Cross-Cultural Experience of Anger: A Psycholinguistic Analysis

  • Zoltán Kövecses


In this chapter, I will provide evidence for the embodied nature of the concept of anger and some of its metaphors from work in cognitive psychology. I will show that many unrelated languages and cultures do seem to share the generic-level metaphor: the angry person is a pressurized container. This metaphor, I suggest, is motivated by the universal embodiment of anger. The pressurized container metaphor underlies the widespread conception that anger is a force that makes the angry person perform aggressive or violent actions. The actual physiology of anger provides much support for this conceptualization. At the same time, however, there is a considerable amount of variation in the counterparts of anger both cross-culturally and intraculturally. To account for some of this variation, a new, more nuanced view of embodiment will be proposed, where the major idea is that the embodiment of anger consists of multiple components, and cultures may choose which of these components they focus on. I will call this process of selecting one or several such components “experiential focus.” This idea helps us in part explain why, despite universal actual physiology, different cultures can have widely different understandings of their anger-like experiences.


Target Domain Linguistic Expression Source Domain Body Heat Bodily Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of American StudiesEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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