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Jan-Ola Östman (Helsinki): On "losing" language domains - a view from Swedish-language Finland

Wann 20.06.2012
von 14:00 bis 16:00
Wo FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Großer Seminarraum
Teilnehmer universitätsoffen
Termin übernehmen vCal

The primary focus of the presentaation are the implicit processes that influence the science domain of usage of Swedish at various levels and by teachers and students at the bilingual (Finnish, Swedish) University of Helsinki. The position of Swedish is analyzed in relation both to that of Finnish and to English as the lingua franca of research. A number of areas and situations are noted where Swedish has a hard time to make its voice heard. In general, though, the bilingual character of the university works as a testing ground for parallel language use: for three languages with very different status. What happens to the constellation of the two traditional languages (where these languages are generally perceived as majority and minority languages) when English is taking over more domains of usage? Theoretically, three concepts are in focus: domain, responsibility, and ambivalence. Many decisions within the university are characterized by an ambivalence as to how explicitly accepted strategies are to be interpreted in relation to the status of Swedish. In the last resort, this touches upon issues of responsibility, accountability and agency. Even though there are no unclarities with respect to legal responsibilities, the issue of who is ultimately perceived to be de facto accountable for keeping the university bilingual is left vague. This in turn paves the way for domain loss.