'A Tart and Bitter Feeling of Jealousy and Remorse’: Appraising Subjectivity and Cultural Dimensions in Hong Kong and Indian Readings of an English Poem

Christina A DeCoursey, Shilpagauri Ganpule


English has become a global language. Chinese and Indian tertiary students comprise a majority of global English users, and a significant proportion of highly-proficient graduates in the knowledge economy. World Englishes authors are included in the curricula of both nations. This study analysed data from 98 Indian and 92 Hong Kong tertiary readers of Tagore’s ‘The Golden Boat’. Data was analysed using Appraisal analysis to compare subjective attitudes. Appraisal analysis uses computational methods to produce a detailed analysis of attitudes in three systems: emotion, judgment and appreciation. Content analysis was completed, using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, to detail differences between the two groups. Cultural dimensions are a long-standing, validated research paradigm based in psychometric data, and are widely used. Examples of students’ comments explore similarities in emotional responses, and generalisations to self and others. The study indicates cultural specificities in the tendency to generalise literature to personal experience, and in specific areas of subjective attitudes. Differences were found in the specific cultural meanings used to explain these, by the two groups. Indian responses realise cultural values stressing overarching philosophical meanings, where Hong Kong responses focus on task orientation, particularly reward. Implications are noted for second-language literary readings, tertiary institutions and graduates.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v3n1p72


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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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