English as an Academic Lingua Franca: Language policies and multilingual practices in a Norwegian university

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Even though Norwegian is the predominant language in almost all sectors of society in Norway, there has been an increasing tendency in the university sector in the recent years to introduce English as a medium of instruction, particularly at the post-graduate level. Using English has for some years been politically encouraged as part of internationalisation efforts, while the questions of who, where and when have largely been left up to the individual university departments and staff. This paper presents a case study of one such university department, which conducts all their teaching through the medium of English. The study asks the questions: In which ways is English being used? Has the department¿s English-only policy resulted in English only being used, or are Norwegian and other languages also used in certain circumstances, regardless of the policy? Why did this particular university department choose to make English its official language of instruction? The paper relates Fishman¿s domain theory to code-switching theory, as defined by Fishman, Auer and Heller. It further discusses whether domain- and codeswitching theory is compatible with Bourdieu¿s theory of language and symbolic power, and Anderson¿s theory on imagined communities, and whether the combined application of these theories may shed light on the linguistic situation in academia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-1004
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number4
Early online date22 Sept 2010
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2010


  • English as lingua franca
  • Code-switching
  • Language and symbolic power
  • Imagined Communities
  • Domain loss
  • Language planning,
  • Language politics
  • English as an academic language


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