Xavier Vila Moreno

Multilingual universities à la catalane

The university system in Catalonia is a vivid example of how language policies constitute complex, multidimensional systems where different, even contradictory sociolinguistic trends may coexist side by side. In the last 40 years, these universities have combined the substantial (re)introduction of Catalan as a language of science, the maintenance of Castilian as a fundamental language of interaction in a number of crucial spheres, and an increasing process of internationalisation that is strengthening the position of English as the main academic lingua franca. In this presentation I will succinctly review the recent history of language policies in the Catalan university system, explore some of the factors promoting each one of the aformentioned trends, and try to make some generalisations regarding the potential role of medium-sized languages as academic languages in increasingly internationalised higher education systems.