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Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto

Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto Katrin Kohl, Rajinder Dudrah, Andrew Gosler, Suzanne Graham, Martin Maiden, Wen-chin Ouyang and Matthew Reynolds (eds)
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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

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: A Manifesto
Edited by Katrin Kohl, Rajinder Dudrah, Andrew Gosler, Suzanne Graham, Martin Maiden, Wen-chin Ouyang and Matthew Reynolds | May 2020
334 pp. | 38 Colour Illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783749294
ISBN Hardback: 9781783749300
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783749317
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783749324
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783749331
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783749348
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0206
BIC Subject Codes: C (Language), CB (Language: reference and general), CF (Linguistics), CFDM (Bilingualism and Multilingualism); BISAC: EDU000000 (EDUCATION / General), LAN000000 (LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / General), LAN009000 LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics/General); OCLC Number: 1157690379.

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Creative Multilingualism – A Manifesto

Introducing Creative Multilingualism Download
Katrin Kohl and Wen-chin Ouyang

1. The Creative Power of Metaphor Download
Katrin Kohl, Marianna Bolognesi and Ana Werkmann Horvat

2. Creating a Meaningful World: Nature in Name, Metaphor and Myth Download
Karen Park, Felice S. Wyndham, Andrew Gosler and John Fanshawe

3. Not as 'Foreign' as You Think: Creating Bridges of Understanding across Languages Download
Martin Maiden, Chiara Cappellaro and Aditi Lahiri

4. A Breath of Fresh Air… Ivan Vyrypaev's Oxygen (2002): From Moscow to Birmingham via Oxford Download
Rajinder Dudrah, Julie Curtis, Philip Ross Bullock and Noah Birksted-Breen

5. Multilingualism and Creativity in World Literature Download
Wen-chin Ouyang

6. Prismatic Translation Download
Matthew Reynolds, Sowon S. Park and Kate Clanchy

7. Getting Creative in the Languages Classroom Download
Suzanne Graham, Linda Fisher, Julia Hofweber and Heike Krüsemann

8. Inspiring Language Learners Download
Jane Hiddleston, Laura Lonsdale, Chiara Cappellaro and Daniel Tyler-McTighe

9. Languages at Work Download
Katrin Kohl and Jonathan Black

10. Creating Languages Download
Katrin Kohl

Why Learn a Language? Download
Katrin Kohl

Find Out More
List of Illustrations
Notes on the Authors and Contributors
About the publishing team

Jonathan Black joined Oxford University as Director of the Careers Service in 2008 after a career that included blue-chip management consultancy, international academic publishing and co-founding a medical publishing start-up. He conducts coaching sessions, workshops and innovative programmes that provide hands-on career experience, and runs research programmes on what is required to secure a graduate-level job. In 2017 he published How to Find the Career You’ve Always Wanted and he writes the fortnightly ‘Dear Jonathan’ careers column for the Financial Times.

Noah Birksted-Breen is a theatre-maker and scholar, specializing in new writing in the UK and Russia. He founded Sputnik Theatre Company — the only British company dedicated solely to bringing new Russian plays to UK stages. For Sputnik, he has directed and translated new Russian plays for Soho Theatre, BBC Radio 3’s Drama of the Week, Southwark Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth (http://sputniktheatre.co.uk). He completed his PhD at Queen Mary University of London in 2017 on ‘Alternative Voices in an Acquiescent Society: Translating Russian New Drama for UK stages (2000–2014)’.

Marianna Bolognesi is Senior Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Bologna, Italy. Following two years as European Union Marie Curie postdoctoral researcher at the Metaphor Lab, University of Amsterdam, she joined Creative Multilingualism from 2017 to 2019, working on the interplay between metaphor, linguistic diversity and human creativity. Her current research focuses on the relationship between language and thought, and on the semantic representation of word meaning in the mind and its expression in pictorial and verbal modes of communication.

Philip Ross Bullock is Professor of Russian Literature and Music at the University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in Russian at Wadham College, Oxford. He has published widely on various aspects of Russian culture from the eighteenth century to the present and has a particular interest in the reception of Russian culture abroad. His most recent book is Pyotr Tchaikovsky (2016).

Chiara Cappellaro is a researcher in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford. Her interests and expertise lie in morphology, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and Italian and comparative Romance linguistics. Contributing to Creative Multilingualism has allowed her to broaden her interests to areas such as receptive multilingualism and intelligibility across cognate varieties.

