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The effect of multilingualism/multiculturalism on personality: no gain without pain for third culture kids?

Dewaele, Jean-Marc and van Oudenhoven, P. (2009) The effect of multilingualism/multiculturalism on personality: no gain without pain for third culture kids? International Journal of Multilingualism 6 (4), pp. 443-459. ISSN 1479-0718.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14790710903039906

Abstract

The present study investigates the link between multilingualism/multiculturalism, acculturation and the personality profile (as measured by the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire) of 79 young London teenagers, half of whom were born abroad and had settled down in London during their childhood 'Third Culture Kids' (TCKs; Pollock & Van Reken, 2001). Statistical analyses revealed that TCKs scored higher on the dimension of Openmindedness and Cultural Empathy and scored lower on Emotional Stability. Language dominance (first language (L1), L1 and one or two other languages (multidominance), or any language which is not the L1 (LX) had a significant effect on the participants' personality profile, with the multidominant group scoring significantly higher on Openmindedness, marginally higher on Cultural Empathy and significantly lower on Emotional Stability than participants dominant in one language only. The number of languages known by participants was also significantly linked to their personality profile, with functional multilinguals scoring significantly higher than incipient bilinguals on Openmindedness, marginally higher on Cultural Empathy and significantly lower on Emotional Stability. These findings confirm that personality is shaped by social and biographical factors. Acculturation is stressful but the experience of having to fit in and being in contact with different languages and cultures strengthens Cultural Empathy and Openmindedness. Adapted from the source document

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 07:53
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2684

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