In the News: The Power of Linguistic Diversity

In The Science of Speaking, I talk about some of the benefits of teamwork, but here’s another great one.

A few days ago in Quartz, Gabrielle Hogan-Brun, author of Linguanomics: What is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? wrote about the power of having diversity in teams, in particular, diversity of languages.

The whole article is worth a read, but, quoting Hogan-Brun, here’s a tl;dr version:

Observations of multi-language work teams show that mixed-language groups have a propensity to find innovative solutions for practical problems. This is because they use a range of communication strategies in flexible and dynamic ways. When speakers from different language backgrounds work together using a common language, they draw on subconscious concepts that lie below the surface of the language they happen to be conversing in.


Forming a multilingual team is like having different cognitive tools in your tool kit: The greater the diversity in your set, the more you can accomplish. … Not only do a range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds help improve company culture, but the more languages a team speaks, the greater their potential propensity to think up original solutions that draw from all of their backgrounds.

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