Sophie’s Choice

Click here for the Article.

Name: Would you push a stranger off a bridge? How your morals depend on language
Date: 30/4/14
Author: Elisa Criado
Key Ideas:
  • The way you read and understand words is affected by whether you’re a native English speaker or someone with a different native language.
  • Emotions have a large role in mediating the effect between language and moral decision making
  • The more you are familiar with a foreign language, the more likely you are to agree with that foreign speakers decision-making
Language Features: Discourse, cohesion, inference, logical ordering, information flow, semantics 
Course Aspects: Unit 3 - AoS 2: Formal Language - the use of formal language in clarifying, manipulating or obfuscating?  reinforcing social distance
Personal Opinion: I agree with this article in that I think if you were to learn a new language and continue learning it for the rest of your life, you will look at words and phrases differently than if just read through English. This study is interesting in that it shows the morals of people using different languages than people in different countries.
“Quotes”:
  • “Native English speakers were almost twice as likely to push “el hombre grande” than “the large man””
  • “This discovery has important consequences for our globalised world, as many individuals make moral judgments in both native and foreign languages,”
  • “The connection between language and emotion makes sense”
  • “Increased familiarity with a language brings an emotional grounding which can match that of a mother tongue.”
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