English in Denmark: Friend or Foe?

Use of English, domain loss and perceived bilingualism in an EFL country

  • Simone Bianchetti University of Milan
Keywords: Domain loss, English as a foreign language, Denmark, Sociology of language, Language attitudes

Abstract

The last two decades have seen the rise of an academic and political debate in Denmark about the growing influence of Global English in many contexts of society. Some measures were taken to limit the consequences of such influence, especially the loss of domain in higher education, research, and business. However, Danes are usually considered, at home and abroad, to be extremely proficient in English, to the point of being deemed bilingual, and the attitude towards English is generally positive in Denmark. The purpose of the survey in this paper was to determine the extent of use of English in four social practices, as well as the attitude towards learning English, language death, and bilingualism. The results found that Danes generally do not perceive their language to be at risk, at least not in the majority of contexts. They consider English an important language to learn for study and work, but Danish still seems to be in a dominant position in everyday life.

Author Biography

Simone Bianchetti, University of Milan

Simone Bianchetti is a Master student of English at the University of Milan and a former exchange student at the University of Copenhagen. His research interests include Sociolinguistics, English as a Global Language, Corpus Linguistics, Comparative Linguistics, Historical Linguistics and the Germanic Languages in general.

References

Christophersen, P. (1991, July). A bilingual Denmark: What happens in a small country when every citizen speaks English as well as the national language? English Today, 7-10.
Dansk Sprognævn. (2012). Dansk sprogs status. Retrieved August 08, 2020, from https://dsn.dk/vi-arbejder-ogsa-med/sprogpolitik/sprogpolitikker-1/dansk-sprogs-status-2012/DSN_sprogstatus2012.pdf
Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2020). Denmark. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Twenty-third edition: https://www.ethnologue.com
European Commission. (2012). Europeans and their languages. Special Eurobarometer 386. European Commission. Brussels: Directorate-General Communication (European Commission). Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu.pros.lib.unimi.it/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf
Folkeskolens Læseplansudvalg. (1974). Undervisningsvejledning for folkeskolen (udkast) 10 - fremmedsprog. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.21994/loar6808
Gottlieb, H. (2009). Parallelism or Convergence? The English Influence on Danish. In P. Harder (Ed.), Angles on the English-speaking World - English in Denmark: Language Policy, Internationalization and University Teaching (pp. 68-94). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum.
Gregersen, F. (2018). More parallel, please!: Best practice of parallel language use at Nordic Universities: 11 recommendations. Copenhagen: Nordisk Ministerråd. doi:10.6027/TN2018-523
Haastrup, K. (2008, December). English-Medium Higher Education in Denmark. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 7(3), 205-206. doi:https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.110
Haberland, H. (2005). Domains and domain loss. In B. Preisler, A. Fabricius, H. Haberland, S. Kjærbeck, & K. Risager (Eds.), The Consequences of Mobility: Linguistic and Sociocultural Contact Zones (pp. 227-237). Roskilde: Roskilde Universitet. Retrieved from https://rucforsk.ruc.dk/ws/files/37440202/Haberland.pdf
Harder, P. (2008). Hvad er parallelsproglighed? Retrieved August 08, 2020, from cip.ku.dk: https://cip.ku.dk/om/om_parallelsproglighed/oversigtsartikler_om_parallelsproglighed/hvad_er_parallelsproglighed/
Hultgren, A. K. (2014). Whose parallellingualism? Overt andcovert ideologies in Danish university language policies. Multilingua, 33(1-2), 61-87. doi:10.1515/multi-2014-0004
Jarvad, P. (2001). Det danske sprogs status i 1990'erne med særligt henblik på domænetab. Copenhagen: Dansk Sprognævn. Retrieved from https://dsn.dk/udgivelser/sprognaevnets-udgivelser/sprognaevnets-skriftserie-1/det-danske-sprogs-status
Kristiansen, T. (2005). The power of tradition: a study of attitudes towards English in seven nordic communities. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, 37(1), 155-169. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/03740463.2005.10416088
Kulturministeriet. (2003). Sprog på spil. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from https://kum.dk/uploads/tx_templavoila/Sprog%20paa%20spil.pdf
Ladegaard, H. J. (1998). National stereotypes and language attitudes: the perception of British, American and Australian language and culture in Denmark. Language & Communication, 18(4), 251-274. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0271-5309(98)00008-1
Ladegaard, H. J., & Sachdev, I. (2006). ‘I Like the Americans... But I Certainly Don't Aim for an American Accent’: Language Attitudes, Vitality and Foreign Language Learning in Denmark. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 27(2), 91-108. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/01434630608668542
Larsen, F. (1994). More than Loan-words: English influence on Danish. RASK – International journal of Language and Communication(1), 21-46. Retrieved from https://www.sdu.dk/-/media/files/om_sdu/institutter/isk/forskningspublikationer/rask/rask+1/page+21+more+than+loan-words+-+english+influence+on+danish+by+fritz+larsen.pdf
Lønsmann, D. (2011). English as a corporate language : language choice and language ideologies in an international company in Denmark. Roskilde Universitet. Retrieved from https://forskning.ruc.dk/files/34454838/PhD_thesis_Dorte_L_nsmann.pdf
Mortensen, J. (2014). Language policy from below: language choice in student project groups in a multilingual university setting. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), pp. 425-442. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2013.874438
Nwahunanya, C. (1988). The Concept of “Dominance Configuration” and the Nigerian Language Situation. Meta, 33(4), 579–582. doi:https://doi.org/10.7202/003751ar
Phillipson, R. (2001b). Global English and local language policies: What Denmark needs. Language Problems & Language Planning, 25(1), pp. 1-24.
Preisler, B. (1999). Functions and forms of English in a European EFL country. In T. Bex, & R. Watts (Eds.), Standard English: Widening Debate (pp. 239-267). Routledge.
Preisler, B. (2003). English in Danish and the Danes' English. International Journal of the Sociology of Language(159), 109-126. doi:https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.2003.001
Preisler, B. (2005). Deconstructing 'the domain of science' as a sociolinguistic entity in EFL societies. In B. Preisler, A. Fabricius, & H. Haberland (Eds.), The Consequences of Mobility: Linguistic and Sociocultural Contact Zones (pp. 238-248). Roskilde: Roskilde Universitet. Retrieved from https://rucforsk.ruc.dk/ws/files/37440220/Preisler.pdf
Preisler, B. (2009). Complementary languages: the national language and English as working languages in European universitites. In P. Harder (Ed.), Angles on the English-speaking World - English in Denmark: Language Policy, Internationalization and University Teaching (pp. 10-28). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum.
Sprogudvalget. (2008). Sprog til tiden. Kulturministeriet. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from https://kum.dk/uploads/tx_templavoila/sprog_til_tiden_netpub.pdf
Sprogudvalget. (2009). Sprog til tiden: Regeringens opfølgning på sprogudvalgets rapport. Kulturministeriet. Retrieved August 5, 2020, from https://kum.dk/uploads/tx_templavoila/KUM_Sprogtiltiden_web_NY.pdf
Weinreich, U. (1953). Languages in Contact. Mouton.
Published
2020-12-15
How to Cite
Bianchetti, S. (2020). English in Denmark: Friend or Foe?. Journal of Language Works - Sprogvidenskabeligt Studentertidsskrift, 5(2), 69-87. Retrieved from https://tidsskrift.dk/lwo/article/view/123468