Whose parallellingualism? Overt and covert ideologies in Danish university language policies

Hultgren, Anna Kristina (2014). Whose parallellingualism? Overt and covert ideologies in Danish university language policies. Multilingua, 1-2(33) pp. 61–87.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2014-0004


This paper aims to contribute to the study of multilingualism in the workplace by analysing top-down language policies advocating parallellingualism at Denmark’s eight universities. Parallellingualism, a key concept in Nordic language policy, has been suggested as a way to ensure an equitable balance between English and the Nordic language(s) without the former encroaching on the latter. Drawing on theories which consider discourses about language to constitute positioning for or against a particular social, moral or political order (Cameron 2012), the paper contrasts state- and institution-authored university language policies. The overall aim is to understand what the different actors mean when they invoke 'parallellingualism'. Supplementary data consist of a corpus of newspaper articles on the topic of the use of English and Danish at Danish universities published in the same period as the university language policies. It is argued that while both state and institution-authored policies overtly advocate 'parallellingualism' as a guiding principle for managing multilingualism at Danish universities, in the state-authored policies, this seems to mean 'more Danish', while in the institution-authored policies it seems to mean 'more English'. Some underlying ideologies of each of these positions are proposed before the implications for workplace discourse are discussed.

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