Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Sara Verosky
Paul Thibodeau

Committee Member(s)

Cindy Frantz
Clint Merck


Emotion, Second language, Native language, First language, English, Extraversion, Psycholinguistics, Computational linguistics, Vocabulary, Emotion word


Non-native speakers of a language must learn to express their emotions in a new linguistic context. Therefore, identifying what factors support their emotion word use can uncover psychological mechanisms of emotion discourse and can inform second language pedagogy. This study investigates whether native versus non-native speaker status, extraversion, and vocabulary size influence emotion word use in English. A sample of 347 participants, 289 of whom were non-native speakers, free-wrote about how a sad personal memory made them feel. Participants then completed an assessment of their English vocabulary size and questions assessing their levels of extraversion and sociolinguistic history. Non-native speakers used marginally fewer emotion words than native speakers in their written responses. There were no relationships between extraversion or vocabulary size and emotion word use in the written responses. These results add further specificity to which factors support emotion word use by English speakers.