Globalization, sociolinguistics and the international university: Case-studies of the Danish Higher Education landscape

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    Globalization, sociolinguistics and the international university: a case-study of the Danish higher education landscape

    Anne Fabricius, Hartmut Haberland, Janus Mortensen
    Globalizing processes and transnational individuals present challenges to sociolinguistic theorizing in a number of ways. Within higher education specifically, sharpened international competition for increasing numbers of mobile students (a process often fostered by governments for economic reasons) means that many national universities located outside the Inner and Outer Circles of English have decided to introduce degree programmes taught in English as a way to attract transnational students. As studies in such countries are increasingly documenting, this does not proceed in a straightforward way. In particular, the nature of the interface between the local language and the addition of English to the institution challenges simplistic additive conceptualizations.
    To try to tackle this complexity, the CALPIU project was conceived as a way to document a time-slice of a developing situation of language diversity in a Danish higher education context (references below). This presentation will showcase several analytical examples from the CALPIU project, a research centre funded by the Danish National Research Council for the Humanities from 2009 to 2013. CALPIU stands for Cultural and Linguistic Practices in the International University, and is conceived of as a paradigm that examines linguistic diversity in social action. The Research Centre has built up a record of university activities of many kinds (such as official university occasions, teaching and supervision, administrative encounters, informal talk in casual spaces) in a data storehouse which now comprises a large number of hours of these activities. We will bring together evidence from language policy papers and debates, audio/video interactional data as well as metalinguistic talk that together document the present situation of ‘internationalising’ language and context in Danish Higher Education. Several principles and generalizations, as well as paradoxes, emerge from the data, which reveal the constant interplay of local, regional and global practices, norms and conventions in the ‘internationalising context’. This contradicts common neo-liberal discourse which understands ‘internationalisation’ as a simplistic addition of English (or replacement of Danish with English) as a medium of instruction. The presentation will explicate these paradoxes and challenges, and their ramifications for sociolinguistic theory.
    Selected References
    Fabricius, A. (2011). International Basic Studies in the Humanities: internationalization and localization in four dimensions. Preisler , B., Klitgård , I., & Fabricius , A. H. (red.), I: Language and Learning in the International University: From English Uniformity to Diversity and Hybridity. Kapitel 7.(s. 122-146). Multilingual Matters.
    Haberland, H. , & Mortensen, J. (eds.) (2012). Language and the international university: Thematic issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    Mortensen, J. , & Haberland, H. (2012). English – the new Latin of academia? Danish universities as a case. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 216, 175-197.
    Periode23 jul. 2013
    BegivenhedstitelInternational Congress of Linguists: The Language-Cognition Interface
    PlaceringGeneva, SchweizVis på kort