An analysis of Anglo-Dutch language effects on a message’s persuasive appeals in the frame of promoting meat consumption reduction.

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As the English language has achieved the status of lingua franca of the modern corporate world, companies are more often forced to make a strategic decision between adapting advertisements to a local language or advertising in the lingua franca. Each of the options have significant benefits and drawbacks. This thesis will focus largely on the effects of this language choice on persuasive communication. Previous research shows that using an individual’s native language in persuasion is generally beneficial to the perceived emotionality of the message, and is best suited when advertising services where experiences are important to the consumer. Adapting to a lingua franca, or a second language, has the merit of increasing the processability of said message and is often best suited for advertising services where credibility is important. In this thesis, the differences in language effects will be analysed through the frame of reducing meat consumption. This decision was made because adopting an alternative diet, such as veganism or vegetarianism, is often a highly emotional process that would demonstrate differences in emotional perception when comparing languages. In order to achieve this, six different texts were analysed through a questionnaire. The texts were either Dutch or English, to attest for the language differences, and used either negative or positive emotional appeals or an informative appeal in persuasion. In general, no significant language difference was found, both in emotional value of the message or in it’s persuasive effect. This largely contradicts previous research, but could be explained by the following reasons: Reduction of meat consumption might be too complex of an emotional process for the stimuli to have had persuasive effect, the stimuli created for this thesis were too similar in terms of emotionality to have shown a significant effect, or partakers in the questionnaire were of sufficient proficiency in the lingua franca (English) to show a significant advantage for the native language.
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