Conceptualisations of xoshbaxti (‘happiness / prosperity’) and baxt (‘fate / luck’) in Persian
This paper explores conceptualisations of xoshbaxti (‘happiness / prosperity’) and baxt (‘fate / luck’) in Persian, adopting a combined historical and contemporary analysis. The expression xoshbaxti consists of the free morphemes xosh (‘pleasant’) and baxt (‘fate’).The root of baxt originates from the Proto-Indo-European language (bʰeh₂g). An historical analysis returning all the way to the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion shows that the concept of baxt captured the idea of a pre-determined destiny by conceptualising Bhaga as a god who dispenses fortune. Data from a number of Persian encyclopaedias, dictionaries and weblogs, as well as a word association task carried out by a group of speakers of Persian, revealed that xoshbaxti in contemporary Persian is largely associated with what is considered to be a “good” married life. Overall, the findings of this study illustrate the usefulness of combining diachronic and synchronic approaches when analysing cultural conceptualisations. The study also shows that attempts to trace the historical roots of cultural conceptualisations may benefit from insights gained in other fields, such as the history of religions. In this context, the multidisciplinary nature of the newly developed field of Cultural Linguistics provides an effective basis for cross-disciplinary openness, which has the potential to deepen the scope of analyses undertaken.
Keywords: baxt , conceptualisation, Cultural Linguistics, fate, happiness, Persian, xoshbaxti
Published online: 04 June 2019
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