Towards a positive cross-cultural lexicography: Enriching our emotional landscape through 216 ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to well-being
Lomas, T. 2016. Towards a positive cross-cultural lexicography: Enriching our emotional landscape through 216 ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology.
Although much attention has been paid to culture-specific psychopathologies, there have been no comparable attempts to chart positive mental states that may be particular to certain cultures. This paper outlines the beginnings of a positive cross-cultural lexicography of ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to wellbeing, culled from across the world’s languages. A quasi-systematic search uncovered 216 such terms. Using grounded theory, these words were organised into three categories: feelings (comprising positive and complex feelings); relationships (comprising intimacy and pro-sociality); and character (comprising personal resources and spirituality). The paper has two main aims. First, it aims to provide a window onto cultural differences in constructions of wellbeing, thereby enriching our understanding of wellbeing. Second, a more ambitious aim is that this lexicon may help expand the emotional vocabulary of English speakers (and indeed speakers of all languages), and consequently enrich their experiences of wellbeing. The paper concludes by setting out a research agenda to pursue these aims further.
|Journal||The Journal of Positive Psychology|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1080/17439760.2015.1127993|
|18 Jan 2016|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||18 Jan 2016|
|Accepted||25 Nov 2015|
|Copyright information||This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Journal of Positive Psychology on 18.01.16, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17439760.2015.1127993|
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