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Chapter 25. Multilingualism and creativity

Publication date2022-01-15
Abstract

This chapter investigates the relations between multilingualism, multicultural experience and creativity at both a theoretical and an empirical level. Starting with a general discussion about the cost and benefits of linguistic diversity, we argue that one of the benefits of multilingualism is enhanced creativity and, hence, a greater potential for innovation. After introducing formal definitions of multilingualism and creativity, both of which are complex and can prove difficult to conceptualize and operationalize, we discuss previous research on bilingualism and creativity, as well as on multicultural experience and creativity. We synthesize this literature and identify its strengths and limitations. A key issue is that the impact of bilingualism/multilingualism and multicultural experience on creativity had never been studied jointly so far. The empirical section of the paper then estimates multivariate models with a large sample (n = 596). Results shows that both multilingualism and multicultural experience are positively associated with creativity, with standardized effect sizes ranging from .20 to .50 depending on specification. These results are discussed in methodological and theoretical perspective. We discuss implications for language policy, as well as the challenges related to causal inference and the possible generalization of these results at the group level.

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Citation (ISO format)
FUERST, Guillaume, GRIN, François. Chapter 25. Multilingualism and creativity. In: Advances in Interdisciplinary Language Policy. [s.l.] : [s.n.], 2022. p. 509–529. doi: 10.1075/wlp.9.25fur
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