1887
image of Language policy in Italian universities

Abstract

Abstract

In recent years, the significant expansion of English-medium instruction (EMI) programmes across higher education institutions outside English-speaking contexts has brought with it an inherent set of language-related tensions and ambiguities. In this article, we explore how a selection of Italian universities have tackled these tensions. Via a content analysis of university policy documents, we investigate the key language-related themes in them, and the orientations to language that these themes entail. The results show that English is seen as necessary for and almost synonymous to internationalisation, as well as a language that can bring benefits to both institutions and individuals. However, a commitment to multilingualism and to the promotion of Italian from a non-protectionist stance is apparent in the documents analysed. This finding, we argue, puts the Italian context apart from other settings that have been previously investigated (e.g. the Nordic countries), and points to an original way in which universities can navigate the language ambiguities that come with the process of higher education internationalisation.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.21029.zua
2022-07-14
2022-08-12
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/10.1075/lplp.21029.zua/lplp.21029.zua.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.21029.zua&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

References

  1. Apelgren, B.-M., Eriksson, A.-M., Strömberg Jämsvi, S.
    (Eds.) (2022) Language matters in higher education contexts. Policy and practice. Leiden: Brill. 10.1163/9789004507920
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004507920 [Google Scholar]
  2. Baker, W., & Hüttner, J.
    (2018) “We are not the language police”: Comparing multilingual EMI programmes in Europe and Asia. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 29(1), 78–94. 10.1111/ijal.12246
    https://doi.org/10.1111/ijal.12246 [Google Scholar]
  3. Berns, M., Claes, M.-T., Bot, K., Evers, R., Hasebrink, U., Huibregtse, I., Truchot, C., & Wijst, P.
    (2007) In the Presence of English: Media and European Youth. Springer. 10.1007/978‑0‑387‑36894‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-36894-8 [Google Scholar]
  4. Björkman, B.
    (2014) Language ideology or language practice? An analysis of language policy documents at Swedish universities. Multilingua, 33(3–4), 335–363. 10.1515/multi‑2014‑0016
    https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2014-0016 [Google Scholar]
  5. Blattès, M.
    (2018) Policy development for English-medium instruction in French universities. European Journal of Language Policy, 10(1), 13–37. 10.3828/ejlp.2018.2
    https://doi.org/10.3828/ejlp.2018.2 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bolton, K., & Meierkord, C.
    (2013) English in contemporary Sweden: Perceptions, policies, and narrated practices. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 17(1), 93–117. 10.1111/josl.12014
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12014 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bowles, H., & Murphy, A.
    (Eds.) (2020) English-medium instruction and the internationalization of universities. Bern: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑47860‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47860-5 [Google Scholar]
  8. Braun, V. & Clarke, V.
    (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
    https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa [Google Scholar]
  9. Bretxa, V., Comajoan, Ll., & Vila, F. X.
    (2016) Is science really English monoglot? Language practices at a university research park in Barcelona. Language Problems and Language Planning, 40(1), 47–68. 10.1075/lplp.40.1.03bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.40.1.03bre [Google Scholar]
  10. Broggini, S., & Costa, F.
    (2017) A survey of English-medium instruction in Italian higher education: An updated perspective from 2012 to 2015. Journal of Immersion & Content-Based Language Education, 5(2), 238–264. 10.1075/jicb.5.2.04bro
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jicb.5.2.04bro [Google Scholar]
  11. Bull, T.
    (2012) Against the mainstream: Universities with an alternative language policy. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 216, 55–73. 10.1515/ijsl‑2012‑0039
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0039 [Google Scholar]
  12. Buognol, M. L., & Dulá, J.
    (2015) Technical pitfalls in university rankings. Higher Education, 69, 859–866. 10.1007/s10734‑014‑9809‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-014-9809-y [Google Scholar]
