Positive Experiential Cartography: Mapping Wellbeing through the Study of 'UIntranslatable' words
Tim Lomas, PhD.
Linguistic systems function like maps in that they enable people to appraise and navigate their experiential world. However, languages map the world in different ways, generating variation in the way that people experience and concetualise life. These differences are revealed most starkly in so-called untranslatable words, i.e., those which lack an exact translation in another language. From a psychological perspective, such words are informative as they denote 'regions' of the world that a given language has overlooked or not charted in particular detail. By engaging with such words, our understanding of the world may be enriched accordingly. This talk discusses a project to create a 'positive cross-cultural lexicography' of untranslatable words pertaining to wellbeing. It furthermore outlines the beginnings of an overarching cartographic theory of wellbeing based on this evolving lexicography.
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