Feelings of fear as well as feelings of respect are language-specific. They occasionally occur separately but they are also likely to share the same emotional domain. When fear and respect are combined, the result is either a feeling of “awe” which implies a sense of fear rather than respect, or a feeling of “reverence” which implies a sense of respect rather than fear.
Ancient Japanese employed the word “kashikoshi” to express a sense of fear that came together with a sense of respect toward transcendental existences such as divinities or emperors. A sense of fear in the word “kashikoshi” faded, and it was gradually replaced by a sense of respect or a sense of gratitude. In modern times, the word “kashikoi”, derived from “kashikoshi”, describes a state of excellence or superiority, particularly the quality of being clever and sensible that usually brings a feeling of admiration from others.
In Thai, the word “kreng” has come to be used for the expression of respect or deference as well as a fear or worry. Originally, it was used to express a respectful feeling toward a ruling king from the divine spirits, as found in “Silajaruek Pho Khun Ramkamhaeng” (Stone Inscription of King Ramkamhaeng), the earliest known inscribed stone of Siamese in Sukhothai period (1238-1438 A.D.). The word began to emphasize a stronger sense of fear toward the divine right of the Kings when absolute monarchy was introduced during the Ayuthaya period (1351-1767 A.D.). The extended meaning came to include a sense of worry. The current usage can be found in the compound word “kreng jai” (to be considerate, to be afraid of offending or making a trouble on others), which is regarded as the most distinctive Thai cultural value.
|Keywords:||Emotion Words, Fear, Respect, Thai, Japanese|
Associate Lecturer, Department of International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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