English and Globalisation in Denmark: A Changing Sociolinguistic Landscape

The project investigates the current role of English in Denmark, including the presence of English in the everyday lives of people, language attitudes and ideologies in relation to English, and the use and symbolic meaning of English among young Danes.

In recent decades, the sociolinguistic landscape in Denmark has changed. Danish remains the dominant national language, but English has become widespread as a lingua franca – in the educational sector, in the workplace, in popular culture, in social media and in many other aspects of everyday life in Denmark. The project will analyse the use of and attitudes to English among people in Denmark combining a large-scale survey, focus group interviews and a linguistic ethnographic case study. Theoretically, the project aims to develop the notion of sociolinguistic change by theorising the interconnections between social change, changing language practices and changing language attitudes and ideologies.


The project sets out to explore the following research questions:

RQ1: To what extent is English present in the everyday life of Danes across Danish society?

RQ2: What language attitudes and ideologies exist among Danes in relation to English?

RQ3: How and with what symbolic value is English used among young Danes?      

RQ4: How can we theorise the interconnections between changing language practices, changing language attitudes and ideologies and ongoing societal change?

In order to answer these questions, the project includes four work packages.

WP1 (Jacob Thøgersen, Dorte Lønsmann & Janus Mortensen) is a large-scale quantitative survey investigating reported use of English, perceived competences in English and attitudes and ideologies of English. Thanks to the availability of data from a previous study (Danskerne og det engelske sprog, Preisler 1999), the project includes a longitudinal comparative perspective.

WP2 (postdoc Kamilla Kraft, Dorte Lønsmann) is an ethnographically grounded focus group study investigating language attitudes and ideologies of English in Denmark.

WP3 (PhD student Marianne Haugaard Skov, supervised by Janus Mortensen and Dorte Lønsmann) is a linguistic ethnographic case study focusing on the use of English among young Danes. The aim of the study is to explore how young Danes use English as part of their everyday interaction, e.g. how English is deployed as part of constructing specific styles, personas, social relationships and communicative genres, and what symbolic value English has for the participants.

WP4 (Dorte Lønsmann, Janus Mortensen, Jacob Thøgersen, Kamilla Kraft, Marianne Haugaard Skov) provides the larger frame for the project and aims expand on the theory of sociolinguistic change, specifically the interconnection between societal and linguistic change.

In addition to the four work packages, Aisara Yessenova’s PhD project (which is funded by the PhD Council for Educational Research) is affiliated with the English and Globalisation in Denmark project. Aisara’s PhD project is a linguistic ethnographic case study of multilingual 8th graders’ writing strategies in English and Danish. The study compares how young Danes write in a school context with their writing outside school, e.g. on social media.




  • IPrA (The 18th International Pragmatics Conference), Bruxelles, 9-14 July 2023. Marianne Haugaard Skov, Janus Mortensen and Dorte Lønsmann. Panel: Revisiting ideologies of English in the Nordic countries.
  • 8. Symposium om sprog og interaktion i digitale medier, University of Southern Denmark, 26 April 2023. Marianne Haugaard Skov. ”Meget af det kommer nok også fra TikTok” - En etnografisk undersøgelse af unges brug af engelsk og sociale medier.
  • The 4th & 5th JACET ELF SIG International Workshops, Waseda University, Tokyo, 25 February 2023. Janus Mortensen. From EFL to ELF - The case of Denmark.
  • MUDS Møde om udforskningen af dansk sprog, Aarhus, 13 October 2022. Jacob Thøgersen. Danskerne og det engelske sprog. Dengang og nu.
  • ALAPP (The 12th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice), 15-17 September, 2022. Dorte Lønsmann and Jacob Thøgersen. English in Danish workplaces: Increasing presence and changing attitudes.
  • FINSSE-10, Jyväskylä, 19 August 2022: Jacob Thøgersen, Dorte Lønsmann and Janus Mortensen. English in Denmark – a changing sociolinguistic landscape? Preliminary report on a large-scale questionnaire study.