Kate Clanchy is a teacher and writer. In 2018, she published England: Poems from a School, a collection of her migrant students’ poems, and was awarded an MBE for Services to Literature. Her most recent book, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (2019), was described by Sir Philip Pullman as the ‘best book about writing and teaching and children I have ever read’.

Julie Curtis is Professor of Russian Literature and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Her recent books are Mikhail Bulgakov (2017) and A Reader’s Companion to Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ (2019); and she has edited a volume of scholarly essays and interviews with theatre-makers entitled New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (2020).

Rajinder Dudrah is Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries at Birmingham City University. He has taught, researched and published widely across film, media and cultural studies, and is the founding Co-Editor of the scholarly journal South Asian Popular Culture. Rajinder is also Co-Investigator for the AHRC-funded ‘Diaspora Screen Media Network’, and two of his recent books include: The Evolution of Song and Dance in Hindi Cinema (co-edited with Ajay Gehlawat, 2019) and Bollywood Travels: Culture, Diaspora and Border Crossings in Popular Hindi Cinema (2012).

John Fanshawe is a Senior Strategy Adviser at BirdLife International. Before taking up that role in 2005, he was Head of Policy and Advocacy at BirdLife in 1998–2003, and Head of Development Programmes in 1993–1995. As a Senior Strategy Advisor, he is coordinating a programme on birds, culture and conservation, including a series of collaborations with authors, artists and musicians. See also http://egi.zoo.ox.ac.uk/members/dr-john-fanshawe/

Linda Fisher is Reader in Languages Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She teaches and researches in multilingualism, multilingual identity, language teacher education and creativity in language learning. A key research interest is how people’s beliefs about their capacity for language learning influence their motivation and progression, and the role of metaphor in this process.

Andrew Gosler is based at the University of Oxford, where he holds a position between the Department of Zoology and School of Anthropology as Associate Professor in Applied Ethnobiology and Conservation. He was Principal Investigator on an AHRC-funded project to develop the Ethno-ornithology World Atlas in 2013. An experienced teacher of field ornithology, his recent research focuses on the growing disconnection of people from nature and their declining knowledge of natural history. See also http://egi.zoo.ox.ac.uk/members/dr-andrew-gosler/

Suzanne Graham is Professor of Language and Education at the Institute of Education, University of Reading. She teaches and researches creativity in language learning, second language listening and reading comprehension, and motivation for and beliefs about language learning. Her recent research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has explored the role of teacher-related factors in how learners’ motivation for, and attainment in, language learning develops as they move from primary to secondary school. See http://www.reading.ac.uk/education/about/staff/s-j-graham.aspx

Jane Hiddleston is Professor of Literatures in French at the University of Oxford, and Official Fellow in French at Exeter College, Oxford. She has published widely on francophone literature and postcolonial theory, including most recently Decolonising the Intellectual: Politics, Culture, and Humanism at the End of the French Empire (2014), and Writing After Postcolonialism: Francophone North African Literature in Transition (2017). She is currently working with Wen-chin Ouyang on three edited volumes on world literature and multilingualism.

Julia Hofweber is a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, formerly at the University of Reading. Her research interests are wide, but she is primarily interested in the cognitive processes involved in language acquisition and bilingualism. In her PhD, she investigated the relationship between code-switching and mental flexibility in bilinguals. In her research for Creative Multilingualism, she explored educational practices that have the potential to enhance linguistic creativity in the second language.

Katrin Kohl is Professor of German at the University of Oxford. Her research interests in German literature focus on poetry and poetics, including the work of F. G. Klopstock, R. M. Rilke and the holocaust survivor H. G. Adler. Further fields of research are rhetoric and the theory and practice of metaphor, and she is currently writing a monograph on ‘The Creative Power of Metaphor’. Leading Creative Multilingualism has immeasurably broadened her linguistic and disciplinary perspectives.

Heike Krüsemann is a researcher in Language and Education. Her research interests include learner motivation, linguistic creativity and the relationship between language and identity. She writes on language(s) and culture, and in 2018 completed her PhD on ‘Language Learning Motivation and the Representation of German, Germans and Germany in UK Schools and the Press’.

