Emotion word development in bilingual children living in majority and minority contexts
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Description: The lexicon of emotion words is fundamental to interpersonal communication. To examine how emotion word acquisition interacts with societal context, the present study investigated emotion word development in three groups of child Korean users aged 4–13: those who use Korean primarily outside the home as a majority language (MajKCs) or inside the home as a minority language (MinKCs), and those who use Korean both inside and outside the home (KCs). These groups, along with a group of L1 Korean adults, rated the emotional valence of 61 Korean emotion words varying in frequency, valence, and age of acquisition. Results showed KCs, MajKCs, and MinKCs all converging toward adult-like valence ratings by ages 11–13; unlike KCs and MajKCs, however, MinKCs did not show age-graded development and continued to diverge from adults in emotion word knowledge by these later ages. These findings support the view that societal context plays a major role in emotion word development, offering one reason for the intergenerational communication difficulties reported by immigrant families.
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