Revealing the emotion lexicon of the Setswana language within the South African Police Service
Anthropologists claim that people in a variety of human societies differ enormously in how they experience, express and understand emotion (Kalat & Shiota, 2007). Research on emotions, around the world, has become increasingly popular during the past few decades. Emotion is involved in the mainstream of topics in psychology, be it about antecedents, emotional expressions and responses, or about the dimensions underlying the large emotion lexicon (Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, & O’Connor, 1987). While the study of emotion is of universal interest, emotions are of special interest for South-Africa. By studying the emotion lexicon of the Setswana culture, an evidence-based intervention program could be implemented by the SAPS, which will be relevant and practical to address emotional needs and support for South African Police members to express their emotions more accurately. This will help to ensure a healthy, productive and motivated police service which is an important contributor to the society (Van der Doef & Maes, 1999). South Africa, a multi-cultural country, with its eleven official languages, makes an exceptional country for studying emotion as presented in different cultures. The main objective of this study was to investigate emotion and culture in accordance with a literature study, and to identify the different emotion words within the Setswana language group and determine the prototypical emotion words as well as the cognitive structure (different dimensions) of emotion concepts. A survey design with convenience sampling was used to achieve the research objectives in a series of three phases (studies). The study population for the first (N=154) and third (N=140) phases consisted of entry level police applicants (students) from the South African Police Services. The study population (N=51) of the second phase consisted of Setswana language experts. Free Listing questionnaires, Prototypicality questionnaires and Similarity rating questionnaires were administered. Statistical methods and procedures (Multidimensional Scaling and Descriptive Statistics) were used and Cronbach alpha coefficients were calculated to analyse the results. Results of the Free Listing task gave a strong indication that basic emotion concepts of joy, sorrow and love readily came to mind in the Setswana group. Most prototypical concepts listed by the Setswana-speaking group were those of: “lela” (cry), “rata” (like), “go tenega” (fed up), “kgalefo” (warning), “lerato” (love), “boitumelo” (joy), “go utlusiswa botloko” (being hurt), “kwata” (anger), “amego maikutlo” (affection), “itumeletse” (elation), “botlhoko” (disappointment) and “itumela” (happiness). In order to determine the cognitive structure of emotion concepts, a multi-dimensional scaling was performed. A five-factorial solution was created with dimensions of Pleasantness, Yearning, Arousal, and Potency with the last dimension, “Go amega maikutlo”, being unique to the Setswana group. Suggestions were made concerning future studies on the emotion lexicon.