Browsing by Subject "language policy; multilingualism; internationalization; educational institutions; focus groups"

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  • Lindström, Jan Krister (2012)
    Language policies and the management of national and international multilingualism have always concerned educational institutions. Many modern European universities are facing the challenge of paying attention to regional multilingualism, which may involve majority and minority languages, at the same time when the market for higher education demands investment in widely used world languages. This article reports an analysis of outcomes of university language policies, as they are experienced at the grass-roots level by students and staff. The bilingual University of Helsinki in Finland serves as an example of an institution that must deal with national languages (Finnish and Swedish), of which one is in a minority position, as well as with English as the main language of internationalization. The analysis reveals tensions between overt and covert policies and discusses motivations for the policies and their impact. Focus group discussions with students and staff are analyzed to measure the participants’ capacities, opportunities and desires to use a language in the university setting. The heterogeneity of a multilingual university is reflected by the different priorities and needs which members of different language groups expressed regarding language policies and practices.