Culture and language: Looking for the "mind" inside the body

Farzad Sharifian, René Dirven, Ning Yu, Susanne Niemeier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

87 Scopus citations


The history of mankind has been characterized by attempts to understand the universe and the human being itself. Humans are so uniquely able to understand because they have a "mind" that distinguishes them from lower species. As the centre of some or all of the faculties of feeling, thinking, and knowing, the mind has traditionally been the defining feature of the "animal rationale", i.e., "reason-possessing or rational animal" that a human being is. Not the least striking of it all is that the understanding of the mind is crucial to the understanding of the human body, the self, and particularly human cognition. Looking back and around, however, we find apparently divergent inroads to the understanding of the mind over history and across cultures, as may become more evident in the studies in this volume about the synchronic variation and the diachronic development of "heart" conceptions in various languages. The central aim of this volume is to contribute to the knowledge about various cultures' conceptualizations of the heart and other internal body organs, and in particular about how feeling, thinking and knowing are related to internal body organs in different cultures, as they are reflected in the respective languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCulture, Body, and Language
Subtitle of host publicationConceptualizations of Internal Body Organs across Cultures and Languages
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783110199109
ISBN (Print)9783110196221
StatePublished - Nov 3 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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