ABSTRACT: This paper reports on a study that tested the effect on Dutch respondents of using English in job titles. One half of the respondents evaluated five English job titles, and the other half evaluated the equivalent Dutch job titles. The results of the experiment support claims about the effect of English in job titles in the Netherlands and other non‐English‐speaking countries which had not previously been tested experimentally. In those cases where there were statistically significant differences, English job titles were evaluated worse than their Dutch counterparts, while jobs with English titles were assessed more positively, were thought to have higher salaries, and were on the whole considered to be more international. Contrary to what is suggested in the literature, where there were significant differences, jobs with English titles were not considered more gender‐neutral, but in fact were perceived to be more male‐oriented than their Dutch equivalents. Although no statistically significant differences were found between the associations evoked by equivalent English and Dutch job titles, our findings support the hypothesis, formulated with respect to English in advertising in non‐English‐speaking countries, that English words do not just have referential meaning but also carry symbolic value.
World Englishes – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2007
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