Discovering the structure and organization of a free Cantonese emotion-label word association graph to understand mental lexicons of emotions

Ting Yat WONG, Zhiqian FANG, Yat To YU, Charlton CHEUNG, Christy L. M. HUI, Brita ELVEVÅG, Simon DE DEYNE, Pak Chung SHAM, Eric Y. H. CHEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Emotions are not necessarily universal across different languages and cultures. Mental lexicons of emotions depend strongly on contextual factors, such as language and culture. The Chinese language has unique linguistic properties that are different from other languages. As a main variant of Chinese, Cantonese has some emotional expressions that are only used by Cantonese speakers. Previous work on Chinese emotional vocabularies focused primarily on Mandarin. However, little is known about Cantonese emotion vocabularies. This is important since both language variants might have distinct emotional expressions, despite sharing the same writing system. To explore the structure and organization of Cantonese-label emotion words, we selected 79 highly representative emotion cue words from an ongoing large-scale Cantonese word association study (SWOW-HK). We aimed to identify the categories of these emotion words and non-emotion words that related to emotion concepts. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to generate word clusters and investigate the underlying emotion dimensions. As the cluster quality was low in hierarchical clustering, we further constructed an emotion graph using a network approach to explore how emotions are organized in the Cantonese mental lexicon. With the support of emotion knowledge, the emotion graph defined more distinct emotion categories. The identified network communities covered basic emotions such as love, happiness, and sadness. Our results demonstrate that mental lexicon graphs constructed from free associations of Cantonese emotion-label words can reveal fine categories of emotions and their relevant concepts. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Article number19581
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Citation

Wong, T. Y., Fang, Z., Yu, Y. T., Cheung, C., Hui, C. L. M., Elvevåg, B., De Deyne, S., Sham, P. C., & Chen, E. Y. H. (2022). Discovering the structure and organization of a free Cantonese emotion-label word association graph to understand mental lexicons of emotions. Scientific Reports, 12, Article 19581. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-23995-z

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