IN SEARCH OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF LATGALIANS: CONCEPT “HEART” IN LATGALIAN FOLK-TALES

Angelika Juško-Štekele

Abstract


Emotional intelligence, according to the theory of emotional intelligence developed by American researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, is a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action. When attributed to different social groups (age, profession, gender, ethnicity, etc.), emotional intelligence theory helps to identify specific mental peculiarities that are characteristic to a group, assess the group's communicative competence and predict reactions. The aim of the paper is to identify the dominant emotional intelligence patterns of Latgalians reflected in Latgalian folk-tales through the usage of a lexeme “heart”. As the source of the research the author has chosen 949 Latgalian folk-tales included in P. Schmit's (P. Šmits) collection “Latviešu tautas pasakas un teikas” (Latvian folk-tales and legends). From the selected folk-tales, a Latgalian folk-tale corpus was created, which for the purpose of acquiring of statistical data was processed in MonoConc Pro software. From the Latgalian folk-tale corpus 124 folk-tales were retrieved, where the usage of the word “heart” was identified 211 times. The research is based on the theory of cognitive linguistics regarding research methods of national concepts, based on the semantic cognitive approach, where the concept of analysis is divided into three main stages: the definition of the nominal field of the concept, the semantic-cognitive interpretation of the linguistic means and verification of the acquired cognitive characteristics. According to the theory of Z. Popova and J. Sternin, cognitive interpretation is a process of modelling of a concept as a unit of cognitive mental consciousness that is based on the acquired linguistic data. The classification of emotions in the paper is based on the theory of American psychologist R. Plutchik regarding eight main emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust and joy, all of which perform the function of adaptation. The summary of nominal field units on the concept “heart” gives ground to conclude that the most commonly mentioned emotion in Latgalian folk-tales is anger, which indicates mechanisms of defence while shaping the image of the enemy. Another most extensively represented emotion in Latgalian folk-tales is joy, which includes 33 heart-related positive emotions: sincerity, mercy, goodness, happiness, simplicity, etc. This emotion refers to individuals who have gained sympathy of the nation and are identified as those who belong to the community. According to the theory of R. Plutchik, joy is a psychological defence mechanism that turns a self-unacceptable behaviour, thought or feeling into a complete opposite. Emotion of joy is an affirmation of altruism, puritanism, conscientiousness, morality and acknowledgment of showing good behaviour. The third largest group among major emotions refers to the expression of sadness and sorrow (11 cases), which represents such psychological characteristics as shyness, passivity, apathy, conformity, obedience, and wish to go over painful past events. From the point of view of emotional intelligence, the concept of “heart” in Latgalian folk-tales is revealed as a repository of emotions, which, according to the theory of P. Salovey and J. Mayer, allows to interpret the degree of assessment and manifestation of one’s group emotions, the ability to assess and recognize other groups’ emotions, regulation of one’s own emotions and, finally, their application to improve one’s performance. Folk-tales show that in the context of the concept “heart” assessment of emotions of other groups is prevalent, basically emphasizing the negative qualities of social opponents, which result in variously described extensive emotions of anger. In the characterization of emotions of one’s own group, a more varied, but at the same time less described gamut of emotions dominates, where an ambivalent range of feelings predominantly of joy and sorrow are reflected. If there is no compromise in the revelation of the emotions of anger (angry characters, as anticipated by the righteous standards of a folk-tale, get the punishment they deserve), then the emotion of joy sometimes undergoes some fluctuations or even doubts about the true motivation and understanding of this emotion of joy. The story-line of a folk-tale does not reveal any significant activity regarding the regulation of the emotions of one's group. A folk-tale, mainly based on the polarities of one’s own and foreign, good and evil, shows how one-of-their-own (usually a low-stratum hero) is earning a satisfaction he has deserved.

Keywords


Latgalians; concept “heart”; emotional intelligence; ethno-mentality; folk-tales.;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2018.11.3072

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