The parallel language use of Swedish and English: The question of “nativeness” in university policies and practices
2014 (English)In: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, ISSN 0143-4632, E-ISSN 1747-7557, Vol. 35, no 4, 332-344 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
As a result of internationalisation, many universities in northern Europe have adopted English as a medium of instruction. At the same time, recent language policies have reinforced the importance of the national language(s) in the academic domain. Parallel language use was introduced and institutionalised in order to ensure students’ right to receive education in their native language and to protect the national language(s) from the ‘threat’ of English. In this article, I discuss the concept of parallel language use and the extent to which it promotes ‘nativeness’ as a benchmark for language use in educational contexts. Drawing on the data collected at a major Swedish university, I show that the development of academic literacy in English is often mistaken for a need to achieve a native-like proficiency. I argue that academic language competence requires both more and less than a native/native-like competence. Thus, academics and students at Swedish universities may be mixing apples and pears and setting unrealistic goals regarding English proficiency in academic contexts, based on the standard native English norms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2014. Vol. 35, no 4, 332-344 p.
language policy, English-medium instruction, academic literacy, native speaker, higher education
Research subject English
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101167DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2013.874432ISI: 000334018800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-101167DiVA: diva2:699524