  • Engelsk og globalisering i Danmark – et sprogligt landskab i forandring. Dorte Lønsmann, Janus Mortensen and Jacob Thøgersen. Presentation at Sprogense language festival, 16 September 2023.
  • Engelsk i Danmark – dengang og nu. Dorte Lønsmann, Jacob Thøgersen, Janus Mortensen, Kamilla Kraft and Marianne Haugaard Skov. Presentation at the Linguistic Circle of Copenhagen, 7 December 2022.
  • English and Globalisation in Denmark. Dorte Lønsmann, Jacob Thøgersen, Janus Mortensen. Presentation at Sociolingvistisk Studiekreds, 27 September 2022.
  • Project presentation at The Danish Language Council, 5 October 2021.









The project’s advisory board is composed of world-leading experts on English in Denmark, language attitudes, critical sociolinguistics,  English & mediatisation and sociolinguistic change:

Nikolas Coupland, Cardiff University
Jette G. Hansen Edwards, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Tore Kristiansen, University of Copenhagen
Sari Pietikäinen, University of Jyväskylä
Barbara Soukup, University of Vienna



Statistics Denmark is a partner in work package 1. The questionnaire data will be collected by DST Survey, Statistics Denmark for the University of Copenhagen.

The Enida project collaborates with Aarhus University Press and Videnslyd about a book and a podcast series about English in Denmark. The book and podcast project is funded by a grant from Carlsberg Mindelegat.


  • Kraft, Kamilla. 2023. Sprogideologier om engelsk i Danmark: Hvem bruger engelsk, og hvor bør man (ikke) bruge engelsk? Anglo Files 210.

  • Lønsmann, Dorte. 2023. English in the workplace: The case of Denmark. In Elizabeth Peterson and Kristy Beers-Fägersten (eds.). English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities. Routledge. 148-164.

  • Lønsmann, Dorte & Janus Mortensen. 2023. Engelsk i Danmark – what’s the score? Anglo Files 208. 32–36.

  • Lønsmann, Dorte, Jacob Thøgersen & Janus Mortensen. 2022. Er engelsk stadig et fremmedsprog i Danmark? Et spørgsmål om kollektiv sproglig identitet. NyS – Nydanske Sprogstudier 61. 126-179.

  • Mortensen, Janus. Forthcoming. English in Denmark. In Kingsley Bolton et al. (eds.) The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of World Englishes.

  • Mortensen, Janus. 2023. Beyond threat or opportunity – English and language ideological tensions in the Nordic countries. In Elizabeth Peterson and Kristy Beers-Fägersten (eds.). English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities. Routledge. 104-124.

  • .

  • Skov, Marianne Haugaard. 2023. ”Meget af det kommer nok også fra TikTok” – Unges brug af engelsk som sproglig ressource i hverdagen. Anglo Files 209. 75–79.

  • Thøgersen, Jacob. 2023. Danskernes engelskkompetencer og engelskkontakt i 1990’erne og 2020’erne. Anglo Files 208. 37–43.

  • Thøgersen, Jacob. 2023. Danskerne og det engelske sprog i 1990’erne og 2020’erne19. møde om udforskningen af dansk sprog (MUDS 19-rapport). 343-360.

  • Thøgersen, Jacob & Bent Preisler. In press 2023. Danskerne og det engelske sprog – dengang og nu. NyS – Nydanske Studier 64.

  • Lønsmann, Dorte, Janus Mortensen, and Jacob Thøgersen. 2022. Er engelsk stadig et fremmedsprog i Danmark? Et spørgsmål om kollektiv sproglig identitet (Is English still a foreign language in Denmark? A question of collective linguistic identity) NyS, Nydanske Sprogstudier 61: 126-179.




Name Title Phone E-mail
Kraft, Kamilla Assistant Professor   E-mail
Lønsmann, Dorte Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535336633 E-mail
Mortensen, Janus Professor +4535334020 E-mail
Skov, Marianne Haugaard PhD Fellow +4535325469 E-mail
Thøgersen, Jacob Associate Professor +4535335749 E-mail


Independent Research Fund Denmark

The project is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities

Project period: September 2021 - August 2025

PI: Dorte Lønsmann