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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Positive psychology—the scientific study of well-being—has made considerable strides in understanding its subject matter since emerging in the late 1990s. However, like mainstream psychology more broadly, it can be deemed relatively Western-centric, with its concepts and priorities influenced by ways of thinking and understanding that are prominent in Western cultures. Consequently, the field would benefit from greater cross-cultural awareness, engagement, and understanding. One such means of doing so is through the study of “untranslatable” words (i.e., those lacking an exact equivalent in another language, in this case English). This chapter reflects on the nature of untranslatable words, considers their significance to positive psychology (and psychology more broadly), and offers suggestions for why and how the field should engage with them.

Keywords: cross-cultural, linguistics, translation, lexicography, well-being

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