The grammar of well-being: how to talk about illness and health in an Amazonian society

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2021) The grammar of well-being: how to talk about illness and health in an Amazonian society. Cadernos de Linguística, 2 (1). pp. 1-32.

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Abstract

Ways of talking about diseases, ailments, convalescence, and well-being vary from language to language. In some, an ailment 'hits' or 'gets' the person; in others, the sufferer 'catches' an ailment, comes to be a 'container' for it, or is presented as a 'fighter' or a 'battleground'. In languages with obligatory expression of information source, the onslaught of disease is treated as 'unseen', just like any kind of internal feeling or shamanic activity. Different stages of disease — covering its onset, progression, wearing off, recovery, and cure — form 'the trajectory of well-being'. Our main focus is on grammatical means employed in talking about various phases of disease and well-being, and how these correlate with perception and conceptualization of disease and its progression and demise. I offer a brief taxonomy of grammatical schemas and means employed across the languages of the world. I then turn to a study of terminologies and grammatical schemas employed in the trajectory of well-being in Tariana, an Arawak language from northwest Amazonia (Brazil), with special focus on cultural and cognitive motivations. The emergence and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ways of speaking about this disease among the Tariana, especially with regard to the origins and the onset of this affliction.

Item ID: 65979
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2675-4916
Keywords: Well-Being; Grammatical Schema; Tariana Language; COVID-19
Copyright Information: CadLin Journal follows the International Noncommercial-ShareAlike Attribution 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2021 03:09
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470409 Linguistic structures (incl. phonology, morphology and syntax) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture @ 100%
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