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Attitudes towards English in university language policy documents in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)In: Attitudes towards English in Europe: English in Europe, Volume 1 / [ed] Andrew Linn, Neil Bermel, Gibson Ferguson, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2015, 115-138 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The present paper presents a discourse analytic study of the existing language policy documents from nine Swedish universities with regard to attitudes towards English. The discourse of the language policy documents has been studied carefully to investigate how the use of English is mentioned, what main themes it occurs in and what these themes seem to indicate with regard to attitudes towards the use of English in Swedish higher education. Four main themes for English emerge from the results of the investigation: 1) English as an important language that one is required to be proficient in; 2) English is here to stay, but it needs to be used alongside the local language Swedish and other languages where possible, aiming for parallel language use; 3) English poses a threat to Swedish (and other languages); and finally 4) English used in such university settings needs to be plain, comprehensible and intelligible. The theme with the strongest presence in the documents overall is theme 2, which is also explicitly stated in the rules, regulations and guidelines in these documents. Although there are few explicit instances of theme 3 in the data, the strong presence of theme 2 reveals the underlying attitudes in the documents: Swedish as an academic language is under threat and therefore must be “maintained”, “promoted” and “protected”. The results suggest that, despite the everyday language practices (as defined by Spolsky 2004) of the individuals in these higher education settings and which language they need for their everyday tasks, the use of English seems to be encouraged only if it occurs with the local language Swedish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2015. 115-138 p.
, Language and Social Life, 2
Keyword [en]
language policy, attitudes, higher education, language practices, language management
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109159ISBN: 978-1-61451-551-7ISBN: 978-1-61451-735-1OAI: diva2:763253
Available from: 2014-11-14 Created: 2014-11-14 Last updated: 2015-08-03Bibliographically approved

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Björkman, Beyza
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