6. The embodiment of fear expressions in Tunisian Arabic

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The study investigates the conceptualization of fear in Tunisian Arabic, arguing that fear shows three types of “cultural embodiment”: (i) seemingly physiological, where the fear expression profiles a part of the body physiologically thought to be affected by fear, (ii) culturally driven, where the fear expression profiles a part of the body thought to be physiologically affected by the emotion, and the basic-level category is grounded in culture, and (iii) culturally specific, where the fear expression schematically profiles a part of the body associated with physiological change. The implications of such culturally constructed embodiment will be pointed out for the theory of embodiment, which needs to be made bi-directional in terms of directionality of mappings, for ESL, and for cross-cultural communication.


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