Multilingual people

In Steve’s blog he talks about some findings claiming that multilingual people may be more creative. I’m not too sure about that, I have the creativity of a snail. (In the comments section Steve was also trying to convince someone that MLPs are ever-so-slightly nicer people - as if convinction were needed!)
I think multilingual people get less sleep, judging by the amount of contributions made here at all hours (taking the time zones into account). I know that I force myself to wake up earlier in order to check on my e-mails… So, some MLPs are more creative, all are nicer, sleep less and what else?

I suppose, in general multilingual people are more communicative.

I think growing up with two languages definitely has its advantages. I feel like I’ve always had a lot of creativity but perhaps never found the right outlet for it growing up. I think being a multilingual kid can give you the ability to understand ‘both sides of the story’. Also, what the article was saying about dealing with complex ideas or thought patterns made sense to me.

I think that being a language enthusiast (or even a multilingual kid) in an English speaking country can be frustrating because there are very large numbers of people who have absolutely no interest or appreciation of other languages.

I’m bilingual since I was born (I speak Spanish and Catalan perfectley), and then learnt other languages (English, French and Italian). I don’t know is multilingualism boost creativity or not, but I do think that multilingual people are more open minded!! I also think they are more communicative, but maybe not just in the strict meaning, but in the sense that they are more tolerant with other cultures. They usually like to learn and to know other cultures and ways of thinking or doing things, etc.
Sometimes I got really frustated when trying to discuss something related to culture or languages with someone with amazingly narrow outlook on things. I’d like just to tell them, please, go abroad, meet different people, different cultures, and then will talk again about that!!!

I forgot just an example: I remembered once discussing about Catalan with a monolingual Spanish speaker, and at the end she just told me: “If you claim that in Catalonia everyone knows and speaks Spanish other than Catalan I don’t understand why you keep on speaking and defending Catalan. Wouldn’t be easier for everyone just to speak Spanish?”
Should I’ve tried to refute their narrow minded point of view? Maybe, but at that point I was so tired of talking with a wall that I just told her “Ok, see you tomorrow then!”

Of course I’m not saying that all monolingual people are narrow-minded, but I just think that, in general, multilingual people are more open-minded!

Just out of curiousity, how similar are Catalan and Spanish? Are they as similar as Spanish and Portuguese are to each other?

Peterlaunonen, both (catalan and spanish) are romance languages, so they are quite similar. They are similar like spanish-italian.

Yeah! I agree with Oscar!

To be fair , I was being facetious in my blog post. I do not believe multilingual are more creative or better than anyone else. I believe the research was deliberately cooked to show this result. Here is the post.

#Multilingual people are more creative, or are they?

The European Commission, in a study called “The Contribution of Multilingualism to Creativity”, has concluded that multilingual people are more creative. I am always ready to believe this kind of research, in fact any research, that concludes the multilingual people are somehow better.

Unfortunately I doubt if the great inventors of the past were any more multilingual than anyone else. I know many creative people who are not multilingual. I think it was Voltaire who said about a famous polyglot that he speaks 6 languages and has nothing to say in any of them.

Nevertheless, I am in favour of multilingualism. I also agree with the position in the study that we should learn languages through interesting and meaningful content. That is, after all, what we do at LingQ.

I find Catalan more different than Spanish than Portuguese, which is really very similar to Spanish. Why people who speak majority languages are unsympathetic to speakers of minority languages is strange. It is almost as if they feel threatened. We find these people in Canada among English Canadians vis a vis French Canadians. I suspect that the Wallons alse feel that speaking Flemish is a waste of time…strange.

I completely agree with you Steve about that strange and inexplicable aversion for minority languages!

‘…tired of talking with a wall…’

Hahaha I’ve had that feeling before…

mmm I find Catalan closer to spanish and easier to understand than portuguese. I’d say Catalan is half way in between Spanish and French (a bit closer to spanish).

