European Journal of Language Policy

National language policies in the era of globalisation: The case of Denmark

European Journal of Language Policy (2009), 1, (1), 29–38.

Abstract

Communication across cultural and linguistic borders is no longer restricted to the chosen few. Foreign language and intercultural communication competences are of vital importance to an increasing number of people, especially in Europe, which is multilingual and multicultural. This article examines the status of English as a lingua franca, and the increase or decrease in the learning of foreign languages among children and young people. Taking the example of Denmark, it argues that European countries need to develop a national language policy. This should comprise provision for the learning of foreign languages in the education system, the provision of instruction in the official language(s) of the country and the opportunity for immigrants and others to learn their respective languages so that these language competences may be exploited as a valuable resource. More research is needed in this area and in the concrete implementation of such a policy.

La communication à travers les frontières culturelles et linguistiques n'est plus limitée à l'élite. Les compétences en langues étrangères et en communication interculturelle sont d'une importance vitale pour un nombre croissant, surtout en Europe qui est multilingue et multiculturel. Cet article examine le statut de l'anglais comme lingua franca, et la progression (ou non) de l'apprentissage des langues étrangères parmi les jeunes. Prenant l'exemple du Danemark, il propose que les pays européens aient besoin de politiques linguistiques nationales. Celles-ci devraient comporter l'offre de l'apprentissage des langues étrangères dans le système d'éducation, l'instruction dans la ou les langue(s) officelle(s) du pays et la possibilité pour les immigrés et d'autres d'apprendre leur propre langue pour permettre la mise en valeur de ces compétences linguistiques précieuses. Il y a besoin de recherches supplémentaires dans ce domaine et dans la mise en pratique de telles politiques.

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Lauridsen, Karen