Internationella universitet – lokala språkval : Om bruket av talad svenska i engelskspråkiga kursmiljöer

Sammanfattning: The thesis deals with the use of spoken Swedish on six English-medium university courses in Sweden. The courses are taken by both Swedish and foreign students, with English as the common language of instruction. The aim of the study is to describe and understand the oral use of Swedish, by students in particular, in the type of linguistic environment that arises when English is the medium of instruction. Language use is studied from three angles: the use of spoken Swedish, the functions of Swedish in interaction, and participants’ attitudes to Swedish and English and to the choice of one language or the other. The analysis is based on observations and recordings of naturally occurring talk on courses in the subject areas business studies, engineering and computer science, and on interviews with students and teaching staff. Close analysis of the Swedish spoken is combined with ethnographic knowledge of the broader social context of the courses, and in both theory and method the thesis combines the research fields of sociolinguistics and ethnography. The study shows that Swedish is spoken on all the courses observed. It is used primarily outside whole-group teaching, in interactions not involving foreign students. The language occurs both in talk relating to the course subject and in private conversations. Thus, English-medium education does not by definition mean that English is the only language employed; Swedish, too, has a more or less prominent place. In the thesis, attitudes and patterns of language choice are attributed to the national, rather than international, character of the courses, and to the fact that most of the students and lecturers have experience of and routines from Swedish-medium education. The old routines are carried over into the nominally English-medium courses, giving Swedish a special position and local prestige in these environments.