ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2012) On the classic TV show “I Love Lucy,” Ricky Ricardo was known for switching into rapid-fire Spanish whenever he was upset, despite the fact Lucy had no idea what her Cuban husband was saying. These scenes were comedy gold, but they also provided a relatable portrayal of the linguistic phenomenon of code-switching.
This kind of code-switching, or switching back and forth between different languages, happens all the time in multilingual environments, and often in emotional situations. In a new article in the July issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychological scientists Stephen Chen and Qing Zhou of the University of California, Berkeley and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College delve deeper into this linguistic phenomenon.
Drawing on research from psychology and linguistics, the researchers seek to better comprehend how using different languages to discuss and express emotions in a multilingual family might play an important role in children’s emotional development. They propose that the particular language parents select to use when discussing and expressing emotion can have significant impacts on children’s emotional understanding, experience, and regulation.
“Over the past few years, there is been a steadily growing interest in the languages multilingual individuals use to express emotions,” states Chen. “We were interested in the potential clinical and developmental implications of emotion-related language shifts, particularly within the context of the family.”
Existing research from psychological science underscores the fact that language plays a key role in emotion because it grants the speakers to articulate, conceal, or discuss feelings. When parents verbally express their emotions, they contribute to their children’s emotional development by providing them a model of how emotions can be articulated and regulated.
When parents discuss emotion, they help their kids to accurately label and consequently comprehend their own emotions. This explicit instruction can further help kids to better regulate their emotions.
Additionally, research from linguistics suggests that when bilingual individuals switch languages, the way they experience emotions changes as well. Bilingual parents may use a specific language to express an emotional concept because they feel that language provides a better cultural context for expressing the emotion. For example, a native Finnish speaker may be more likely to use English to tell her kids that she adores them because it is unusual to explicitly express emotions in Finnish.
Thus, the language that a parent chooses to express a particular concept can help to provide cues that reveal his or her emotional state. Language choice may also influence how kids experience emotion, such expressions can potentially elicit a greater emotional response when spoken in the child’s native language. Shifting from one language to another may help kids to regulate their emotional response by using a less emotional, non-native language as a way to decrease negative arousal, or to help model culture specific emotional regulation.
Overall, the authors argue that research from psychological science and linguistics suggests that a child’s emotional competence is fundamentally shaped by a multilingual environment. These findings may be particularly useful in the development of intervention programs for immigrant families, helping intervention staff to be aware of how the use of different languages in various contexts can have an emotional impact.
“Our aim in writing this review was to highlight what we see as a rich new area of cross-disciplinary research,” states Chen. “We’re especially excited to see how the implications of emotion-related language switching can be explored beyond the parent-child dyad — for example, in marital interactions, or in the context of therapy and other interventions.”
Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:
Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Stephen Chen, Qing Zhou and Morgan Kennedy. Parents’ Expression and Discussion of Emotion in the Multilingual Family: Does Language Matter? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2012
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.
- Peace Corps, USAID, Coca-Cola Company announce WASH training initiative
- Mom’s Depression Slows Baby’s Development (CME/CE)
- Cognitive basis proposed for fatigue after stroke
- Most Work Stops on Major Alzheimer’s Drug
- High-fat/Calorie Diet Ups Development of Pancreatic Cancer
- Optical tweezers help researchers uncover key mechanics in cellular communication
- Open-fire cooking may affect child cognitive development
- Agfa HealthCare opens state-of-the-art, worldwide R&D facility for clinical imaging IT solutions development
- Russia to Scare Smokers With Gruesome Images
- How the human body controls viruses thought to cause a variety of cancers
Submited at Friday, August 3rd, 2012 at 8:15 am on Uncategorized by madison
Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback