Culturally unique emotions


In the previous article I mentioned that there are both universal and culturally unique emotions. In his research Paul Ekman discovered that there are 6 universal emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. This means that in every culture in the world we will express them (mimically) in the same way and we will recognize them in the same way.

But many emotions are culturally unique, which means that they function only in some cultures, where they have a special name, meaning and do not have a similar equivalent in other cultures. Here is a list of culturally unique emotions (which I have found):




  • Abiocco (Italy)- the sleepiness that you experience after a hearty meal

  • Amae (Japan) - a feeling of pleasant dependence on another person

  • Boketto (Japan)- which means mindless staring into space

  • Mono no aware (Japan)- it is a state when, enjoying the sight of a loved one, you start to feel the first sorrows at the thought of the coming parting.

  • Depaysement (France)- determines the situation when you are abroad and you behave completely different than usual because nobody knows you there. So you dress more courageously than usual, engage in conversations with strangers and so on. At the same time you are a little confused and lost

  • Ilinx (Fance)- wild pleasure, if not excitement, coming from the destruction, destroying, breaking something.

  • Gigil (Philippines)- an irresistible desire to pinch something really sweet

  • Gotong (Indonesia)- the relationship between two people who carry a burden together. The relationship that is very close and trusted, or one that has grown out of a common experience and survival of something difficult. It can also describe a relationship with a friend, a brother, someone else who knows something about us that no one else knows.

  • Malu (Indonesia)- a sudden feeling of embarrassment, a sense of inferiority in people with a higher status

  • Greng jai (Thailand)- a feeling when you don't want to accept someone's help, just so that they don't have to feel the bother

  • Iktsuarpok (Greenland)- a feeling of expectation that leads to looking outside to see if someone comes

  • Kalsarikannit (Finland)- drinking alone at home in underwear, with no intention of going outside

  • Kaukokaipuu (Finland)- nostalgia, a feeling of missing a place you've never been to before

  • Pena ajena (Mexico)- the shame you feel when you look at another person's humiliation

  • Schadenfreude (Germany)- a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else

  • Torschlusspanik (Germany)- a disturbing feeling of the passage of time, a slight panic at the thought of a deadline, or even the passage of life, the escape of opportunities passing with age

  • Waldeinsamkeit (Germany)- feeling of loneliness in the forest

  • Uitwaaien (Holland)- going out for a walk to clear one' s mind

  • Utepils (Norway)- pleasure of drinking beer on a hot summer day