The manifestation of the emotion lexicon of the Afrikaans-speaking group in South Africa
Du Toit, Elizabeth Susanna
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Emotions have a strong impact on information processing which affects longer-term cognitions and behaviours. It also does not only play an important role in general social interaction, but it also impacts in very important ways on work behaviour. In the multicultural work environment of South Africa, the question comes to mind whether the expression of emotions is the same for all cultures, or whether it is culture specific. This research article forms part of a national South-African project to identify the cognitive emotion structure of all 11 official language groups in South Africa. This project is the first of its kind. Firstly it is the first study that will investigate the cognitive emotion structure, and secondly it is the first study that distinguishes (in this regard) between the different culture groups on the basis of the 11 official languages. This research article will investigate specifically the cognitive emotion structure of the Afrikaans-speaking group in South Africa. The objective of this study was to identify which words are used to describe emotions in the Afrikaans-speaking group, to which extent these words are representative of the Afrikaans culture, and the dimensionality and emotion structure for the Afrikaans-speaking group in South Africa. A survey design with convenience sampling was used to achieve the research objectives in a series of four sub-studies. The sample groups consisted mostly of students, as well as some older adults, all affiliated with a tertiary educational institution. The fourth sub-study was the application of the European developed GRID instrument to compare the results with that of the third sub-study which yielded the emotion structure of the Afrikaans-speaking group from a "bottom-up" approach. The first sub-study was the free-listing task to identify the emotion terms used in the Afrikaans language, whilst the second sub-study was the prototypicality rating task (N = 23). Here the identified emotion terms were rated according to their prototypicality to the Afrikaans language. In the third sub-study, these terms were then rated based on Similarity ratings (N = 121). Multidimensional scaling was then done to determine the dimensionality and cognitive emotion structure of the Afrikaans-speaking group. The free-listing task (N = 199) yielded: to be sad ("hartseer"), to be angry ("kwaad"), love ("liefde"), to be happy ("gelukkig"), hate ("haat"), to be excited ("opgewonde"), and to feel depressed ("depressief'), as the top six most frequently listed words. Furthermore, the emotion terms ranked as the ten most prototypical words (N= 23) were rage ("woede"), fear ("vrees"), to be angry ("kwaad"), hate ("haat"), sadness ("hartseer"), anxiety ("angs"), to be happy ("gelukkig"), joy ("vreugde"), ecstasy ("ekstase"), and jealousy ("jaloesie"). The list continues with several other emotion words which were ranked as equally prototypical to the Afrikaans lexicon. For the Similarity ratings (N= 121) the three dimensions that emerged were: Evaluation (pleasantness), where pleasant emotions are opposed to unpleasant emotions; the second dimension was arousal (activation), with anger and fear being opposed to sadness; and the third dimension was power (potency), with anger as opposed to fear and sadness. The fourth sub-study was the application of the GRID instrument (a European developed instrument) (N= 121) which yielded the same dimensional structure as the Similarity rating task. Although the order of the second and third dimensions differed, the dimensions were the same. For the third sub-study, the Similarity rating task, the three dimensions that emerged were: pleasantness, arousal and potency. And for the GRID results it was pleasantness, potency and arousal. The conclusion was reached that although the order of the dimensions differed slightly it was important that the same emotional structure emerged from both the methods: the Similarity rating and the GRID instrument. If this information is to be used to develop measuring instruments, it is important to take into account all three of the dimensions that emerged from this study.