Document details

Emotional topics as reasons for language swiching in bilinguals: interaction between emotional and culture, and the semantic categorisation of topics

Author(s): Schulte-Nahring, Stephan

Date: 2018

Persistent ID:

Origin: Repositório do ISCTE-IUL

Subject(s): Bilinguals; Bilingualism; Language dominance; L2 dominance; Language-switching; Emotions and language-switching; Culture and language-switching; Emotional language; Language encoding; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Sociais::Psicologia; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Sociais::Psicologia; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Sociais::Psicologia


The aim of this research is to investigate whether culture and emotions affect language choice in bilinguals. It also seeks to research what culture-specific topics tend to arouse emotions in bilinguals and whether the inducing of bilinguals into communicating about a strongly emotional topic leads them to favour L1 or L2, even when the topic is relevant to the culture of their L2.This study uses an online questionnaire for data collection, which was quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. Ninety responses were examined to gain understanding of what topics participants perceive to be emotional and to investigate reasons for why participants switch languages. This study found that although discussion topics can make participants emotional to the extent that they switch languages, results however also demonstrate that individual differences and other factors play an important role in language-switching. Reporting to the hypothesis of this study, as to whether bilinguals will favour speaking the language of the culture a discussion topic relates to when experiencing strong emotions, a significant main effect of culture on language choice was found. This study finds that topics that relate to participants' social lives and culture are perceived as highly emotional. Participants vary in terms of topics they consider emotional and important. No definitive topics exist that would make participants necessarily emotional to the same degree. A majority of participants uses the L2 in the workplace or at university. This points to the role of workplace and perhaps university as being important places for language practice and acculturation. Results also show that memory encoding, embodiment, context, social purposes and cultural scripts affect language choice. Findings specifically point to the family home and the sharing of one's life with a partner and family as contexts, which allow for the continued practice and the emotional encoding of life events in an L2, that can ultimately lead to L2 dominance.

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Collins, Elisabeth Claire
Contributor(s) Schulte-Nahring, Stephan
facebook logo  linkedin logo  twitter logo 
mendeley logo

Related documents

No related documents