Measuring Diversity in Multilingual Communication

Michele Gazzola, Torsten Templin, Lisa Mcentee-Atalianis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


This article develops new indices to measure linguistic diversity. It is new in two respects: firstly, existing indices to measure the probability that in a given multilingual context communication among people speaking different languages can successfully occur are based on the assumption that communication is possible only if at least one single language is shared. This study develops new indices that describe the probability that people with different linguistic repertoires can effectively communicate not only through one common language, but also by relying on their receptive competence in multiple languages, or a mix between the two communication strategies. Secondly, it develops indices to measure the degree of diversity of language policies aimed at providing multilingual communication (through translation and interpretation). The focus, therefore, is on the organisation as collective actors rather than individuals. The indices may be relevant to the study of the political and economic implications of linguistic diversity in multilingual countries, and in the management of diversity in multilingual organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545–566
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
Early online date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The financial support of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (Project MIME—Grant Agreement 613344) and of Birkbeck, University of London is gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank Bengt-Arne Wickström, Dietrich Voslamber and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Diversity
  • Multilingualism
  • public administration
  • social indicators
  • language policy
  • Probability
  • Probability theory
  • Public administration
  • Linguistic diversity
  • Language policy
  • Indicators
  • Multilingual communication


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