Aditi Lahiri is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oxford and Vice-President (Humanities) of the British Academy. Her research focuses on understanding how languages change and how that is related to the way in which the human brain processes and stores words, despite the incredible variability in every-day language production, native as well as non-native. She uses a mixture of techniques ranging from the philological study of old manuscripts to experiments measuring people’s brainwaves (EEG recordings) to see how they respond to a variety of different speech sounds or words.

Laura Lonsdale is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Oxford. Her research explores literary multilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world, and her monograph Multilingualism and Modernity: Barbarisms in Spanish and American Literature was published in 2018. She is also Co-Editor of The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies (2017), which promotes a comparative approach to the multilingual cultures of the Iberian Peninsula.

Martin Maiden is a Romance linguist and Statutory Professor of the Romance Languages at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. He is Director of the Oxford Research Centre for Romance Linguistics, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of Academia Europaea. He has particular research interests in the historical development of Italian and Romanian (with other Romance languages of south-eastern Europe). His most recent book is The Romance Verb: Morphomic Structure and Diachrony (2018).

Wen-chin Ouyang is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is looking at the Silk Roads as a model for new comparative literature and world literature that will enable South–South comparisons, such as Arabic and Chinese, and make visible the global circulation of ideas, poetics, literary genres and world views along multiple contact hubs.

Karen Park is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include language change, documentation and maintenance, generative syntax, Austronesian languages, ethno-ornithology, and biocultural diversity and conservation. She was the Principal Organizer of the 2019 Intersections of Language and Nature Symposium (www.iln2019.com) at the University of Pittsburgh, which encouraged collaboration between language documentation and conservation.

Sowon S. Park is Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty of Cognitive Science Emphasis at UC Santa Barbara. She is Principal Investigator of a Crossroads-funded project that brings together research on unconscious memory in Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence and Literary Studies (http://um.english.ucsb.edu/). She edited the special issue of the Journal of World Literature, 1(2), on ‘Chinese Scriptworld and World Literature’ (2016) and is Co-Editor of the Global Asias Series published by Oxford University Press.

Nora E. Parr is a Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. She was formerly based at SOAS, and has been a research fellow with the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project Rights for Time/Time for Rights. Her work on contemporary Arabic and Palestinian Literature centres on re-defining critical terms through cross-context analysis, and has focused in particular on the terms ‘nation’ and ‘trauma’. She was Visiting Researcher at the Council for British Research in the Levant (Jordan and Palestine), and serves as Middle East Subject Editor at the Literary Encyclopedia.

Eleni Philippou is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Her book Speaking Politically: Adorno and Postcolonial Fiction (2020) explores the implications of Adorno’s critical theory for literary studies. Her key research interests are postcolonial and world literature, contemporary literature and critical theory. In recent years, her research has moved strongly towards comparative literature, and translation theory and practice. She is also an active poet, with a number of her poems published in both British and international anthologies and journals.

Matthew Reynolds is Professor of English and Comparative Criticism at the University of Oxford, where he chairs the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation research centre (OCCT). Among his books are Prismatic Translation (2019), Translation: A Very Short Introduction (2016), Likenesses: Translation, Illustration, Interpretation (2013) and the novels The World Was All Before Them (2013) and Designs for a Happy Home (2009).

Daniel Tyler-McTighe is a Research Fellow in Performing Arts at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Adjunct Professor at Millikin University. He is a theatre-maker who has staged productions at international theatre festivals in Shanghai, Almagro and Madrid and throughout England. He has created theatre with, by and for young people and community groups at the national theatres of Korea and Spain, Warsaw Palace of Culture and several UK theatres. His practice-as-research PhD from Loughborough University was titled ‘Contemporary Shakespeares: Adapting, Theatre-Making and Ghosting’.

Ana Werkmann Horvat is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics in Zagreb, Croatia. Following completion of her doctoral thesis on ‘Layers of Modality’ at the University of Oxford, her research as part of the Creative Multilingualism team was concerned with language processing and figurative language. Her recent research focuses on how figurative language is understood by monolingual and multilingual native speakers and language learners.

Felice S. Wyndham's research interest is ecological knowledge conservation in the service of Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ resource and land rights. Her recent writings are on narratives of deep historical ecologies in the Americas. As Principal Investigator of a 2017–2019 British Academy-funded project, she developed participatory ethno-ecology work with Ayoreo, Yshir and other communities in Paraguay and Mexico. For more on her work see www.narratinglandscapes.net
Introducing Creative Multilingualism (Katrin Kohl and Wen-chin Ouyang)

The introduction presents the concept of Creative Multilingualism, outlines the structure of and motivations behind the present volume, and identifies the various audiences for whom the book is intended. It unpacks what is meant by the term ‘multilingualism’, explores the effects of ‘monolingualism’, and highlights the relationship at the core of the book – that between language and creativity.

