Psychological, emotional, linguistic and cultural changes following migration : the case of Italian migrants living in English-speaking countries

Panicacci, Alessandra (2018) Psychological, emotional, linguistic and cultural changes following migration : the case of Italian migrants living in English-speaking countries. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The main argument of this dissertation is that languages and cultures overlap in the psyche of individuals. Participants are 468 Italian migrants residing in English-speaking countries. Specifically, the purpose is to investigate how language choice for expressing emotions, self-reported language dominance and self-perceptions when using the local language relate to migrants’ acculturation attitudes and personality. The analysis has been conducted using a mixed-method. Data has been gathered through a web-questionnaire and 5 follow-up interviews have been conducted in order to explore possible causes of statistical patterns. The web-survey was a combination of the Bilingualism and Emotions Questionnaire, the Vancouver Index of Acculturation and the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire. Findings confirmed that respondents’ linguistic attitudes towards Italian (L1) and English (LX) matched their orientation towards L1 culture and LX culture. Specifically, participants who reported frequent use of the L1 to express emotions and considered it a dominant language were strongly attached to L1 culture practices. Similarly, participants who reported regular use of the LX to express emotions and considered it a dominant language were strongly attached to LX culture practices. Statistical analysis indicated reciprocal effects between linguistic and cultural factors, where L1 and LX dimensions remained unconnected. Furthermore, migrants’ feelings of difference when using the LX were constrained by their sense of belonging to the LX culture. Personality traits differently linked to L1 and LX variables, where no trait was correlated with both. In particular, the traits Flexibility and Emotional Stability were negatively related to participants’ attachment to the heritage language and culture, whereas the traits Cultural Empathy, Social Initiative and Openmindedness were positively related to their attachment to the host language and culture. Reciprocal effects appeared between culturallinguistic aspects and personality traits, illustrating the linguistic and cultural hybridity of migrants and their psychological changes following migration.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Applied Linguistics & Communication
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2018 15:37
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2018 15:37
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/318

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