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Original scientific paper

Mirjana Tonković, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Francesca Dumančić, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Maja AnđelThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

https://doi.org/10.22210/suvlin.2019.088.06

Abstract

Foreign language effect (FLE) refers to different outcomes of the decision–making process depending on whether it is carried out in a native or a foreign language. The aim of this study was to examine whether the FLE is present in the assessment of moral wrongness of behaviour in diff erent scenarios. Put differently, the aim was to examine whether the language in which the moral dilemma was presented influenced ratings of acceptability of violating moral norms. Dilemmas used in the research described a wide range of situations ranging from the ones that could be faced in everyday life to the situations in which decisions about people’s lives had to be made and differed in degree of violation of moral norms they described. The study participants, students of German Language and Literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, were divided into two groups: one group completed the questionnaire in Croatian, while the other group completed it in German. The questionnaire consisted of three parts: a Questionnaire of Everyday Morality and Social Norms, three moral dilemmas describing moral misdeeds of varying degrees, and scenarios describing situations in which it was necessary to decide on the lives of people. Th e task of the participant was to rate the moral wrongness of the described behaviour. The results show that FLE was present in mild moral offences as well as when it was necessary to decide on the lives of people – participants who assessed violating moral norms in the Croatian language rated them as less acceptable than those who assessed the same violations in German. The effect was not present for great moral offense nor in the Questionnaire of Everyday Morality and Social Norms.

 

Keywords

 foreign language effect, ethics of decision making, foreign language


 

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