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English in Scandinavian tertiary education: to take arms against a sea of troubles Hartmut Haberland Reykjavík, July 19, 2013 Nitobe Symposium.

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Presentation on theme: "English in Scandinavian tertiary education: to take arms against a sea of troubles Hartmut Haberland Reykjavík, July 19, 2013 Nitobe Symposium."— Presentation transcript:

1 English in Scandinavian tertiary education: to take arms against a sea of troubles Hartmut Haberland Reykjavík, July 19, 2013 Nitobe Symposium

2 English in Scandinavian tertiary education Why is English so much more a world language in the Nordic countries than elsewhere? Inner and outer factors: English from above and below (Preisler 1999) ”The charisma of the liberators ” (Schou 1993, but on the other hand Sevaldsen 1992) Linguistic imperialism and linguistic hegemony

3 Phillipson: Language imperialism theory “English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French in the present age.” (John Adams 1780) “The power to control language offers far better prizes than taking away people’s provinces or lands or grinding them down in exploitation. The empires of the future are the empires of the mind” (Winston Churchill in Harvard 1943) ”The Thatcher Center will focus on how the United States and Great Britain can lead and change the world.” (http://www.thatchercenter.org/sub_about.cfm)http://www.thatchercenter.org/sub_about.cfm (all quoted in Phillipson 2012)

4 Linguistic hegemonic projects Hegemony is not mere dominance — it is, one the one hand (following Antonio Gramsci, cf. Robinson [2005]), the way in which “common sense” frames the existing social world and its practices as “natural” and “self- evident”, and on the other (following Ranajit Guha), a way in which persuasion outweighs coercion in the organization of dominance (Guha 1997: 23). Thus, while the use of Latin as the language of academia was considered “obvious” and “natural” for literally hundreds of years because it was established as an integral part of the dominating sociolinguistic worldview, we are currently witnessing the emergence of a new “logic” in which it is “natural” to assume that universities “obviously” need to introduce English in order to fulfill their societal role. This reflects on the one hand an acceptance of the “market” as the governing factor of choices for universities, including language choices, and on the other hand certain commonsense ideas of how “the market” works and what its requirements are. Central among these assumptions is that English, as the language of globalism (cf. Haberland 2009), is the “obvious” language of “the market”.

5 Language change in academia Der Sprachenwechsel ist nie, auch nicht in den Wissen- schaften, ein bloßer Austausch eines arbiträren Zeichensystems gegen ein anderes.... Für die Wissenschaften des 18. Jahrhunderts war der Sprachenwechsel auch mit einem Funktionswandel der Universität und einer Neubewertung wissenschaftlicher Inhalte verbunden. (Schiewe 2000: 91–92) [Language change is never, not even in academia, a mere replacement of one arbitrary sign system by another.... For scholarship in the 18th century, language change was related to a transformation of the function of the university and a reassessment of academic content.]

6 Bull; Mortensen and Haberland Four phases of the Danish university (cf. Bull 2004, Mortensen and Haberland 2012: 192) University type PeriodLegitimizing principle Language _________________________________________________________________ medieval and early15th and 16thauctoritas (authority)Latin modern universitycenturies enlightenment17th and 18thratio (reason) Latin, other universitycenturiesEuropean languages, Danish national university19th and 20thnationDanish centuries post-nationalend of 20th,marketDanish, University21th centuryEnglish

7 Market metaphor market as a metaphor for competition (Park and Wee 2012) market as a metaphor for commodification (of education and language) (Naidoo and Jamieson 2005; Heller 2010; Mortensen and Haberland 2012b)

8 Market metaphor: demand or supply? Hvis vi tager gæsten bestemmer-argumentet først, så kan vi genkende dette fra den åbning af universitetsstudierne mod studerende fra andre lande hvor de mærkværdigvis taler andre sprog end de nordiske, som er så typisk for det internationaliserede universitet. Hvis der i et lokale med fx danske studerende sidder en udvekslingsstuderende eller en international studerende som ikke kan forstå dansk (undervisningssprog), hvad gør man så? Der er to muligheder: Sender vedkommende på danskkursus så han eller hun kan lære det. Eller: Lærer og studerende skifter til et andet undervisningssprog som den studerende behersker (godt nok). Det er næsten altid engelsk, ikke nødvendigvis fordi det er de studerendes bedste sprog, det er det bestemt ikke altid, men fordi det for nordiske studerende og undervisere er (eller ses som) det eneste realistiske alternativ til det nordiske. (Gregersen 2012: 8)

