Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper explores the figurative expression of emotion in Gija, a non-Pama-Nyungan language from the East Kimberley in Western Australia. As in many Australian languages, Gija displays a large number of metaphors of emotion where miscellaneous body parts – frequently, the belly – contribute to the figurative representation of emotions. In addition, in Gija certain verbal constructions describe the experience of emotion via metaphors of physical impact or damage. This second profile of metaphors is far less widespread, in Australia and elsewhere in the world, and has also attracted far fewer descriptions. This article explores both types of metaphors in turn. Body-based metaphors will be discussed first, and we will highlight the specificity of Gija in this respect, so as to offer data that can be compared to other languages, in Australia and elsewhere. The second part of the article will present verbal metaphors. Given that this phenomenon is not yet very well undersood, this account aims to take a first step into documenting a previously unexplored domain in the language thereby contributing to the broader typology that this issue forms a part of. Throughout the text, we also endeavour to connect the discussion of metaphors with local representations and understanding of emotions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Aboriginal education; emotions; Gija; mental health; typology
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