Self-Conscious Emotions in Collectivistic and Individualistic Cultures: A Contrastive Linguistic Perspective

  • Barbara Lewandowska-TomaszczykEmail author
  • Paul A. Wilson
Part of the Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics book series (YCLP, volume 2)


The present paper focuses on linguistic and culture-bound aspects of the properties of individualism and collectivism through an English-Polish analysis of the emotions shame and guilt. Combining theoretical analyses with the analysis of authentic data, this work breaks new ground in cognitive-based language analysis in its pragmatic setting and attempts to shed new light on complex issues pertaining to cultural identities. The study presents an investigation on language corpus materials of English and Polish and furthermore it enriches the methodology with questionnaire-based (GRID) data of English and Polish, identifying cross-linguistic similarities and differences between the relevant dimensions and components with respect to shame and guilt. The corpus data used in previous studies show a stronger emphasis on self-construal at the individual level of identity with the Polish users, while the English users were presented to attend to a larger extent to the relational self derived from the interactional relations with others . The present study provides strong additional support for a more refined model of both collectivism and individualism and further elaborates on the assumptions of a contrastive analysis of self-conscious emotions.


Collectivism Cross-linguistic analysis English Culture guilt Individualism Polish shame 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul A. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of English StudiesUniversity of LodzLodzPoland

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