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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: Emotional force of languages in multilingual speakers in Finland
Author: Sanna Heini Maria Räsänen
Institution: University of Liverpool
Author: Julian M Pine
Institution: University of Liverpool
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Finnish
English
Swedish
Abstract: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the better recall of emotional words applies to both native and later-learned languages. In a mixed design, 41 native Finnish speakers, who were substantially less proficient in their later-learned languages, which were English (second language) and Swedish (third language), were shown negative/taboo, positive, and neutral words in the three languages. Their memory for the words was assessed in an unexpected free recall test preceded by a depth of processing task (deep or shallow). The results revealed that an emotion-word advantage was visible for negatively valenced words (negative/taboo) in the native language, Finnish, and the second language, English. However, the nature of the processing task had no significant effect on recall. Additional self-report measures indicated that English was perceived as more emotional and more frequently used than Swedish. These results suggest that the amount and frequency of everyday exposure to a particular language are two critical factors in determining the degree of emotionality of that language for the speaker.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 35, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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