The Comparative Study of the Emotional Concept Anger in the English, Georgian and Russian Languages

According to the special psychological literature, the anger is a bad, disastrous emotion, which is caused by the feeling of physical or psychological constraint.

Several definitions of the anger are presented in the explanatory dictionaries of the English Language. For example, according to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the anger is "the strong feeling that you have when something has happened that you think is bad and unfair"[Oxford..., 1995: 40]; Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary states: "Anger is the strong emotion that you feel about an action or situation which you consider unacceptable, unfair, cruel or insulting, and about the person responsible for it" [Collins..., 1992: 49]; According to Longman Dictionary of the English Language and Culture, the anger is: "strong and sometimes violent feeling of displeasure, usually leading to a desire to step or hurt the person or thing causing it" [Longman..., 1992: 50]; Random House Dictionary defines the anger as: "a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong, wrath ire" [The Random..., 1987: 45]. Therefore, according to the above mentioned definitions, the anger is a strong feeling of displeasure caused by bad, unacceptable, cruel and insulting events. It leads us to harm the person who causes it.

According to The Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language, the anger is a "strong irritation, annoyance, instigation" [The Explanatory..., 1962:63]. Sulkhan-Saba's Dictionary states, that the anger is "a strong fury" [Orbeliani, 1991: 113].

"The Dictionary of the Contemporary Russian Literary Language" defines the anger as a strong feeling of resentment and indignation (чувство сильного возмущения, негодования), as well as the feeling of irritation and exasperation (состояние раздражения, озлобления).  The given dictionary describes the conditions caused by the anger - the outburst of anger (вспышка гнева) and the fit of rage (порыв гнева). It also presents a specific type of anger - Tsar's Anger (царский гнев) [Словарь Современного..., 1961: 35].

The same definition is given in "The Dictionary of the Russian Language", which specifies the anger as the feeling of strong resentment and indignation (чувство сильного возмущения, негодования), which causes a particular condition - the rage (Вспышка гнева, быть в гневе). "The Explanatory dictionary of the Russian Language" defines the anger as a feeling of strong indignation, resentment and irritation (чувство сильного негодования, возмущения, раздращения) [Толковый словарь ..., 1940: 51].

Therefore, according to the definitions given in the explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language, the anger is a strong feeling, which causes indignation, resentment and irritation. The dictionaries also present phrases, which express the conditions caused by this emotion - the outburst of anger and the fit of rage.

Therefore, the definitions given in the dictionaries of the English, Georgian and Russian languages, enable us to make general conclusions. In these languages emotional concepts - anger, brazi, гнев - are regarded as a strong emotion/feeling. The negative nature of this emotion is underlined in the English and Russian languages, while the reasons causing it are presented only in the dictionaries of the English Language (in contrast to the Georgian and Russian Languages). It's worth mentioning, that the definitions, given in the dictionaries, are more or less similar to the definition offered by a psychologist P. Ekman, who describes the anger as a strong feeling (see the Georgian, English, and Russian definitions) of irritation (see the Russian definition) and displeasure (see the English definition). The language definitions reveal the fact, that the emotion anger is characterized by intensity, starting from mild irritation and ending with the rage and wrath. In the English language the intensity is expressed in the following way: displeasure - violent - belligerence, in Georgian - annoyance - irritation - instigation - fury (gulis mosvla - gajavreba - gakheleba - gatsopeba), in Russian - irritation - resentment - indignation - exasperation (раздражение, возмущение, негодование, озлобление). On the basis of the  comparison, we can conclude that all the given dictionary definitions consider anger as a strong emotion, which is characterized by the certain intensity ( Table № 1).

Table № 1

Many scientists present the structure of concepts denoting emotions as a script, which consists of several stages. Lakoff and Kovecses (1987) describe anger, as a succession of  events:

The reason of anger

The existence of anger

The attempt of controlling the anger

Losing control over anger


The psychologists describe anger in accordance with the script, which consists of several stages:

Four stages of anger

Pre-anger or a preparative period - disagreement begins;

Heating period - a person becomes emotionally involved;

Outburst - a person loses patience;

Outcomes - being angry

Stages of anger

Reasons of anger - the reason of anger can be insignificant. It can be expressed by the exaggeration of something or physical discomfort;

The event, which causes harm - the anger can be aroused as a reaction on a particular event;

The appearance of anger - a person feels physiological discomfort: the rise of  temperature and blood-pressure;

The attempt of controlling - a person tries to allay the anger;

Losing control - a person loses control over himself;

The act of punishment.


