Lingua Franca as a Hidden Barrier to Conflict Resolution

Leigh H. Grant*, Ifat Maoz, Boaz Keysar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Longstanding intergroup conflict is one of the most perilous issues on the global stage, leading to violence, displacement, and loss of life. Finding strategies to bring parties to the negotiation table is therefore of utmost importance for conflict resolution. Here we address a common problem in intergroup conflict - the lack of a shared, native tongue - which is typically solved by using a lingua franca. Three experimental studies revealed that a peace-building proposal presented in a lingua franca is perceived as less favorable to one’s own side than a proposal presented in one’s native tongue. Specifically, our studies demonstrated that the use of a lingua franca elicits higher levels of hatred and lower levels of sympathy, thereby reducing the perceived favorability of the proposal. Broadly, these findings indicate that the seemingly innocuous choice of the language could have serious implications for conflict resolution as well as for international diplomacy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)979-1006
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • affect
  • conflict resolution
  • language
  • lingua franca
  • peace processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Lingua Franca as a Hidden Barrier to Conflict Resolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this