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Multiplicity of motivation behind dynamic descriptions of emotion in Estonian

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The rich variety of emotion descriptions in terms of motion verbs found in standard Estonian was studied in respect of their general motivation and some specific motivating factors, such as conceptual structures and cognitive mechanisms. The possibilities of being a relatively late cultural loan and a direct influence of the humoral theory were both rejected, because of the discovered abundance of semi-schematic patterns and the lack of prominence of patterns related to the specific motion of body fluids. The universalistic account of bodily experience was considered to be the most powerful available explanation. The generalised embodied understanding of emotion in terms of motion was revealed by (a) the rich variety of conceptual metaphors and metonymies that were used (often simultaneously), and (b) how well they fit into the three-stage cognitive model of a typical emotion scenario. Gradual deliteralization of the verbs’ meanings is also a plausible mechanism at work because the semantic abstractness of a motion verb was found to be a function of the nature of the entities filling the slots in the semi-schematic patterns.
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Keywords: Estonian; conceptual metaphors; embodiment; emotion; metonymy; motion verbs; motivation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 17, 2017

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