Overcoming Anglocentrism in Emotion Research

Anna Wierzbicka*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Since English is not a neutral scientific language for the description of emotions (or anything else), then the key question is what (meta)language other than English can be used instead. I draw a distinction between “experiential meaning” which can only be acquired through lived experience, and “compositional meaning” which can be adequately portrayed in the mini-language of universal human concepts (NSM) developed through wide-ranging cross-linguistic investigations. The article rejects both the anglocentrism of emotion studies which take English concepts for granted and the “zoocentrism” which seeks to reduce human emotions to “mammalian responses,” behavioral patterns or neuro-physiological states. It argues that any discourse on emotions not anchored in universal human concepts is inherently ethnocentric (more often than not, anglocentric).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-23
    Number of pages3
    JournalEmotion Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


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