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Affective Emotions and Bilingualism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay deals with bilingualism and how affectionate feelings are expressed. There seems to be a difference in meaning between the English phrase I love you and the corresponding Swedish jag älskar dig, where the English phrase is used more frequently and casually than the Swedish phrase. In this paper, affective emotions in Swedish-English bilingualism is examined on two levels: 1) the expression of affectionate feelings in general and 2) the translatability and meaning of I love you and jag älskar dig.

A qualitative study, with the purpose to investigate how two groups of Swedish-English bilinguals experience meaning and translatability in their affective repertoires, was carried out. 25 people participated in the study, of whom those in the first group are L1 speakers of English who have acquired Swedish as a second language, and those in the second are L1 speakers of both English and Swedish with at least one parent from an English-speaking country. The results of the study were compared with results derived from previous research on language and emotion and bilingualism. Furthermore, a few professional translators were interviewed about the translatability of I love you and jag älskar dig.

The results from the study show a tendency for late learners of Swedish to use English rather than Swedish when expressing affection, while the childhood bilinguals of both Swedish and English show a general preference for Swedish. However, respondents show a high degree of accommodation; they choose their language based on the L1 or preferred language of the interlocutor. A vast majority in both groups reported experiencing feelings of affection to be expressed differently in their English-speaking culture compared to the Swedish culture. A majority of respondents in the first group do not experience a difference in meaning between I love you and jag älskar dig, while a majority in the second group, with both Swedish and English as L1, do. The results from the study cannot be claimed to account for more than the experiences and opinions of the 25 respondents, but correspond with previous research results within the fields of language and emotion and bilingualism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
language and emotion, affection, Swedish, English, bilingualism, culture, meaning, translatability
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6659OAI: diva2:196827
Available from: 2007-02-16 Created: 2007-02-16Bibliographically approved

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