9 Market metaphor: demand or supply? ”If we take the principle ’the guest is to decide’ first, so can we recognize this from the opening of university studies towards students from other countries where they strangely enough speak other languages than the Nordic ones, which is so typical for the international university. If there is an exchange or transnational student in the room together with (e.g.) Danish students who does not understand Danish (which happens to be the language of instruction), what do you do? There are two possibilities: send them to A Danish course so they can learn it. Alternatively, teacher and students shift to another language of instruction, which almost always will be English, not because it is the transnational student’s best language – it certainly won’t always be – but because for the Nordic student and teachers is is the only realistic alternative.” (Gregersen 2012: 11) In other words: it is not the guest who decides, but the host. The common demand-side argument (”all the best students and professors speak English”) is really a hidden supply-side argument (”we can’t do it in any other language except English anyway”).

10 References Bull, Tove Dagens og gårdagens akademiske lingua franca. Eit historisk tilbakeblikk og eit globalt utsyn. In: Dag Finn Simonsen, ed. Språk i kunnskaps- samfunnet. Engelsk – elitenes nye latin? Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk Haberland, Hartmut English – the language of globalism? Rask 30:17-45 Gregersen, Frans Indledning: Globaliseringens udfordringer med særligt hensyn til universitetsinstitutionerne. Nordand 2(7): 5-19 Guha, Ranajit Dominance without hegemony. History and power in colonial India. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Heller, Monica The Commodification of Language. Annual Review of Anthropology 39: Mortensen, Janus and Hartmut Haberland 2012a. English – the new Latin of academia? Danish universities as a case. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 216: Mortensen, Janus and Hartmut Haberland 2012b. The pragmatics of knowledge of English as a commodity. 5th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and 1st International Pragmatics of the Americas Conference, Charlotte, NC, October 21, 2012.

11 References Naidoo, Rajani and Ian Jamieson Knowledge in the marketplace: The global commodification of teaching and learning in higher education. In: Peter Ninnes and Meri Hellstén, eds. Internationalizing Higher Education: Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy. Dordrecht: Springer. Park, Joseph Sung-Yul and Lionel Wee Markets of English. London: Routledge. Phillipson, Robert Linguistic vitality under pressure: German in a neoimperial age. In: Heinrich Oberreuter, Wilhelm Krull, Hans Joachim Meyer und Konrad Ehlich (Hrsg.), Deutsch in der Wissenschaft. Ein politischer und wissenschaftlicher Diskurs. München: Olzog, Preisler, Bent Danskerne og det engelske sprog. Frederiksberg: Roskilde Universitetsforlag/Samfundslitteratur. Robinson, William I Gramsci and Globalisation. From nation-state to transnational hegemony. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8(4):

12 References Schiewe, Jürgen Von Latein zu Deutsch, von Deutsch zu Englisch. Gründe und Folgen des Wechsels von Wissenschaftssprachen. In: Friedhelm Debus, Franz Gustav Kollmann and Uwe Pörksen (eds.), Deutsch als Wissenschaftssprache im 20. Jahr- hundert. Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, Schou, Søren The Charisma of the Liberators. The Americanization of Postwar Denmark. in: Roger de la Garde, William Gilsdorf and Ilja Wechselmann (eds.), Small Nations, Big Neighbour: Denmark and Quebec/Canada Compare Notes on American Popular Culture. London: John Libbey Sevaldsen, Jørgen Culture and diplomacy: Anglo-Danish relations In: Jørgen Erik Nielsen, ed. The twain shall meet. Danish approaches to English studies. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Department of English Studies. 9-46

13 English in Scandinavia: Nitobe Inazō 新渡戸 稲造, 1862–1933


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