overview of the linguistic studies of cross-cultural conceptualisations of "happiness", focussing on methodological issues and research findings. It first gives a general, contextual account of recent multidisciplinary approaches to global happiness studies and how this field of research has become a new science. It then discusses the critical role of language and self-reporting in "happiness" research, and examines methodological problems arising from cross-linguistic studies of "happiness", and from studies of the universals and culture-specificity of emotion in general. The chapter also discusses possible solutions. In this context, the culture-independent Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach is introduced, with illustrative examples drawn from English and Chinese. Commonalities and differences between the NSM approach and the Conceptual Metaphor Approach to emotion are also discussed. Three detailed NSM-based case studies of conceptualisations of "happiness" in English, Chinese, and Danish are discussed, as well as the role of culture in such conceptualisations. The conclusion stresses the role of language and metalanguage in discovering people's beliefs about "happiness".

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLanguage and Emotion. Volume 2
    Publisherde Gruyter
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9783110670851
    ISBN (Print)9783110670783
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2022


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