Self-expression in Language Autobiographies. The Language of Emotion and Its Implications for EFL Classes
The aim of this paper is to enlarge the perspective offered by the studies concerned with the link between language learning and emotions. Based on the distinction between the conceptualization of emotions and the expression of emotions (Foolen, 2012; 2016), the paper deals with the language of emotions in one type of non-literary discourse: the personal narrative – more exactly, the language autobiography. The basic idea it starts from is that the language autobiography can be viewed as “a huge reservoir of potentially rich and varied information” (Burnett, 1991:123) about individual`s experience with language(s) acquisition, displayed through thoughts, attitudes, intentions, or emotions. How are these emotions conceptualized? How are they expressed through language? What are the implications of the language of emotion for EFL classes? These are the questions that the paper tries to answer. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data provided by the language autobiographies – written by 26 teachers of English – that reveal not only facts and concrete stories, but also the emotional side of the individuals` contact with language(s). The assumption that stays at the basis of our analysis is the following: if teachers become aware of the emotions they passed through during their process of acquiring/ learning a language, they could, in their turn, understand their learners` emotional involvement in the learning process (with its activating and deactivating effects) and thus, they will set into motion appropriate teaching techniques and teaching behavior.
Key words: EFL Classes; emotions; language autobiographies; teachers