Politicians (both parts) in Spain use Catalan as a weapon. (Flags, patriotisim and all that shit)

It seems as if they want to ripe off the Spanish from Catalonia. Or pretend it doesn’t exist.
The sings in the streets are all only in Catalan.
The public schools and universities aren’t bilingual, they teach everything in Catalan and you study Spanish just like you study English or French
All public activities and paper forms are only in Catalan… etc

I wonder what people would think of Catalan if politicians would have made things diferent. Trying to make Catalonia bilingual in their traffic singns and schools and public life. Teaching people that Catalan is a lovely language and is part of our culture and we should perseve it and that it can coexist with Spanish happily and peacefuly

In Franco’s dictatorship Catalan was banned, 40 years of trying to supress it has made its mark.
Franco felt the Catalan threatened his (stupid) patriotisim. And the Catalan politicians have learned that lesson well, now it’s them they feel their (stupid) patriotism threatened by the Spanish.
Going from one extreme to the other I guess is just fine and the usual thing to do. I just hope things even up a bit in the future. And alsuvi won’t have to deal with narrow minded people that think that Catalan is useless. It makes me sad that people think a language is useless, because it is something that enriches you in everyway and indeed opens your mind!

The whole Catalan-Spanish debate, in all its dimensions and narrow mindedness on both sides, past injustices, present nationalist rhetoric etc. reminds me of the French-English debate in Canada.

And it reminds me of the Dutch-French debate in Belgium!

The chicken-and-egg question is whether the multilingualism makes people creative), or if creative people turn to multilingualism.

What’s “considered” creative?

Music? Art? History? Literature? Sports? Dancing? Industrial design?

I’m sorry, I didn’t pretend to discuss here about Catalan and Spanish, it was just an example, but I’d like just to point out something you said, Berta.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been or lived in Catalonia, but I will just give my personal opinion from my experience living here all my life. I was born in Barcelona, my father is Catalan and my mother is from a small village near Ponferrada, León (North West of Spain), so since I started to speak, I’ve always done it in Spanish and Catalan, so I consider myself a natural perfect bilingual.

I completely agree with you that in Spain this subject is used as a political weapon (both parts). I also agree with most of things you said, but I’d just like to add that as you all sure know, at present the media are really powerful. And, like everywhere, some media (regardless of their positions) are quite serious and others just say bullshit (some times due to ignorance, others to purely manipulate the reality).
Why do I say that? Because I’m really tired to listen to some medias claiming that Spanish is persecuted here, that you can’t use Spanish because everyone just speaks Catalan and that if you speak Spanish here you’ll be marginalized and will have less opportunities and… and… some ones even claimed that in a near future Spanish will disappear, that it’s in danger in Catalonia!!

So, I leave politics to politicians and the ones who want to listen to them! I’ll just talk about our reality!

The only thing that I can tell you about this is that in the real life here, there is not a problem between Spanish or Catalan. This issue/fight is just political. Leaving apart extremisms of both sides, bilingualism is not a real problem here. Everyone here, every citizen in Catalonia speaks Spanish perfectly (maybe some ones with a stronger accent or not, but that’s normal). In fact, especially in big cities like Barcelona (the capital) Spanish is far more spoken than Catalan. According to the linguistic census held by the Government as of 2008, a plurality claims Spanish as “their own language” (37.26% Catalan compared to 46.53% Spanish), and in most everyday uses people who use exclusively Spanish or both languages equally are in the majority. 57.83% of citizens declared Spanish as a native language, either exclusively or along with Catalan.

What I can tell you is that if someone comes here knowing just Spanish, he won’t have any problem to live here a normal life, to understand and get understood by everyone. Absolutely!!
Instead I wouldn’t dare to guarantee that if some foreign newcomer speaks just Catalan (let’s be hypothetical), would be able to understand and get understood by everyone. Definitely, not in Barcelona or the surrounding area. Maybe in small cities or towns… but in the city, no way!!

We could talk about that for a loooong time, but I thing it’s not the point here. I just wanted to state that in Catalonia, in the street, not in the political level/field, but in the real life, in the street, there is no problem between Spanish and Catalan and I’m really proud to know and use both languages!

Sorry for the long speech. It’s hard to express some ideas in a short way! :wink:

Oh my! I’m really sorry! Now that I’ve seen it published, it’s a really long post!!


What’s your operating system? Do you find yourself thinking more in Catalan or Spanish?