1. The Creative Power of Metaphor  (Katrin Kohl, Marianna Bolognesi and Ana Werkmann Horvat)

Chapter 1 looks at processes of figurative language in the interplay between thought and language from the vantage point of cognitive linguistics, exploring how different languages give their speakers different perspectives on the world through the way metaphors shape even the most fundamental concepts, such as time.

2. Creating a Meaningful World: Nature in Name, Metaphor and Myth (Karen Park, Felice S. Wyndham, Andrew Gosler and John Fanshawe)

Chapter 2 uses the linguistic and cultural resources of the Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA) and draws on comparative and historical linguistics, anthropology and biology to investigate the creative processes at work as linguistically diverse communities respond to the natural world through naming, metaphor and myth.

3. Not as 'Foreign' as You Think: Creating Bridges of Understanding across Languages (Martin Maiden, Chiara Cappellaro and Aditi Lahiri)

Chapter 3 deploys methods from historical and experimental linguistics to examine how speakers of one language manage to understand people speaking another (related) language, identifying strategies they use to create meaning in response to the ‘other language’ – and strategies with which they create barriers to understanding in order to preserve a distinctive identity.

4. A Breath of Fresh Air… Ivan Vyrypaev’s Oxygen (2002): From Moscow to Birmingham via Oxford (Rajinder Dudrah, Julie Curtis, Philip Ross Bullock and Noah Birksted-Breen)

Chapter 4 investigates interaction between languages in the performing arts – theatre, stand-up comedy, grime, rap, opera – and the types of creativity this generates in response to cultural contexts and audiences, drawing on media and performance studies, and working with artists ranging from Russian dramatists to Black British and British Asian musicians from Birmingham and Leicester.

5. Multilingualism and Creativity in World Literature (Wen-chin Ouyang)

Chapter 5 explores multilingual literatures to critique current theories of world literature using the idea of travel within the literary text, and investigates how drawing on more than one language in writing and reading generates new ways of seeing and understanding.

6. Prismatic Translation (Matthew Reynolds, Sowon S. Park and Kate Clanchy)

Chapter 6 develops an innovative theory of translation that captures its creative dimension. The metaphor of the ‘prism’ enables translation to be seen not in terms of functional equivalence but as a release of multiple signifying possibilities. This idea is put into practice through literary critical research into the many translations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and into the importance of different scripts (e.g. Chinese, Arabic, alphabetic) as a factor in translation; we also use the approach to inspire creative writing in schools.

7. Getting Creative in the Languages Classroom (Suzanne Graham, Linda Fisher, Julia Hofweber and Heike Krüsemann)

Chapter 7 draws on empirically based methodologies in the field of Second Language Education to consider creative alternatives to the prevalent emphasis on language learning for functional purposes, investigating the extent to which they may enhance foreign-language acquisition in schools and beyond.

8. Inspiring Language Learners (Jane Hiddleston, Laura Lonsdale, Chiara Cappellaro and Daniel Tyler-McTighe)

Chapter 8 showcases work with schools in creative writing workshops and the Multilingual Performance Project (MPP), exploring the energy languages can bring to classroom work when they provide a context in which it’s OK just to have fun with languages, encourage experimentation with new expressive resources, and build confidence with linguistic diversity.

9. Languages at Work (Katrin Kohl and Jonathan Black)

Chapter 9 looks at the role languages play in working contexts. It examines how increasing your linguistic flexibility and learning languages extend your communicative and cultural range in ways you can deploy for career purposes; and how glimpses of careers in which people use foreign languages tell us something about what makes languages valuable personally, culturally, professionally and financially – sometimes all at once.

10. Creating Languages (Katrin Kohl)

Chapter 10 sets out on a journey of discovery, homing in on some key questions concerning the interplay between creativity and languages, finding out what motivates language inventors to create an artificial language such as Esperanto and equip mythical folk such as Elves and the Dothraki with distinctive languages. It further considers the extraordinary linguistic inventiveness that allows us to create and appreciate language play, such as puns. 
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 series.

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