Academic journal article European Journal of Language Policy

The Attractiveness of Second-Cycle and PhD Studies in Europe - a Question among Others: Which Language?

Academic journal article European Journal of Language Policy

The Attractiveness of Second-Cycle and PhD Studies in Europe - a Question among Others: Which Language?

Article excerpt

Abstract

Promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity is a priority in international contexts, but it seems that this can be an obstacle both to the transmission of knowledge in higher education and to production in the fields of research. In Italy, there is not a global approach to language policy, nor a comprehensive policy document at either university. This article discusses three reasons to teach both in the national language and in the English language so as to internationalise Italian higher education.

Keywords: linguistic diversity; language policy; internationalisation; higher education; multilingualism

Résumé

La promotion de la diversité culturelle et linguistique est une priorité dans les contextes Internationaux, mais II paraît que ce fait constitue un obstacle à la transmission des connaissances dans l'enseignement supérieur. En Italie, il n'y a pas une approche cohérente à la politique linguistique universitaire, ni de documents de référence univoques. Cette contribution se propose de discuter trois arguments en appui de l'utilisation de la langue nationale et de l'anglais à la fols dans l'enseignement supérieur Italien, dans le but de son Internationalisation.

Mots clés : diversité linguistique ; politique linguistique ; Internationalisation ; enseignement supérieur; plurilinguisme

Promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity is a priority in international contexts, but at the same time it seems that this can be an obstacle both to the transmission of knowledge in higher education and to production in the fields of research.

In 2009 the British Academy noted that

With the increasing development in collaborative work, and the large sums of money attached to such work by national and international agencies, lack of language skills inflicts a real handicap on scholars in many parts of the British university system, and therefore weakens the competitive capacity of the system itself. (British Academy 2009: 3)

The British Academy warned its researchers that knowing the English language exclusively is a handicap and not an opportunity, because it risks putting British researchers in an inferior position with respect to foreign academics.

Is there therefore a risk in educating in only one language? The answer is positive, because this is not the only opportunity we have. What others do we have? And how should we imagine organising them? I wish to propose some consistent issues and put forward some thoughts for your consideration.

American studies in applied linguistics demonstrate that 'the monolingual lens that has long characterized [the] state education system in the UK and US, and that has resulted in a monolingual/bilingual paradigm underlying the ways American conceptualize, talk and practice education, is unsuitable for viewing and mapping a terrain that is increasingly multilingual' (Hall, Smith and Wicaksono 2011: 177). These scholars present a two-part framework for understanding how education in multiple languages is commonly organised. They distinguish between frames that are

* language-based: we can think of all the language courses in our Language Centre at Université Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (foreign language courses to improve communicating skills in specialised situations and for specific purposes);

* content-based and context-based: this is the case for all the academic courses in the English language for economics, law, humanities organised at our university for Erasmus students, or foreign students of other international projects, and for all academic courses of second-cycle and PhD studies.

These ways of looking at programmes are not mutually exclusive, of course. To some extent, all programmes must take into account the language and subject matter learning needs of their students, as well as the contextual features and constraints of the larger context in which they are based. (Hall, Smith and Wicaksono 2on: 179)

The authors argue that much more can be learned about particular programmes by examining them from the point of view of the two frames. …

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