European Journal of Language Policy

The impact of English on language education policy in Iceland

European Journal of Language Policy (2009), 1, (1), 39–59.

Abstract

Iceland, a small Nordic country, is confronting choices about the languages to be used in education, especially in the light of the growing importance of English as an international lingua franca in higher education. This article examines the growth of teaching through English, mainly as a means of attracting international students who lack the ability to study through a Nordic language. It investigates the policies adopted by the European Union to promote multilingualism and suggests that their intentions are not consistently carried out in pragmatic decision-making. The experience of the Nordic countries has been that English is becoming more widely used in higher education, but in Iceland the enthusiasm for English is accompanied by an interest in other foreign languages, as well as a commitment to maintain the presence of Icelandic in all academic domains.

L'Islande, petit pays nordique, fait face aux choix de langue dans l'enseignement, surtout au moment où l'anglais progresse comme lingua franca internationale dans l'enseignement supérieur. Cet article considère la montée de l'enseignement à travers l'anglais, dans la perspective d'attirer des étudiants internationaux qui manque la capacité d'étudier en une langue nordique. Il examine les politiques linguistiques adoptées par l'Union européenne pour promouvoir le multilinguisme, et suggère que les intentions ne sont pas toujours mises en pratique dans les décisions. L'expérience des pays nordiques montre que l'anglais est pratiqué de plus en plus dans l'enseignement supérieur. Pourtant, en Islande l'enthousiasme pour l'anglais s'accompagne d'un intérêt pour d'autres langues étrangères aussi bien que d'un engagement à maintenir la présence de la langue islandaise dans tout les domaines de l'université.

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Hilmarsson-Dunn, Amanda