"Control your emotions! If teasing provokes you, you've lost your face..." The Trobriand Islanders' control of their public display of emotions
"Control your emotions! If teasing provokes you, you've lost your face.." The Trobriand Islanders' control of their public display of emotions. In A. Storch (Ed.
), Consensus and Dissent: Negotiating Emotion in the Public Space
(pp. 59-80). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kilivila, the Austronesian language of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea, has a rich inventory of terms - nouns, verbs, adjectives and idiomatic phrases and expressions - to precisely refer to, and to differentiate emotions and inner feelings. This paper describes how the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea deal with the public display of emotions. Forms of emotion control in public encounters are discussed and explained on the basis of ritual communication which pervades the Trobrianders' verbal and non-verbal behaviour. Especially highlighted is the Trobrianders' metalinguistic concept of "biga sopa" with its important role for emotion control in encounters that may run the risk of escalating from argument and conflict to aggression and violence.