The influence of language of the narrative (Limburgish dialect [L1], Dutch [L2], English [L3]) on narrative persuasion for Limburgish people.

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An important task of companies that want to sell products or services is to persuade people, which could lead to resistance. There are, however, subtle ways to influence people, for example by using narratives. Readers can become absorbed into narratives. Compared to overtly persuasive messages, readers are less likely to be critical when they read narratives and in turn their attitudes or beliefs can be more easily influenced, which is called narrative persuasion. No previous studies appear to have examined the influence of second languages on narrative persuasion, which is why this study will compare a corporate narrative written in L1 (Limburgish), L2 (Dutch), and L3 (English). In total, 144 Limburgish people participated in a between-subject experiment. They read a corporate narrative in either their Limburgish dialect (Reuvers or Venloos), Dutch or English. It was found that reading a corporate narrative in L1 did not result in differences in transportation, identification, enjoyment, attitude towards the brand/company or purchase intention compared to reading a corporate narrative in L2 or L3. However, the narratives did have an effect: the scores on the dependent variables were higher than the midpoint of the scales, and thus on the positive side. This implies that narratives can indeed influence people. In addition, it was found that narrative understanding, proficiency, and general attitudes towards the languages (especially towards Limburgish dialect) were important predictors of narrative persuasion. To conclude, (international) businesses located in Limburg can use corporate narratives written in either Limburgish (in Reuvers or Venloos, to people from respectively Reuver or Venlo), Dutch or English to influence people.
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