Comparing the Conceptualization and Expression of Emotions in European and Brazilian Portuguese

Research project funded by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2016-2017
Coordinator: Augusto Soares da Silva

The project aims to investigate similarities and differences in the conceptualization and in the linguistic expression of emotions and feelings between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. The starting point of the research is the idea that emotions, which are based on physiological corporal experiences, are also conditioned and shaped by culture. The relationship between emotion, language, cognition and culture is explored here according to the principles of Cognitive Linguistics by trying to evaluate how the human body and its physiological processes relate to cultural and contextual factors in the conceptualization and expression of emotions in the European and Brazilian varieties of Portuguese.

Three dimensions of the language of emotions are considered:
• the differences in conceptualization between the two national varieties of Portuguese;
• the function of linguistic categories in emotional experiences and the impact of emotion concepts in Portuguese as a pluricentric language;
• the importance of understanding the meaning of emotions in the development of emotional intelligence and in social cognition.

We are working with empirical and quantitative methods of corpus analysis and experimentation, including advanced techniques of multivariational analysis, in order to analyze lexical expressions of emotions (as raiva, fúria, ira, irritação; orgulho, vaidade; amor, paixão; vergonha, culpa, etc.) and to identify conceptualization processes of emotions, such as metaphor and metonymy, image schemas and force dynamics.