Feeling Sentimental

Rosenwein touches upon the distinction in a number of different cultures between emotions and sentiments and how they relate to emotional communities of the Middle Ages, and how the two concepts are not the same, “Many European languages have more than one word for the phenomena that Anglophones call “emotions,” and often these terms are not interchangeable,” (Rosenwein, 3). This made me wonder about the modern implications of the two terms “emotional” and “sentimental.” From my experience, emotional seems to imply readily changeable feelings such as mood swings while sentimental suggests a positive, reflective type of feeling. Based on this experiential analysis, the words sentiment and emotion are akin to that of the French, German, and Italian distinction between the two. While Rosenwein relates these terms to emotional communities of the Middle Ages, she emphasizes that these definitions are not final. In this respect, the distinction between the two is clear for emotional communities of the Middle Ages as well as modern emotional communities, though to different extents for each age.

2 thoughts on “Feeling Sentimental

  1. This part of the article stuck out to me as well based on a class I took last semester in Seville, Spain. It was a lexical class with the focus of learning useful and more advanced terms and phrases in Spanish. There was a lesson in which we learned terms for emotions and feelings. My professor explained to us that emotions are more permanent, lasting sensations such as love, hate, etc. Feelings are short term and include things such as anger, jealousy, and happiness. It was interesting talking about not only the difference between these words that sometimes seem like the same thing, especially in a different language and culture.

  2. This aspect was interesting to me as well. It’s always fun being able to relate different expressions across languages as a linguistics minor. I spent three years abroad in Brazil while I was in middle school, and learned the language through immersion rather than the conventional classroom setting. In Portuguese, like Spanish, emotions or emoções are used to describe more intense ones, such as sorrow or love. Feelings or sentimentos are the more everyday emotions we experience. Just by looking at that translation, we can see that feelings and sentiments are synonyms, so it’s neat to think about their different connotations as well, like Tamar said in her post.

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