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, 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) provides the larger frame for the project and aims expand on the theory of sociolinguistic change, specifically the interconnection between societal and linguistic change.

 

 

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
Bent Preisler, Roskilde University
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.

 

Researchers

Name Title Phone E-mail
Kraft, Kamilla External   E-mail
Lønsmann, Dorte Associate Professor +4535336633 E-mail
Mortensen, Janus Associate Professor +4535334020 E-mail
Thøgersen, Jacob Associate Professor +4535335749 E-mail

Funding

Independent Research Fund Denmark

The project is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities

Project period: September 2021 - August 2025

PI: Dorte Lønsmann