Local majority and minority languages and English in the university
This study explores the usage and demand for local languages and English in a range of universities in Nordic countries. The University of Helsinki is in focus because of its bilingual status with two national languages, which have an official but not an equal position in practice. This research site was compared with five other universities working on a unilingual or multilingual basis. The study reveals tensions between official language policies and grassroots practices; language choice also creates tensions between national and global sciences. While official language policies may be soft steering instruments, they safeguard the presence of a non-default language. However, the increasing presence of English challenges traditional university language policies, calling for a reevaluation of them.