The Hidden Connection Between Morality and Language – Facts So Romantic

Tragedy can strike us any time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it. When Frank’s dog was struck and killed by a car in front of his house, he grew curious what Fido might taste like. So he cooked him up and ate him for dinner. It was a harmless decision, but, nonetheless, some people would consider it immoral. Or take incest. A brother, who’s using a condom, and his sister, who’s on birth control, decide to have sex. They enjoy it but keep it a secret and don’t do it again. Is their action morally wrong? If they’re both consenting adults and not hurting anyone, can one legitimately criticize their moral judgment?

Janet Geipel of the University of Trento in Italy posed fictional scenarios like these to German-, Italian-, and English-speaking college students in each student’s native language and in a second language that they spoke almost fluently. What Geipel found in her July 2015 study is that “the use of a foreign language, as opposed to a native language, elicited less harsh moral judgments.” She concluded that a distance is created between emotional and moral topics when speaking in a second language.

If the…

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