Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 1473–1497 | Cite as

Their Hands Have Lost Their Bones: Exploring Cultural Scripts in Two West African Affect Lexica

  • Vivian Dzokoto
  • Nicole SenftEmail author
  • Lily Kpobi
  • Princess-Melissa Washington-Nortey


Previous research has indicated the importance of embodiment in West African emotion lexica. The current study aims to explore the pervasiveness of this cultural script through the analysis of the emotional lexica of two West African languages (Ga and Ewe) from Southern Ghana that have been featured minimally in previous emotion research. The analysis indicated that embodiment was an important cultural script in both affective lexica. However, interpersonal representations of emotions were also present. Further, emotion words in the two languages differed in the more specific loci of emotions.


Affect West Africa Somatization 



The authors wish to acknowledge Dzifa Attah and John Dotse for their help with data collection, and Adote Anum, Joseph Adonu and Mrs Tetteh for translation assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivian Dzokoto
    • 1
  • Nicole Senft
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lily Kpobi
    • 3
  • Princess-Melissa Washington-Nortey
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of African American StudiesVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Ghana School of Medicine & DentistryAccraGhana
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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