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Khoekhoegowab Lexical Study of Personality - Qualitative interview Responses

Resource Type
  • Thalmayer, Amber Gayle
  • Job, Sylvanus
  • Shino, Elizabeth N.
  • Robinson, Sarah L.
Publication Date
  • FORS - Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences
  • CESSDA Topics Classification:
    • Language and linguistics
  • Abstract

    Personality psychology relies heavily on evidence from North America and Europe. Lexical studies, based on the rationale that the most important psychological distinctions between people will be encoded in the natural languages, can provide input from underrepresented contexts by defining locally-relevant personality concepts and their structure. We report the results of a psycholexical study in Khoekhoegowab, the most widely spoken of southern Africa’s (non-Bantu) click languages. It includes the largest sample of any lexical study conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, is the first anywhere to include qualitative interviews to systematically assess the interpretability of terms, and is one of few to rely on a more representative community sample of adults rather than students. Refinement of the survey included frequency-of-use ratings by native speakers from throughout Namibia and input on relevance to personality by those with a psychology degree. The survey was administered by interview to 622 participants by a team of 15 schoolteachers of Khoekhoegowab. The 11 dimensions of the optimal local model were labelled: Intemperance, Prosocial Diligence, Intrusive Gossip, Good Nature, Bad Temper, Predatory Aggression, Haughty Self-Respect, Vanity/Egotism, and Fear versus Courage. A Big One model of evaluation was strongly replicated. Moderate replication was found for the Big Two, Pan-Cultural Three, and a hypothesized pan-African model based on prior lexical results in two languages. Replication criteria were not achieved for the Big Five, Big Six, or South African Personality Inventory models. What results suggest about the local cultural context and about culturally specific aspects of the imported models are discussed.
Temporal Coverage
  • April 2018 through October 2021
Geographic Coverage
  • Switzerland (CH)
  • Namibia (NA)
  • Namibia
Sampled Universe
Mother-tongue speakers of Khoekhoegowab in Namibia
Other sampling method : Seven different local individuals sought volunteers they introduced us to.
Time Dimension
  • Cross-section
Collection Mode
  • Face-to-face interview (CAPI, CAMI, PAPI, etc.)
The goals of the qualitative interviews relevant to the lexical study were (1) to determine the local attribution of meaning and common usage of targeted terms identified in the lexical study, and (2) to explore key etic traits that were absent from emic results. Terms were chosen for qualitative clarification where the English definition of a Khoekhoe word in the only Khoekhoe-English dictionary seemed surprising or incongruent given its association with other Khoekhoe terms loading on the same component in the results of the quantitative study. To explore the near-absence of certain content from the Khoekhoe lexicon, namely Extraversion and Openness, we sought individual interpretations of related terms. We also explored the use of personality trait terms adopted from other languages, given the multi-lingual context in which Khoekhoegowab speakers, like most Africans, live. Some descriptive quotes were provided in the manuscript for each theme identified in the responses to each question. Here we make available complete summaries, including all responses provided by participants. Data file includes only questions 5, 10, and 11
Academic research and teaching - With prior agreement of author

Update Metadata: 2020-11-10 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-11-10

Thalmayer, Amber Gayle; Job, Sylvanus; Shino, Elizabeth N.; Robinson, Sarah L. (2020): Khoekhoegowab Lexical Study of Personality - Qualitative interview Responses. Version: 1.0.0. FORS - Swiss Center for Expertise in Social Research. Dataset.