The aim of the study is to discover linguistic features that may be related to national differences on European corporate websites where English is used as a lingua franca. The methodology used is qualitative and corporate homepages are taken as units of analysis. European cheese companies are chosen due to the links between food and national identity and to the importance of the cheese sector in Europe. Four European countries — Austria, Denmark, Poland, and Portugal — are selected in order to represent different national cultures within three different geographic areas, namely Northern, Central, and Southern Europe. Findings reveal, first, significant differences in the kind of information provided and in the linguistic features used and, second, that a number of differences can be explained with reference to Hall’s and Hofstede’s cultural models. The study shows that linguistic research can contribute considerably to marketing studies, by identifying linguistic markers that could be associated with cultural dimensions and by illustrating how they interact in actual website texts.
- Hall’s and Hofstede’s model