Language influence in responses to questionnaires by bilingual respondents: A test of the Whorfian hypothesis
This paper examines how sub-cultural respondents differ in their perceptions and answers to questionnaire items tapping their acculturation and ethnic identity. A related objective is to examine how bilingual respondents exposed to an instrument in the source language perceive it compared to subjects exposed to the instrument in their native language. Prior studies find that respondents can answer differently according to the language of the questionnaire. The framework is based on the Whorfian hypothesis and the Revised Hierarchical Model. About 500 questionnaires are collected from Greek-Canadians residing in Eastern Canada. Findings indicate the presence of several non-invariant factor loadings and covariances, indicating that caution should be exercised when carrying out ethnic identity studies with respondents who are given the choice of the language of the questionnaire. Research on how differences between languages affect consumer information processing and cognitions can shed light on a new form of response style in cross-cultural research.
Language of questionnaire Whorfian hypothesis Revised hierarchical model Greek Canadians
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