Maria Pilar Safont-Jordà

The Multilingual University of a bilingual speech community in Southern Europe. How might EMI affect language attitudes? Some views from a stakeholder’s perspective

The spread of English as a Lingua Franca together with the increasing interest in multilingualism have changed the linguistic repertoire of many educational institutions in Southern Europe. Universities in bilingual speech communities, such as Valencia, have adapted their language policies by adding a third language (i.e. English) to the already established plans for the promotion of Catalan and Spanish bilingualism. One action taken in this regard is the inclusion of English-medium instruction (EMI) in BA and MA courses. This presentation will focus on a university that played a fundamental role in the promotion of Catalan in Valencia for over fifteen years (roughly 1990-2005). Nevertheless, the use and presence of that language has decreased for the last ten years coinciding with a renewed interest in multilingual policies. With this development in mind, I would like to describe how certain policies may affect academic staff and students’ perceptions, beliefs and behavior in a Multilingual University, arguing that the construct of language attitudes is most suitable for such a description. Importantly, I see language attitudes as integrated within the larger political, economic, social and historical context. Hence, this presentation will refer to how EMI may affect language attitudes by considering their dynamic relationship with the wider context of the mutilingual university.

 

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