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The Chinese HEART in a Cognitive Perspective Culture, Body, and Language von Yu, Ning (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 26.02.2009
  • Verlag: De Gruyter
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The Chinese HEART in a Cognitive Perspective

This book is a cognitive semantic study of the Chinese conceptualization of the heart, traditionally seen as the central faculty of cognition. The concept of HEART, encoded in the word xin , lies at the core of Chinese thought and medicine, and its importance to Chinese culture is extensively manifested in the Chinese language. The study explores this important concept and its cultural models along both diachronic and synchronic dimensions and with a cross-cultural perspective.
Ning Yu , University of Oklahoma, USA.

Produktinformationen

    Format: PDF
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 453
    Erscheinungsdatum: 26.02.2009
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783110213348
    Verlag: De Gruyter
    Größe: 1972kBytes
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The Chinese HEART in a Cognitive Perspective

1.4. Body, mind, and culture (S. 19-20)

For the overall goal of this study, it is relevant to explore the conceptions of the body not only because the heart is a critical organ and a central part of the body, but also because there seems to be a broad spectrum of diverse conceptualizations of how the "mind" (or "soul") is related to the body across cultures or within cultures over history. More generally, there exist different "ethnotheories of the person" across cultures in the world (see, e.g., Goddard 2003, Wierzbicka 1992, 2005) As mentioned previously, the conceptualization of the heart in the body has to do with the understanding of "mind", which, including perceptual, emotional and intellectual operations in its broad sense (Robinson 1998) and generally conceived in metaphorical terms (Sternberg 1990, see also Robinson 1998),10 figures prominently in the concepts of self and person.

The person consists of both social and corporeal entities (Fajans 1985). Certain parts of the physical body are socially and culturally elevated to stand for the person. For instance, the human face, which is the most distinctive part of the body, is socially accepted as the focus of interpersonal interaction and relationship and even culturally constructed as the locus of dignity and prestige of a person (Yu 2001).

Therefore, the face stands for the person as a social being. While the reason for the face standing for the person in social life seems obvious (see Yu 2001), the part of the body that takes the central role in a person's mental life has been historically less so. Thus, there is need to "look for the mind inside the body" across various cultures, which vary with the location of emotionality, mentality, rationality, and morality in certain parts of the body (Sharifian et al. 2008b).

The central aim of Sharifian et al. (2008a) is "to contribute to the knowledge of various cultures' conceptualizations of the heart and other internal body organs, and in particular how feeling, thinking and knowing are related to internal body organs in different cultures, as they are reflected in the respective languages" (Sharifian et al. 2008b: 3). The volume studies "the synchronic variation and the diachronic development of 'heart' conceptions in various languages" including Kuuk Thaayorre, Indonesian, Malay, Basque, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Northeastern Neo- Aramaic, English, Dutch, and Tunisian Arabic. The articles of the volume are divided into three sections depending on whether the languages they study show abdomen-centering, heart-centering, and/or head-centering conceptualizations of the mind.

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