The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Choonkyong Kim

Second Advisor

James H. Robinson

Third Advisor

Shawn C. Jarvis

Keywords and Subject Headings

Emotion Recognition, Language Learning, Interpersonal Communication, English Language, English Speakers


For language learners, being able to express and recognize emotion is an important component of effective interpersonal communication. This study investigates whether native English speakers and English language learners recognize the expression of anger, hunger, and sleepiness at similar rates, and what role learner listening comprehension proficiency and sociocultural proficiency might play in the rate of correct responses. In addition, the verbal and non-verbal signals participants use to recognize feelings are analyzed.

Twenty-two native English speaking university students and 22 English language learners completed a video response task and interview. A t-test analysis indicates that native English speakers and English language learners recognize the expression of anger at similar rates but the native speaker group shows much more consensus in correctly recognizing hunger and sleepiness. The patterns of incorrect responses show a difference between the groups which might be related to the cultural components of emotion. In the learner group, there appears to be a relationship between sociocultural proficiency and the rate of correct responses, but not listening comprehension proficiency. For both groups, prosodic features are the most common signals used to recognize anger.

The results contribute to an understanding of language learner development of emotion knowledge in interpersonal communication and offer guidance to classroom teachers.



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