Semantic analysis of body parts in emotion terminology: Avoiding the exoticisms of 'obstinate monosemy' and 'online extension'
Enfield, N. J.
Semantic analysis of body parts in emotion terminology: Avoiding the exoticisms of 'obstinate monosemy' and 'online extension'. Pragmatics and Cognition, 10
(1), 85-106. doi:10.1075/pc.10.12.05enf.
Investigation of the emotions entails reference to words and expressions conventionally used for the description of emotion experience. Important methodological issues arise for emotion researchers, and the issues are of similarly central concern in linguistic semantics more generally. I argue that superficial and/or inconsistent description of linguistic meaning can have seriously misleading results. This paper is firstly a critique of standards in emotion research for its tendency to underrate and ill-understand linguistic semantics. It is secondly a critique of standards in some approaches to linguistic semantics itself. Two major problems occur. The first is failure to distinguish between conceptually distinct meanings of single words, neglecting the well-established fact that a single phonological string can signify more than one conceptual category (i.e., that words can be polysemous). The second error involves failure to distinguish between two kinds of secondary uses of words: (1) those which are truly active “online” extensions, and (2) those which are conventionalised secondary meanings and not active (qua “extensions”) at all. These semantic considerations are crucial to conclusions one may draw about cognition and conceptualisation based on linguistic evidence.