Effects of country size and language similarity on international attitudes: A six-nation study
Sprache des Titels:
Linguistically similar neighbouring nations that differ in size are often asymmetrical in their attitudinal relations towards each other: Citizens of smaller nations tend to see larger nations as less likeable and less similar than vice versa. We hypothesized that the smaller nations' reaction is the consequence of a threatened identity due to its relative size combined with too much similarity on a vital part of its identity, namely language. To test this hypothesis, 832 high-school students from six different ethnic/national entities (France, Germany, Austria, the French- and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, the French- and Dutch-speaking parts of Belgium, and The Netherlands) completed a questionnaire on liking and similarity ratings. The results?to a large extent?showed that differences in size, in combination with linguistic similarity with another nation, pose a threat to the identity of the smaller nation or ethnic group. Differences in size, in combination with linguistic similarity, were associated with asymmetries in mutual liking on one hand and asymmetrical perceptions of similarity to the other country on the other hand. The conclusions of this study are consistent with findings of earlier research and stress the importance of language for a nation's identity. Moreover, the findings support social identity theory as a useful theory for understanding intergroup and international relations.