Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lakshmanan,Usha

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the emotional expression in the narration of autobiographical stories of Chinese international students in their respective languages (i.e., Mandarin and English). It addressed the methodological limitations of previous research on bilinguals' emotional expression and autobiographical memory recall. A phenomenological approach with Conversation Analysis was used to examine the bilingual lived experience of 8 graduate students from mainland China through an individual 60-minute bilingual semi-structured interview. The participants were asked to share stories before and after their arrival in the United States, as well as to self-reflect on their use of their respective languages during the interview and in their daily life. Several strategies were employed to establish four areas of trustworthiness in the qualitative data. Four major themes and related sub-themes emerged from the bilingual interview data including Mandarin as the Base Language, Affective Repertories of Mandarin (Use of Chinese Idioms and Proverbs, Use of Analogy, and Use of Repetition), Code-Switching as an Additional Communication Resource (Mixed Attitudes Towards Code-Switching, Non-Affective Functions of Code-Switching, and Affective Functions of Code-Switching), and Emotional Representation of the Bilingual Self (Open versus Reserved and Formal versus Casual). Finally, research limitations, future directions, and implications for bilingual counseling are discussed.

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