The effects of address pronouns on attitudes towards a museum.

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An online questionnaire was created and conducted with native Dutch and French speakers to gauge their attitudes towards a new museum using either informal (T), formal (V) or no address forms (no T or V) in a promotion text. The study included 372 participants (188 Dutch and 184 French) who read the promotion text with either T, V, or no direct address forms. Afterwards, participants rated their appreciation of the museum on fourteen different scales. Literature has shown that V plays a dominant role in French, while T is prevalent in Dutch (Levshina, 2017; Warren, 2006; Vismans, 2013; Leung et al., 2022; Clyne et al., 2009), the hypothesis is therefore that the V-condition would obtain higher attitude scores by the French and the T-condition higher attitudes by the Dutch. Because previous research has shown that second person pronouns can create a personalized effect because these pronouns directly address the reader which creates more engagement in a text (Pennebaker, 2011; Cruz, Leonhardt & Pezzuti, 2017), the hypothesis is that the text with direct person pronouns (T and V condition) would receive higher attitude scores than the texts with without address pronouns (control condition). However, the results showed no significant differences between T, V and no address forms for Dutch and French people, so the results do not support the hypotheses. Nevertheless, we did observe an effect of language, with the attitude scores of the French being higher than the Dutch. The findings indicate that the French showed a greater preference for the museum type in the promotion text and a greater overall preference for visiting museums. The investigation of the French museum culture demonstrates the importance of museums in France. Additionally, the results of the explicit attitude reports regarding address pronoun preference indicate that when communicating with an unfamiliar person, French people favour to be addressed with the formal V pronoun, whereas Dutch people prefer to be addressed with the informal T pronoun in similar situations.
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