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On linguistic relativity and pro-environmental attitudes in tourism

Soheon Kim and Viachaslau Filimonau

Tourism Management, 2017, vol. 63, issue C, 158-169

Abstract: Language is a key cultural and cognitive attribute which can shape the way people think and behave. Research in economics has tested the influence of language on human consumption and found that languages that explicitly mark future events, i.e. so-called future-time-reference or strong FTR languages, may engage their speakers in less future-oriented attitudes and actions. This phenomenon is known as linguistic relativity. By applying its principles to tourism, this study investigated the impact of language on pro-environmental attitudes of tourists. Comparative analysis of Korean (strong FTR language) and Mandarin (weak FTR language) speaking tourists revealed substantial differences in attitudes. Although tourists possessed good knowledge on the environmental impacts of tourism, this knowledge did not translate into high pro-environmental attitudes for Korean speakers while it did for Mandarin. This suggests that language can shape the attitudes of tourists towards environmental impacts. Implications for management, policy-making and future research are discussed.

Keywords: Linguistic relativity; Future time reference (FTR); Pro-environmental attitudes; Environmentally sustainable tourism; China; South Korea (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2017.06.012

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