Language attitudes and social group memberships

Roberta Kraemer, Menucha Birenbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the saliency of two independent dimensions of group identity-gender and ethnicity-for attitudes toward different languages in an Israeli context. The study is presented within the framework of social identity theory and treats the implications of multiple group memberships for the interpersonal/intergroup continuum of social behavior. The sample included 343 ninth grade Jewish and Arab students in Israel who responded to semantic differential scales for each of three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. It was hypothesized that gender would be the relevant group category for attitudes toward English, which is considered to be "ethnically neutral", but not for Hebrew and Arabic. For the latter two languages, the saliency of ethnic group membership was expected to override any gender-language link. The results basically supported the hypotheses with the exception that ethnic group membership was a relevant category for English in addition to gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-449
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993


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