European Journal of Language Policy

University language policies

How does Finnish constitutional bilingualism meet the needs for internationalisation in English?

European Journal of Language Policy (2018), 10, (1), 97–119.

Abstract

In this article, we discuss the position of Finnish constitutional bilingualism in higher education in the context of internationalisation in English, by focusing on two universities: one dominantly monolingual (Finnish), one dominantly bilingual (Finnish–Swedish); in addition, both teach in English. This article investigates how discourses around language choices (language policy documents, selected staff and student interviews) construe these universities as monolingual, bilingual or trilingual, and what these discourses say about the universities as organisations themselves. Results suggest that, although lack of clarity remains regarding language choices in many practical situations, Finnish and English are seen as self-evident primary languages of the universities; Swedish, as the third language, occupies a more contested place.

Dans cet article, nous discutons de la position du bilinguisme constitutionnel finlandais dans l’enseignement supérieur dans le contexte de l’internationalisation en anglais, en nous concentrant sur deux universités: l’une à dominante monolingue (langue finnoise), l’autre majoritairement bilingue (finno-suédoise); en outre, les deux enseignent en anglais. Cet article étudie comment les discours sur les choix linguistiques (documents de politique linguistique, personnel sélectionné et entrevues avec les étudiants) interprètent ces universités comme monolingues, bilingues ou trilingues, et ce que ces discours laissent voir à propos des universités en tant qu’organisations elles-mêmes. Les résultats suggèrent que, malgré le manque de clarté concernant les choix de langue dans de nombreuses situations pratiques, le finnois et l’anglais sont considérés comme des langues primaires évidentes des universités. Le suédois, en tant que troisième langue, occupe une place plus contestée.

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Author details

Saarinen, Taina

Rontu, Heidi