How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language


Scientific American article about morality and language choice

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Does your personality change when you speak different languages?
  2. Do you prefer one language over another for specific tasks?


deep-seated (adj.)
sense of right and wrong (noun phrase)
moral compass (noun phrase)
hash [s/th] out (regular verb)
verdict (noun)
gut feeling (noun phrase), visceral (adj.)
[to be] laden with s/th (set expression)
intertwine (regular verb)
infused with s/th (set expression)
mesh (regular verb)

Main Activity

Scan the article for the following information:

  1. What type of ethic shift occurs when people are given a hypothetical situation in their non-native language?
  2. What two theories are given as possible reasons for this shift?

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you think differently in different languages?
  2. Are there times when using tricks to trigger system two thinking would be a good idea?