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Multilinguismes et plurilinguismes

Multilingualism and social attitudes : Social capital in the 21st century (The Economist - Johnson)

Last Updated: 4 Sep 2015

THE ECONOMIST, as a liberal newspaper, is a believer in globalisation and migration. We have also often argued that multi-ethnic countries should make compromises to stay together, rather than break apart into ethno-nationalist states. We hold diversity to be a virtue, not a weakness or failing.

But is this Panglossian? Diversity is fine in the best of all possible worlds, but we do not seem to live in such a world. For example, economists have long known that highly multilingual countries tend to be poorer than those dominated by a single big language. This raises a question: If linguistically homogeneous states tend to be richer, do they get richer because they are monolingual, or does development tend to favour the biggest language at the expense of smaller competitors? More...