Complementary Languages: The national language and English as working languages in European universities

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    Abstract

    The Danish language debate is dominated by two key concepts: ‘domain loss' and its opposite, ‘parallel languages' (parallelsproglighed). The under­stood reference is to the relationship between Danish and English - i.e. the spread of English at the expense of Danish vs. the coexistence of Danish and English within relevant ‘domains' of Danish society. In this article I am going to argue that the concept of ‘domain loss' is not theoretically tenable - its usual depiction ranging from the vague to the nonsensical - which is not to say that the relationship between English and Danish within Danish society is everywhere unproblematic. A case in point is Higher Education. I will also argue that the recently proposed solution to ‘domain loss' - Danish and English used ‘in parallel', ‘parallel languages' - because it is unrealistic as well as undesirable as a consistent principle - should be replaced by an alternative concept that more adequately describes the realities of what adherents of ‘parallel languages' can hope for. The new concept I have dubbed ‘complementary languages' (komplementær­sproglighed). I will explain this concept in the following and contrast it both with ‘parallel languages' and the traditional concept of ‘diglossia'
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    BogserieAngles on the English-Speaking World
    Vol/bind9
    Sider (fra-til)10-28
    Antal sider19
    ISSN0903-1723
    StatusUdgivet - 2009

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