Reflections on EMI and the multilingual university in word and deed: Internationalisation, EMI and bi/multilingualism in policy and practice
This paper has the double function of (1) discussing the issues outlined in the title in the context of the Nordic countries (in particular Denmark) and (2) discussing the content of the different papers and panels which have made up this seminar. I start by noting how EMI programs are presumed to serve three purposes – to prepare local students for an international career, to attract transnationally mobile (‘international’) students and to make it possible to employ transnationally mobile (‘international’) teaching staff. I then note how each of these purposes imply new tensions as I suggest that EMI is not just the solution, but part of the problem. Among other things, I discuss how EMI has an inbuilt monolingual bias (since English often is the only shared language) which directly counteracts the idea of internationalisation; how the linguistic capital of local students is often devaluated in EMI contexts; how EMI puts demands on the administrative staff that they often cannot cope with (e.g. students have to be serviced in English); how foreign academics who join departments where EMI is practised often find that they are excluded and marginalised due to insufficient (or total lack of) command of the local/national language; and how there is a constant tension between English and local/nation languages, as the latter, despite claims that domain loss has occurred, remain fully functioning academic languages. This done, in the second half of the paper I will examine how these and other problems with EMI in the multilingual university have (or have not) emerged in the previous papers and panels of this seminar.