Language Alternation, Language Choice and Language Encounter in International Tertiary Education

by Hartmut Haberland, Dorte Lønsmann,

Reflecting the increased use of English as lingua franca in today’s university education, this volume maps the interplay and competition between English and other tongues in a learning community that in practice is not only bilingual but multilingual. The volume includes case studies from Japan, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Catalonia, China, Denmark and Sweden, analysing a range of issues such as the conflict between the students’ native languages and English, the reality of parallel teaching in English as well as in the local language, and classrooms that are nominally English-speaking but multilingual in practice. The book assesses the factors common to successful bilingual learners, and provides university administrators, policy makers and teachers around the world with a much-needed commentary on the challenges they face in increasingly multilingual surroundings characterized by a heterogeneous student population.


Patterns of language alternation and choice have become increasingly important to the development of an understanding of the internationalisation of higher education that is occurring world-wide. This volume draws on the extensive and varied literature related to the sociolinguistics of globalisation – linguistic ethnography, discourse analysis, language teaching, language and identity, and language planning – as the theoretical bases for the description of the nature of these emerging multilingual communities that are increasingly found in international education. It uses observational data from eleven studies that take into account the macro (societal), meso (university) and micro (participant) levels of language interaction to explicate the range of language encounters – highlighting both successful and problematic interactions and their related language ideologies. Although English is the common lingua franca, the studies in the volume highlight the importance of the multilingual resources available to participants in higher educational institutions that are used to negotiate and solve their language problems. The volume brings to our attention a range of important insights into language issues found in the internationalisation of higher education, and provides a resource for those wishing to understand or do research on how language hybridity and multilingual communicative practices are evolving there. Richard B. Baldauf Jr., Professor, The University of Queensland

  • Springer Netherlands; June 2013
  • ISBN 9789400764767
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Language Alternation, Language Choice and Language Encounter in International Tertiary Education
  • Author: Hartmut Haberland (ed.); Dorte Lønsmann (ed.); Bent Preisler (ed.)
  • Imprint: Springer

In The Press

From the reviews:

“Each chapter offers an interesting analysis of language use and negotiation, and together, the volume presents a complete depiction of the linguistic diversity of the international university. … this volume would be quite accessible to researchers, educators, and students … . The contributions to the book are thoughtfully organized into parts, which could make this volume a good choice as a text for perhaps a seminar or other compartmentalized course.” (Cecily Brainerd Corbett, THE LINGUIST LIST, March, 2014)

About The Author

Hartmut Haberland is Professor in German Language and the Sociolinguistics of Globalization at Roskilde University, Denmark, and the leader of the research group An Ethnography of Language Encounters: Language and Interaction in the Globalized Corporation (LINGCORP). He founded the Journal of Pragmatics with Jacob Mey in 1977 and is presently co-editor of Pragmatics and Society and Acta Linguistica Hafniensia. His current research interest is in the pragmatics and sociolinguistics of multilingualism.


Dorte Lønsmann is an Assistant Professor at Copenhagen Business School and a member of the LINGCORP research group. Her research interests include English as a global language, language ideologies and language choice. She wrote her PhD thesis on the use of English as a corporate language in Danish companies and has also published on language and identity in the computer gaming subculture. She currently investigates language ideologies and social categorisation in multilingual workplaces.


Bent Preisler is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Sociolinguistics at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is the founder and former director of the international research center for the study of Cultural and Linguistic Practices in the International University (CALPIU). Research includes works on the structure and functions of English, English as an international language and its influence on other languages. Author of a book, in Danish, on “The Danes and the English language” (1999).