  13. Byun, K., Chu, H., Kim, M., Park, I., Kim, S., & Jung, J.
    (2011) English-medium teaching in Korean higher education: Policy debates and reality. Higher Education, 62(4), 431–449. 10.1007/s10734‑010‑9397‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-010-9397-4 [Google Scholar]
  14. Conceição, M. C.
    (2020) Language policies and internationalization of higher education. European Journal of Higher Education, 10(3), 231–240. 10.1080/21568235.2020.1778500
    https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2020.1778500 [Google Scholar]
  15. Costa, F.
    (2017) English-medium instruction in Italian universities: If we’ re gonna do it do it right – right?InM. Guarda, F. Helm, & K. Ackerley (Eds.), Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction (pp.77–94). Peter Lang Pub Inc.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Costa, F., & Coleman, J. A.
    (2013) A survey of English-medium instruction in Italian higher education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(1), 3–19. 10.1080/13670050.2012.676621
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.676621 [Google Scholar]
  17. Cots, J. M., Lasagabaster, D., & Garrett, P.
    (2012) Multilingual policies and practices of universities in three bilingual regions in Europe. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 216, 7–32. 10.1515/ijsl‑2012‑0037
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0037 [Google Scholar]
  18. Cots, J. M.
    (2012) Introducing English-medium instruction at the University of Lleida, Spain: Intervention, beliefs and practices. InA. Doiz, D. Lasagabaster, & J. Manuel Sierra (Eds.), English-medium instruction at universities. Global challenges. (pp.106–128). Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781847698162‑010
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847698162-010 [Google Scholar]
  19. Dafouz, E., Camacho, M., & Urquia, E.
    (2014) ‘Surely they can’ t do as well’: a comparison of business students’ academic performance in English-medium and Spanish-as-first-language-medium programmes. Language and Education, 18(3), 223–236. 10.1080/09500782.2013.808661
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2013.808661 [Google Scholar]
  20. Doiz, A., Lasagabaster, D., & Sierra, J. M.
    (2013) English as L3 at a bilingual university in the Basque Country, Spain. InA. Doiz, D. Lasagabaster & J. Manuel Sierra (Eds.), English-medium instruction at universities. Global challenges. (pp.84–105). Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Earls, C.
    (2013) Setting the Catherine wheel in motion: An exploration of “Englishization” in the German higher education system. Language Problems and Language Planning, 37(2), 125–150. 10.1075/lplp.37.2.02ear
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.37.2.02ear [Google Scholar]
  22. Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D.
    (Eds.) (2021) Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Twenty-fourth edition. SIL International. Online version: www.ethnologue.com
    [Google Scholar]
  23. European Commission
    European Commission (2005) Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: Action plan 2004–06. Publications Office. Available at: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/b3225824-b016-42fa-83f6-43d9fd2ac96d
    [Google Scholar]
  24. European Commission
    European Commission (2013) European higher education in the world. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52013DC0499
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Fabricius, A. H., Mortensen, J., & Haberland, H.
    (2017) The lure of internationalization: paradoxical discourses of transnational student mobility, linguistic diversity and cross-cultural exchange. Higher Education, 73(4), 577–595. 10.1007/s10734‑015‑9978‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9978-3 [Google Scholar]
  26. Galloway, N., Numajiri, T., & Rees, N.
    (2020) The ‘internationalisation’, or ‘Englishisation’, of higher education in East Asia. Higher Education, 80, 395–414. 10.1007/s10734‑019‑00486‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00486-1 [Google Scholar]
  27. Grandinetti, M., Langellotti, M., & Ting, Y. L. T.
    (2013) How CLIL can provide a pragmatic means to renovate science education – even in a sub-optimally bilingual context. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(3), 354–374. 10.1080/13670050.2013.777390
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2013.777390 [Google Scholar]
  28. Harder, P.
    (2012) “Parallel Language Use at the University of Copenhagen – An Evolving Commitment.” Presentation at theCALPIU’12: Higher Education Across Borders: Transcultural Interaction and Linguistic Diversity, Roskilde, Denmark, April 1–4.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E.
