Edited by Subhash C. Jain
Chapter 11: Language and Culture: Linguistic Effects on Consumer Behavior in International Marketing Research
11. Language and culture: linguistic eﬀects on consumer behavior in international marketing research Shi Zhang, Bernd H. Schmitt and Hillary Haley INTRODUCTION In recent years, there has been a wealth of research examining the relevance of culture to consumer behavior. This chapter reviews a particular line of work within this larger body of research: work investigating the unique relevance of language. Our review ﬁnds that both structural features of language (properties of grammar) and lexical-semantic and phonological features of language (related to writing systems) are important. More speciﬁcally, current work suggests that these language features aﬀect how consumers perceive, and also respond to, various marketing stimuli (e.g. advertisements and brand names). Our review summarizes and integrates a number of related ﬁndings, and highlights their practical signiﬁcance. International marketing research has focused more and more heavily on the topic of cross-cultural consumer behavior. And this research has observed important cross-cultural diﬀerences in the processing, evaluation, and judgment of brand and product information. Much of this work suggests that cultural diﬀerences stem from pervasive socio-cultural or cognitive factors. For example, a good deal of research demonstrates that people have broad, culture-speciﬁc cognitive dispositions, like individualism or collectivism, which can guide consumer behavior (e.g. Aaker and Williams 1998; Hofstede 1980; Triandis 1989). Other work has built upon these fundamental ﬁndings, showing that there are speciﬁc conditions under which such dispositions are especially likely to aﬀect consumer choice (e.g. Aaker and Lee 2001; Briley, Morris...
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