Concepts in bilinguals

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Chapter 5 endnote 42, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

You’ll develop these [emotion] concepts [from other cultures] faster if you live with native speakers of the new language. The new concepts are affected by the older ones from your primary language.

Scientists used to think that people who learn a second language develop a second, independent conceptual system, but we now know this isn’t the case. People who speak more than one language can “code-switch” or switch back and forth between language-specific patterns of emotion word use under certain circumstances. And we now know that the concepts from each language do influence one another.[1] This is an inevitable consequence of conceptual combination.


Notes on the Notes

  1. For an excellent treatment of this subject, as well as examples, see Pavlenko, Aneta. 2014. The Bilingual Mind: And What it Tells Us About Language and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.