    (2005) Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288. 10.1177/1049732305276687
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732305276687 [Google Scholar]
  30. Hult, F. M.
    (2012) English as a transcultural language in Swedish policy and practice. TESOL Quarterly, 46(2), 230–257. 10.1002/tesq.19
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.19 [Google Scholar]
  31. Hult, F. M., & Källkvist, M.
    (2016) Global flows in local language planning: articulating parallel language use in Swedish university policies. Current Issues in Language Planning, 17(1), 56–71. 10.1080/14664208.2016.1106395
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2016.1106395 [Google Scholar]
  32. Hultgren, A. K., Gregersen, F., & Thøgersen, J.
    (2014) English at Nordic universities: Ideologies and practices. InA. K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen & J. Thøgersen (Eds.) English in Nordic Universities: Ideologies and Practices (pp.1–26). John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/wlp.5.01hul
    https://doi.org/10.1075/wlp.5.01hul [Google Scholar]
  33. Knight, J.
    (2004) Internationalization Remodelled: Definition, Approaches, and Rationales. Journal of Studies in International Education8(1), 5–31. 10.1177/1028315303260832
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315303260832 [Google Scholar]
  34. Kuteeva, M.
    (2020) Revisiting the ‘E’ in EMI: Students’ perceptions of standard English, lingua franca and translingual practices. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 23(3), 287–300. 10.1080/13670050.2019.1637395
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2019.1637395 [Google Scholar]
  35. (2014) The parallel language use of Swedish and English: the question of “nativeness” in university policies and practices. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), 332–344. 10.1080/01434632.2013.874432
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2013.874432 [Google Scholar]
  36. Kuteeva, M., Kaufhold, K., & Hynninen, N.
    (Eds.) (2020) Language perceptions and practices in multilingual universities. Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑38755‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38755-6 [Google Scholar]
  37. Lasagabaster, D.
    (2021) EMI in Spain: Striving to maintain a multilingual balance. In: Wilkinson, R., & Gabriëls, R. (Eds.), The Englishization of higher education in Europe (pp.77–95). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Macaro, E.
    (2015) English medium instruction: Time to start asking some difficult questions. Modern English Teacher, 24(2), 4–7.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Marche Polytechnic University
    Marche Polytechnic University (2021) https://www.univpm.it/Entra/
  40. Moring, T., Godenhjelm, S., Haapamärki, S., Lindström, J. K., Östman, J. O., Saari, M., & Sylvin, J. C.
    (2013) Language policies in universities and their outcomes: The University of Helsinki in a Northern European context. InBerthoud, A.-C., Grin, F. & G. Lüdi (Eds.), Exploring the dynamics of multilingualism (pp.299–322). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/mdm.2.14mor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/mdm.2.14mor [Google Scholar]
  41. Mulas, M. G.
    (2018) Politecnico, l’inglese e i “Baroni”. Corriere della Sera – Milano (24April, p.13).
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Nguyen, Huong T., Walkinshaw, I. & Pham Hiep, H.
    (2017) EMI Programs in a Vietnamese University: Language, Pedagogy and Policy Issues. InB. Fenton-Smith, P. Humphreys & I. Walkinshaw (Eds.), English Medium Instruction in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific. Multilingual Education. Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑51976‑0_3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51976-0_3 [Google Scholar]
  43. Phillipson, R.
    (2015) English as a threat or opportunity in European higher education. InDimova, S., Hultgren, A. K., Jensen, C. (Eds.), The English language in teaching in European higher education (pp.19–42). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614515272‑003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614515272-003 [Google Scholar]
  44. Pons Parera, E.
    (2014) The Position of Catalan in Higher Education in Catalonia. InV. Moreno, F. Xavier, & V. Bretxa (Eds.), Language Policy in Higher Education. The Case of Medium-Sized Languages. (pp.153–180). Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783092765‑009
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783092765-009 [Google Scholar]
  45. Pulcini, V., & Campagna, S.
    (2015) Internationalisation and the EMI controversy in Italian higher education. InS. Dimova, A. K. Hultgren, & C. Jensen (Eds.), English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education (pp.89–114). De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Romaine, S.
