1st Edition

Difference and Repetition in Language Shift to a Creole The Expression of Emotions

By Maïa Ponsonnet Copyright 2020
    196 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In today’s global commerce and communication, linguistic diversity is in steady decline across the world as speakers of smaller languages adopt dominant forms. While this phenomenon, known as ‘language shift’, is usually regarded as a loss, this book adopts a different angle and addresses the following questions:

    • What difference does using a new language make to the way speakers communicate in everyday life?

    • Can the grammatical and lexical architectures of individual languages influence what speakers express?

    • In other words, to what extent does adopting a new language alter speakers’ day-to-day communication practices, and in turn, perhaps, their social life and world views?

    To answer these questions, this book studies the expression of emotions in two languages on each side of a shift: Kriol, an English-based creole spoken in northern Australia, and Dalabon (Gunwinyguan, non-Pama-Nyungan), an Australian Aboriginal language that is being replaced by Kriol.

    This volume is the first to explore the influence of the formal properties of language on the expression of emotions, as well as the first description of the linguistic encoding of emotions in a creole language. The cross-disciplinary approach will appeal to linguists, psychologists, anthropologists and other social scientists.

    1. Introduction

    2. Emotions

    3. Linguistic Context and Methods

    4. Emotion Lexica: Different Forms, Same Meanings

    5. Highly Conventionalized Prosodic Contours: Same Forms, Different Meanings

    6. Evaluative Morphology: Replacing Absent Linguistic Resources

    7. Figurative Language: A Difference

    8. Figurative Language Beyond Conventions: Different Language, Same Concepts


    Maïa Ponsonnet is an anthropological linguist currently based at The University of Western Australia in Perth. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Australian National University (Canberra, 2014), with additional background in Philosophy (PhD Université Paris-8, 2005). She has extensive experience working with speakers of Indigenous languages in communities of inland Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia. In line with her combined linguistic, philosophical and anthropological interests, Maïa Ponsonnet’s research concerns the role of language in humans’ lives, and in particular how language may channel or modify people’s experience and management of emotions.