Five stages of anger:







The given scripts can be summarized in the following way (Table № 2):

Table № 2

As it was already mentioned, the anger is caused by the bad, unpleasant, unacceptable, cruel and insulting event, an unfair treatment and any obstacle, which stands on the way to the desired goal.

The anger is characterized by a number of physiological and expressive changes. Besides the intensified heart-beating, running temperature and blood pressure, the secretion of hormones of flight and fight are observed. As we have already mentioned, the psychologists  stated, that an angry person flames up and feels boiling of his/her blood. Therefore, the  words blood and heart can be regarded as the lexical units connected with the anger. Tedo Sakhokia wrote about the heart: "when a person is indignant, irritated, frightened or happy, the feeling, first of all, affects the heart, troubles it, makes it to lose balance and destroys its "calm beating": the heart cannot stay in its place, tosses, tries to jump out! " [Sakhokia, 1979: 113].

In the Georgian language the word heart in combination with a number of verbs  expresses an emotional condition caused by the anger (gulze gakhetkva, gulis mosvla, gulze tsetskhlis mokideba, gulis adugheba, gulis gasieba, gulis kelshi mobjena, gulis Kelshi gachra, gulis akoleba, brazis gulshive chakvla). As T. Sakhokia mentioned: "When we are very angry, we choke and feel, that the heart moves from its place, "goes" up to the throat or sticks there and tries to get out" [Sakhokia, 1979:117].

In the English language the above mentioned emotions are expressed in the following phrases: to flush with anger, to burn with anger, someone's blood is up, to make one's blood boil, flame with anger, fire someone with anger, blow a gasket/stack/fuse, flash with anger. The Russian language presents a similar phrase - у него кровь кипит (his blood boils). The identical expressions can be found in Georgian too. For example: avente da davente (to burn with anger), almuris mokideba (flame with anger), siskhli udughs (one's blood is boiling), siskhlis kelshi mobjena. Therefore, the expression of the anger with the seme blood is common for the Georgian, Russian and English languages. Moreover, the word blood is connected with the same verb (siskhli udughs/кровь кипит/blood boils). 

The condition of anger, which is expressed by the Georgian phrase siskhlis kelshi mobjena, does not have an exact equivalent in the English and Russian Languages. Hence, the English expression blood is up corresponds to it semantically if the circulation of blood is regarded as a criterion of the comparison. Furthermore, the discussion of the above mentioned phrases and idioms reveal, that the cognitive metaphors of the anger - especially, the anger as a hot fluid in the container and fire - is common for the above mentioned languages (Table № 3).

Therefore, it can be concluded, that the psychological and physiological characteristics of the concept anger are reflected in the phraseology and idiomatic expressions of the Georgian, Russian and English languages. Moreover, the conceptual sphere of this emotion is identical in the given languages.

In Russian the anger is associated with blinding and becoming deaf. Therefore, the following metaphors can be singled out and revealed: ослепленный злобой; гнев ослепил меня; закатив глаза; ничего не видя перед собой; налитые кровью глаза; гнев застилал глаза; глаза косят от злости. The same emotional state is expressed with the following English phrases: blind with anger, to be speechlessly angered.

The intensity is also observed in those verbs, which express the state caused by this feeling via the metaphor fire/flare/blaze up. It's worth mentioning, that the given verbs express three main stages of anger - initial (blow a gasket/stack/fuse), middle (fire/flare/flame /blaze up) and final (burn).

A person does not always express his/her feeling. In certain cases, he/she tries to suppress it or prevent its outburst. In the English Language several phrases are used to express this condition. For example: suppress one's anger, turn one's anger inward, to keep anger bottled up inside somebody.

In the Georgian language the anger is compared with the dishes, which can be filled or emptied. The expressions motminebis piala/tasi daecleba/aevseba are used to convey the meaning - the bowl of his patience will be emptied/filled. The similar comparison is found in  the Russian language - чаша терпения переполнилось. The English language does not use the dishes as the metaphor of the anger. Moreover, in Georgian the verbs empty and fill express the condition of anger, while in Russian only fill is used.

Losing the patience is also expressed by betsvi/dzapi gautskda (his/her hair/thread was torn) and one's patience wears thin.

