Words, feelings, and bilingualism cross-linguistic differences in emotionality of autobiographical memories

Viorica Marian, Margarita Kaushanskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cross-linguistic differences in emotionality of autobiographical memories were examined by eliciting memories of immigration from bilingual speakers. Forty-seven Russian-English bilinguals were asked to recount their immigration experiences in either Russian or English. Bilinguals used more emotion words when describing their immigration experiences in the second language (English) than in the first language (Russian). Bilinguals’ immigration narratives contained more negative emotion words than positive emotion words. In addition, language preference (but not language proficiency) influenced results, with emotional expression amplified when speaking in the preferred language. These findings carry implications for organization of the bilingual lexicon and the special status of emotion words within it. We suggest that bilinguals’ expression of emotion may vary across languages and that the linguistic and affective systems are interconnected in the bilingual cognitive architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-90
Number of pages19
JournalMental Lexicon
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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