    (2000) Language in Society : An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Ruíz, R.
    (1984) Orientations in Language Planning. NABE Journal, 8(2), 15–34. 10.1080/08855072.1984.10668464
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08855072.1984.10668464 [Google Scholar]
  48. Saarinen, T.
    (2012) Internationalization of Finnish higher education – is language an issue?. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 216, 157–173. 10.1515/ijsl‑2012‑0044
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0044 [Google Scholar]
  49. (2020) Higher education, language and new nationalism in Finland. Recycled histories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑60902‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-60902-3 [Google Scholar]
  50. Santulli, F.
    (2015) English in Italian universities: The language policy of PoliMi from theory to practice. InS. Dimova, A. K. Hultgren, & C. Jensen (Eds.), English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education (pp.269–290). De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9781614515272‑014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614515272-014 [Google Scholar]
  51. Soler, J.
    (2019) Language policy and the internationalization of universities. De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9781501505898
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501505898 [Google Scholar]
  52. Soler, J., Björkman, B., & Kuteeva, M.
    (2018) University language policies in Estonia and Sweden: exploring the interplay between English and national languages in higher education. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 39(1), 29–43. 10.1080/01434632.2017.1307844
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2017.1307844 [Google Scholar]
  53. Soler, J., & Gallego-Balsà, L.
    (2019) The Sociolinguistics of Higher Education: Language Policy and Internationalisation in Catalonia, Palgrave Pivot. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑16677‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-16677-9 [Google Scholar]
  54. Soler-Carbonell, J.
    (2015) Language policy in Estonian Higher Education: Internationalisation and the tension over English. InS. Dimova, A. K. Hultgren, & C. Jensen (Eds.), English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education: English in Europe (pp.247–268). De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9781614515272‑013
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614515272-013 [Google Scholar]
  55. Soler-Carbonell, J., Saarinen, T., & Kibbermann, K.
    (2017) Multilayered perspectives on language policy in higher education: Finland, Estonia, and Latvia in comparison. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38(4), 301–314. 10.1080/01434632.2016.1198356
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2016.1198356 [Google Scholar]
  56. Sapienza University
  57. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
    Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (2022) https://www.sns.it/it
  58. Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
    Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (2021) https://www.santannapisa.it/it
  59. Stemler, S., & Bebell, D.
    (1998) “An Empirical Approach to Understanding and Analyzing the Mission Statements of Selected Educational Institutions” (ERIC Doc No. ED 442 202). Paper presented at theannual meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization. Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Tosi, A.
    (2004) The Language Situation in Italy, Current Issues in Language Planning. Current Issues in Language Planning, 5(3), 247–335. 10.1080/14664200408668259
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664200408668259 [Google Scholar]
  61. University of Florence
    University of Florence (2022) https://www.unifi.it/
  62. University of Pisa
    University of Pisa (2022) https://www.unipi.it/
  63. University of Roma Tre
    University of Roma Tre (2022) https://www.uniroma3.it/
  64. University of Siena
    University of Siena (2021) https://www.unisi.it/
  65. University of Tor Vergata
    University of Tor Vergata (2022) web.uniroma2.it/
  66. University of Urbino Carlo Bo
    University of Urbino Carlo Bo (2021) https://www.uniurb.it/
  67. Van Parijs, P.
    (2021) Englishization as trap and lifeline. In: Wilkinson, R., & Gabriëls, R. (Eds.), The Englishization of higher education in Europe (pp.355–367). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Wilkinson, R., & Gabriëls, R.
    (Eds.) (2021) The Englishization of higher education in Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Wächter, B., & Maiworm, F.
    (2008) English-Taught Programmes. Lemmens.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. (2014) English-taught programmes in European higher education: The state of play in 2014. Lemmens.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.21029.zua
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.21029.zua
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: English-medium instruction ; language policy ; Italian ; higher education ; English
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error