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Internationalisation of universities and minority languages: Language policy tensions in Catalonia, Wales and the Basque Autonomous Community

Gallego-Balsà, Lídia, Cots, Josep M. and Garrett, Peter 2022. Internationalisation of universities and minority languages: Language policy tensions in Catalonia, Wales and the Basque Autonomous Community. Apelgren, Britt-Marie, Eriksson, Ann-Marie and Strömberg Jämsvi, Susanne, eds. Language Matters in Higher Education Contexts: Policy and Practice, Brill, pp. 35-52. (10.1163/9789004507920_003)

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The internationalisation of higher education (HE) has generated a growth of cross-cultural communication among students and staff. Consequently, linguistic diversity within universities has increased significantly. The new multicultural reality has led HE institutions to reconsider their language policies in order to manage this increasingly multilingual situation. The majority of universities across non-English speaking territories have opted for introducing English as a working language and its coexistence with national languages has led to heated debates about the role of these languages in the internationalisation of higher education. Our study brings together the results of a multi-sited research programme which investigated the language ideological debates and tensions generated by the growing use of English (and, in Catalonia and the Basque Autonomous Community, Spanish) as a language of instruction in minority language contexts which are actively engaged in reversing the language shift towards the majority language. The six tensions identified were: (1) forced vs. optional multilingualism; (2) multilingualism vs. English-skewed multilingualism; (3) parallel multilingualism vs. heteroglossic multilingualism; (4) languages as communication barriers or languages as integration tools; (5) English as a language of instruction at an international university vs. lack of competence of the teachers and local students; and, finally, (6) global vs. local languages. We conclude that issues around individuals’ multilingual competence, the history of each context in implementing multilingual language policies in primary and secondary education and aspects of language hierarchy affecting global and local languages might play a role in the success of a specific language policy.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Brill
ISBN: 9789004507906
Funders: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 14:55

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