A multi-case study on Singaporean Malay-English bilinguals’ emotional responses to the emotion of ‘disgust’
Humairah Mohamed Jamil
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Disgust is a basic emotion evoked when one is revolted by offensive, contaminating, or harmful objects. In recent years, studies have been shifting focus on disgust from the oral domain to the moral domain. Unlike English, there are different words in Malay which are used to refer to disgust, namely ‘menjijikkan’, ‘meluat’ and ‘menyampah’. This paper aims to explore the phenomenon of Malay-English bilingual emotion through the study of disgust expressions. A qualitative, interview-based study was conducted with 12 Singaporean-Malay English bilinguals. The participants were asked how they felt after being presented with 25 different scenarios designed to elicit disgust – 5 of which were designed to elicit basic, core, or physical disgust, 10 were designed to elicit socio-moral disgust, while the other 10 were filler emotions of anger and sadness. Two main trends were observed in this study. In terms of the semantic organization of the emotion words, the words ‘disgusted’ and ‘jijik’ are often being used to express disgust towards basic disgust elicitors, ‘menyampah’ and ‘meluat’ are being used more frequently when expressing disgust towards socio-moral disgust elicitors, while the emotional term ‘geli’ was mentioned recurrently and being used when in contact with less intense basic disgust elicitors as well as socio-moral disgust. In terms of disgust intensity, evidence indicates that each disgust term in English and Malay occupies unique points in a continuum. It is clear that Malay-English bilinguals map out their disgust experience by drawing from the emotional expressions existing in both lexicons.Additionally, the findings also highlight the relationship between an inividual’s culture and the emotion of disgust, indicating that cultural values and beliefs are imperative in moulding one’s perspective of this emotion.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University