“I can come up with more things when I’m happy, or especially when I’m angry”
Language preferences to express emotions among 1.5 Generation Russian Australians
This study examines language preferences to express anger and happiness among 15 Russian Australians belonging to the 1.5 generation, who acquired Russian as first language (L1) and English as second language (L2), after migration during childhood. While most research into these topics has focused on L1-dominant bilinguals, this study offers a novel perspective, as 1.5-generation migrants are generally L2-dominant or multidominant (L1+L2-dominant), and possibly L1 attriters. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and underwent qualitative thematic analyses. From the results it emerges that these speakers mostly express emotions in the L2 or both languages, in line with their language dominance, but their choices do not seem to relate to language emotionality, as the L1 maintains the highest emotional resonance for them. While research on multilinguals’ expression of emotions has mainly focused on anger, this study calls attention to the expression of happiness, and points to the importance of L2-dominant and multidominant multilinguals.
Keywords: 1.5 generation, immigrant children, expression of anger, expression of happiness, language emotionality.
Published online: 23 November 2021
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