Love Me In L1, But Hate Me In L2: How Native Speakers and Bilinguals Rate the Affectivity of Words When Feeling or Thinking About Them

Document Type


Publication Date



This study examines the distinction between knowing the meaning of a word and experiencing the feelings associated with it. We collected affective ratings for a set of emotional and neutral English words from a group of English native speakers and a group of European Portuguese–English bilinguals. Half of the emotional words named emotions (emotion words) and the other half did not name emotions but could provoke them (emotion-laden words). Some participants were asked to focus on the meaning of words while others were asked to focus on the feeling produced by the words. Native speakers of English produced more intense affective ratings that Portuguese–English bilinguals. Such difference was larger when participants focused on their feelings than when they focused on the words’ meaning. Accordingly, such distinction should be considered in the study of bilingual affective language processing. Finally, the type of emotional word (emotion vs. emotion-laden) had only modest effects.

Publication Title

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Find in your library