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Receptive Multilingualism

  1. Daria Bahtina,
  2. Jan D. ten Thije

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1001

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Bahtina, D. and Thije, J. D. t. 2012. Receptive Multilingualism. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Receptive multilingualism refers to language constellations in which interlocutors use their own language while speaking to each other. This mode was widely applied in the Middle Ages, but linguistic constellations were transformed into monolingualism determined by nation-state formation from the 17th to the 19th century. Mainly due to areas and countries where receptive multilingualism still flourishes, researchers have demonstrated increasing interest in the processes behind this type of multilingual communication. This entry first discusses the theoretical concept of this phenomenon and then describes historical developments, linguistic and mental characteristics, as well as current applications.


  • Eastern Europe;
  • Northern Europe;
  • sociolinguistics;
  • Southern Europe;
  • Western Europe;
  • multilingualism