Sunday, April 11, 2021


Colexification refers to a method of mapping the meanings of words.

All languages have words for basic emotions like love and anger and shame, but the words may not convey the same meanings in different cultures. 

This way of mapping visualizes the proximity of related emotion words and the connections between them.

These maps are used by scientists to speculate about whether the emotion concepts are genetically coded or are culturally disseminated.

Read more about colexification in Science Magazine 


Newt said...

Fascinating stuff. I've seen similar concepts applied to color, where researchers showed color samples to people of various cultures and asked them to name them, then mapped the results. Different cultures divide up the color spectrum in remarkably different ways, showing once again how much our perception of the world around us is culturally dependent.

Susan Krzywicki said...

My science and math skills are not up to the challenge of the entire article - just had one random comment, though: the authors who put together these maps put the happy words at the bottom, and gave prominence to the words of anger by placing them at the top...