Deconstructing ‘the domain of science’ as a sociolinguistic entity in EFL societies: The relationship between English and Danish in higher education and research

Bent Preisler

Abstract



Preisler introduces the Danish debate concerning the influence of English on Danish language and language use, and – drawing on previous research – describes what he sees as the two ‘sides’ in the debate: (1) the ‘followers,’ i.e. the vast majority of the population whose attitude to English is simply instrumental, and who embrace the influence of English as a manifestation of internationalization; (2) ‘the concerned,’ a small but influential minority whose views on the influence of English are more critical, and who represent the cultural elite. He then takes a quick detour into postmodernism, deconstructing the concepts of ‘Language’ and ‘Domain,’ and redefining the latter as ‘practice’ in an ethnographic sense. Taking a closer look at the relationship between English and Danish within one particular ‘domain,’ the ‘domain of science,’ where English is often thought to have won out, he shows that this is really two domains (i.e. practices): the domain of university research, and that of university teaching. Only in the domain of university teaching does it make sense to talk about a potential ‘domain loss’ for Danish, whereas Preisler concludes that, within the domain of university research, English and Danish are functionally distributed, and that this does not in itself affect the status of Danish within Danish society.

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