Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto - cover image


Katrin Kohl; Rajinder Dudrah; Andrew Gosler

Published On





  • English

Print Length

334 pages (x+324)


Paperback156 x 23 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.91" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 27 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.06" x 9.21")


Paperback1401g (49.42oz)
Hardback1795g (63.32oz)




OCLC Number





  • C
  • CB
  • CF
  • CFDM


  • EDU000000
  • LAN000000
  • LAN009000


  • P115


  • Multilingualism
  • human condition
  • Creative Multilingualism
  • language
  • humanities
  • social sciences
  • natural sciences

Creative Multilingualism

A Manifesto

Multilingualism is integral to the human condition. Hinging on the concept of Creative Multilingualism – the idea that language diversity and creativity are mutually enriching – this timely and thought-provoking volume shows how the concept provides a matrix for experimentation with ideas, approaches and methods.

The book presents four years of joint research on Creative Multilingualism conducted across disciplines, from the humanities through to the social and natural sciences. It is structured as a manifesto, comprising ten major statements which are unpacked and explored through various case studies across ten chapters. They encompass areas including the rich relationship between language diversity and diversity of identity, thought and expression; the interaction between language diversity and biodiversity; the ‘prismatic’ unfolding of meaning in translation; the benefits of linguistic creativity in a classroom-setting; and the ingenuity underpinning ‘conlangs’ (‘constructed languages’) such as Tolkien’s Quenya and Sindarin, designed to give imagined peoples a distinctive medium capable of expressing their cultural identity.

Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto is a welcome contribution to the field of modern languages, highlighting the intricate relationship between multilingualism and creativity, and, crucially, reaching beyond an Anglo-centric view of the world. Intended to spark further research and discussion, this book appeals to young people interested in languages, language learning and cultural exchange. It will be a valuable resource for academics, educators, policy makers and parents of bilingual or multilingual children. Its accessible style also speaks to general readers interested in the role of language diversity in our everyday lives, and the untapped creative potential of multilingualism.


Creative Multilingualism is a thought-provoking and inspiring book for readers interested in languages or wanting to enter debates on ways we learn languages. The book is dedicated to young people and written in a friendly and open way. The framing of the text as a manifesto allows the authors to develop a strong argument for how language diversity intersects with creativity and set out a clear rationale for learning languages. The interdisciplinary approach is vitally important in demonstrating how learners can be enabled to draw on their repertoire of languages in creative and unexpected ways. Creative multilingualism provides a matrix for experimentation with ideas, approaches and methods. The section ‘Find out More’ is an excellent way to open up the debate and encourage readers to explore online creative multilingual resources. I think this book will make an invaluable contribution to debates in the field of language learning, multilingualism and creativity.

Vicky Macleroy

Goldsmiths, University of London

Additional Resources

[website]Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto Website

Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto is the culmination of the four-year research Creative Multilingualism programme led by the University of Oxford and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC-UKRI) as part of its Open World Research Initiative.

For further information, see the project website, or listen to the programme’s podcast serie.

Want to know more about:

The Creative Power of Metaphor

• Enjoy the Yoruba Sonnets performance • Learn more about how metaphor works in these short documentaries about Metaphor and Linguistic Diversity, Metaphor and Emotion, Metaphor and Communication, and Metaphor and Creativity.

Creating a Meaningful World: Nature in Name, Metaphor and Myth

• Use the Bird Words activities in your school, museum, conservation group or community group • Explore names, migration paths, and folklore associated with birds on EWA's website.

Not as ‘Foreign’ as You Think: Creating Bridges of Understanding Across Languages

Find out more about the research

A Breath of Fresh Air… Ivan Vyrypaev’s Oxygen (2002): From Moscow to Birmingham via Oxford

• Watch clips of the research and development performance of the hip-hop theatre version of Russian play Oxygen or the full performance. • Learn more about Slanguages, which explores the creative way artists employ and take inspiration from languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Patois, Pidgin, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Urdu, urban sign languages, and Yoruba

Multilingualism and Creativity in World Literature

Find out more about the research • Use these Multilingual Poetry Teaching Guides to inspire discussion about multilingualism and identity, and encourage pupils to create their own multilingual poems

Prismatic Translation

• Discover the prismatic world of translation through the many versions of Jane Eyre. The website includes interactive maps and other illuminating visualizations • Read poems written by children in our workshops • Use our poetry activities to inspire pupils at your school

Getting Creative in the Languages Classroom

• Use the teaching materials in your classroom • Find out more about the research

Inspiring Language Learners

• Use our videos to inject more creativity into your language learning classes • Learn more about the Multilingual Performance Project

Languages at Work

• Watch our film on How Languages Help in your Career

Creating Languages

• Watch Rinkoo Barpaga’s presentation on Urban Sign Language • Find out more about Babel: Adventures in Translation and the associated teaching resources


  • Katrin Kohl
  • Marianna Bolognesi
  • Ana Werkmann Horvat
  • Karen Park
  • Felice S. Wyndham
  • Andrew Gosler
  • John Fanshawe
  • Rajinder Dudrah
  • Julie Curtis
  • Philip Ross Bullock
  • Noah Birksted-Breen
  • Matthew Reynolds
  • Sowon S. Park
  • Kate Clanchy
  • Suzanne Graham
  • Linda Fisher
  • Julia Hofweber
  • Heike Krüsemann
  • Jane Hiddleston
  • Laura Lonsdale
  • Chiara Cappellaro
  • Daniel Tyler-McTighe

9. Languages at Work

(pp. 203–222)
  • Katrin Kohl
  • Jonathan Black

10. Creating Languages

(pp. 223–248)
  • Katrin Kohl

Why Learn a Language?

(pp. 249–254)
  • Katrin Kohl
  • Katrin Kohl
  • Wen-chin Ouyang


Katrin Kohl

Professor of German at University of Oxford

Rajinder Dudrah

Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries at Birmingham City University

Andrew Gosler

Associate Professor in Applied Ethnobiology and Conservation at University of Oxford

Suzanne Graham

Professor of Language and Education at the Institute of Education at University of Reading

Martin Maiden

Romance linguist and Statutory Professor of the Romance Languages at University of Oxford

Wen-chin Ouyang

Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London