European Journal of Language Policy

EMI, international visibility and competitiveness

A corpus-assisted discourse study of Spanish higher education internationalisation plans

European Journal of Language Policy (2021), 13, (2), 201–222.

Abstract

One of the main goals of Spanish higher education is the consolidation of an internationalised university system through international visibility, attractiveness, competitiveness and collaboration. As the literature reports, English plays a relevant role in internationalisation strategies, so this paper examines the relationship between internationalisation and English in institutional documents. Corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis were used to identify language-related strategies and interpret the language beliefs underlying the promotion of English in the Spanish university context. Results showed that the main language-related strategy was English-medium instruction (EMI) because it promotes the international visibility of universities and helps local students improve their foreign language competence. Measures to support bilingual education were found regarding language training and accreditation. Furthermore, the discourses of globalisation, excellence and employability support the position of English as the international language. Therefore, the introduction of English as another working language in the universities’ linguistic repertoire is widely accepted, although institutional support and constant language training measures are considered essential for the success of internationalisation goals.

Este artículo examina la relación entre la internacionalizacion y el inglés en documentos institucionales ya que uno de los objetivos principales de la educación superior española es la consolidación de un sistema universitario internacionalmente visible, atractivo, competitivo y colaborativo, y como detalla la literatura, el inglés juega un papel relevante en la internacionalización. Para ello se emplearon técnicas de lingüística de corpus y análisis crítico del discurso para identificar estrategias de internacionalización relacionadas con las lenguas y a su vez interpretar los matices que subyacen a las ideologías lingüísticas dentro del contexto español. Los resultados muestran que la estrategia principal es la docencia EMI porque promueve el atractivo internacional de las universidades y permite a los estudiantes locales mejorar su competencia lingüística. Para apoyar la educación bilingüe se han encontrado principalmente iniciativas relacionadas con la formación y acreditación lingüística. Además, el papel del inglés como la lengua internacional se apoya en discursos de globalización, excelencia y empleabilidad. De este modo, la presencia del inglés como lengua de trabajo en las universidades españolas es ampliamente aceptada aunque se considera esencial la existencia de un mayor apoyo institucional y medidas de formación para el éxito de la internacionalización.

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Villares, Rosana