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    Do you see / hear / understand how he feels? Multimodal perception of a Chinese speaker’s emotional state across languages and cultures

    Lorette, Pernelle (2020) Do you see / hear / understand how he feels? Multimodal perception of a Chinese speaker’s emotional state across languages and cultures. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Emotion perception is crucial for interpersonal communication, as the interpretation of the emotional state of one’s interlocutor affects the interpretation of the content of their utterances. This process, which relies on the interpretation of both verbal and nonverbal cues, might be more challenging when communicating in a foreign language, with someone from another culture, or when not all communication channels are available. This study investigates whether perceptions of the Chinese speaker’s emotional state differ between (a) first language (L1) users, additional language (LX) users, and non-users (L0) of Mandarin, with (b)different proficiency levels and (c)different cultural backgrounds, and (d)depending on the modality of communication. This study mainly relies on quantitative data collected via an online survey embedded with 12 multimodal emotion stimuli. For each stimulus, the 1599 participants (651 L1, 406 LX and 542 L0 Mandarin speakers) had to rate how pleasant and how activated the speaker was feeling (core affect rating) and then had to choose a label that describes his feeling (emotion categorisation). Moreover, eight Chinese informants took part in a focus-group interview to discuss about the Chinese culture and intranational cultural differences. Results revealed (slight) differences in L1, LX, and L0 users’ core affect ratings, but no effect of proficiency. Different cultural groups across the globe rated the speakers’ core affect similarly, but (slight) intranational cultural differences appeared. Communication modality also explained variation in core affect ratings, especially for pleasantness. Moreover, the data suggest substantial cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and cross-modal variation in emotion categorisation. This research tempers the assumptions that core affect and that specific emotions are universal and it highlights the role of both language and culture –insofar as they are distinct from each other –in emotion perception.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Thesis restricted. Originally submitted to the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2021 10:35
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:12


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