Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
Implicit (English) language policy in higher education: Insights from three universities
The aim of this paper is to identify elements of implicit language policy indicators in strategic documents of three higher education institutions in geographical proximity. Using document analysis we examine and compare aspects of institutional policies at the respective universities with a particular eye to the English language and the internationalization of higher education. In general, language policies of both the EU and the Council of Europe are underpinned by individual plurilingualism and societal multilingualism, and efforts put forth by the EU and the European Commission aimed at promoting linguistic diversity are evidently directed, among others, at higher education institutions. However, internationalization, the creation of a European Higher Education Area and mobility have contributed to introducing English as the common language in academia, which is reflected in university strategies and the overall ecology of languages. Given these developments, it is obvious that institutions of higher education should have their own explicit language policy which would determine the status and use of languages. There is no doubt that such a language policy is essential for internationally-oriented universities, yet surprisingly few institutions have actually designed explicit language policies. However, language policies exist in higher education institutions even when they have not been made explicit or formally written. In line with this view, we draw on aspects of implicit language policies to provide insights into the gap between EU language policy and current practices at the respective institutions. Although, the fostering of plurilingualism is a fundamental element of...
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