The anger is also an "opponent". Within the "framework" of this metaphor, the given feeling is discussed as a negative emotion, which leads us to the undesirable physiological effect. It destroys normal existence of a person and poses a threat for him/her and the society surrounding him/her. The given metaphor makes actual the problem of the control of the psychological condition and the threat of the lost self-control - сдерживать гнев, злость захватывает раздражение, бороться со злостью, сдерживать раздражение, овладеть собой, одолевать негодование, не поддаваться злобе, одолел гнев, охватило безумие, противостоять своему гнев.

The anger is the madness, which makes a person to lose control. This is expressed by the following phrases: go wild, start raving, flail smb's arms, foaming at the mouth, go out of mind, tear smb's hair out, bang smb's head against the wall.

The anger as the "madness" can be characterized as the rage. Such cognitive metaphor cannot be found in Lakoff's and Kovecses' works. In the English language the anger as the fury is expressed by: to foam with anger, foam at the mouth, in Russian - быть в бешенстве, говорить с пеной у рта, in Georgian - piridan tsopebis kra, dorblebis tsamokra.

An angry person looks like a beast, which does not control itself: ferocious temper, to arouse one's anger, unleash one's anger, and get anger out of one's hand.

The anger is a hot fluid in a container. This is a conditional metaphor, which presents the anger as a hot fluid. The special emphasis is put on the change of temperature. Therefore, the level of fluid means the changing intensity of the anger. The volume of fluid is the control of anger, while its explosion means the lost control.

In the Russian language the anger is an element (fire, water): вспыхнул гнев, подлить масла в огонь, тлеет злоба, разгорается злость, захлестнула злость, закипеть от ярости, наполниться раздражением, переполнить чашу терпения, лопаться от злости, выплеснуть ярость, кровь кипит от негодования, точка кипения, довести до белого каления, взволновать, остывать после вспышки гнева, кипеть/закипать от гнева.

The anger is a thunderstorm. The Russian language uses a unique metaphoric expression, which unites fire and water - a thunderstorm, a cloud. The anger is an elemental uncontrollable condition, which seizes and subordinates a person. It corresponds to the momentary exposure and burning: взгляд туманится гневом и начинает извергать молнии; гнев, настоящий гнев засверкал в его глазах; метать громы и молнии: воспламеняется гневом; загоревшимися гневом черными глазами; пылающее от гнева лицо; судя по глазам, гроза была не за горами.

The emotional state of the anger is also expressed by the phrases containing patience:  терять терпение (in Russian), to lose one's temper/patience, to run out of patience (in English), motminebis dakargva /to run out of patience (in Georgian).

 In the English language the anger is denoted by the words patience and temper. In contrast to the Georgian and Russian languages, the given state is expressed not only by the verb lose, but by the phrase to run out as well.

The word-combination to be out of temper denotes the anger, while to get, to fly, to go into a temper express "falling into" this state.

Kinematic expressions, which accompany the anger are expressed by the combinations of the verb to clench with the nouns fist, teeth, hand. In the Georgian language we meet: kbilebis ghrchena/krachuni (grit the teeth), lesva (have a grudge against somebody), shublgaukhsneli (frowning), shublis shekvra (to frown), while the Russian language uses the word-combinations: сжимать кулак, зубы. The similar kinematic expressions are denoted by the Georgian verbs: krachuni (grit the teeth), ghrchena (grit the teeth), lesva (have a grudge against somebody).

In the perception of the Englishmen, the anger is a short emotion: dies quickly in a good man, anger grows old fast. Hence, its consequences can be fatal: anger is a brief madness, but it can do damage that lasts forever. The negative nature of the given emotion is expresses by the phrases: anger is a sworn enemy, anger and haste hinder good counsel, etc. The English culture compares the anger with a wind that blows out the light of the mind.

The vocabulary of the English language gives us the following advice for overcoming the anger: kill your anger while it's hot, sleep with your anger. The shortness of this emotion is illustrated in the following expressions: if you are angry count to ten, when in anger say the alphabet.

The Georgian language presents several phrases about anger, which show tight contacts with the Georgian culture. These phrases are related to the taste perceptions, such as gapilpileba (to become like the pepper) and gatsitsmateba (to become like a watercress/get irritated). Similar parallels cannot be found in Russian and English.

The Russian language distinguishes a specific type of the anger - Tsar's anger, which is not found in the Georgian and English languages.

Our research was dedicated to the discussion of the emotion anger from the psychological and linguistic points of view. According to the psychologists' definition, the English, Georgian and Russian languages present phraseological units, which represent the given emotion and its psychological expressions. Moreover, the English language presents proverbs, which give an advice about "getting rid" of the anger.


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