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Book: System and Corpus

Chapter: Pain expressions in Japanese

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.19149


Halliday’s paper, ‘On the grammar of pain’ (1998), was a pleasant surprise to me when I first read it, because of his clear analysis of pain expressions in English. Until then, I had long been wondering if the speakers of English had ways of expressing pain other than ‘headache’ and ‘stomachache’. Those two and a few more were (and are) the only expressions introduced in the English textbooks published in Japan and I should say most Japanese do not know other ways of describing bodily illnesses in English. That is why the paper by Halliday (1998) surprised me so much. When the first pleasant surprise faded away, I wondered how the different expressions identified by Halliday would be expressed in Japanese and I translated the 24 pain expressions in Halliday (1998: 16–17) into Japanese.

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