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English in Scandinavia: Monster or Mate? Sweden as a Case Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Scandinavian Languages.
2014 (English)In: Challenging the Monolingual Mindset / [ed] John Hajek and Yvette Slaughter, Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2014, 1, 17-32 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Travellers to Scandinavia are often struck by the generalized high level of English proficiency in most of the region. According to the Eurobarometer language survey (2006) the overwhelming majority of respondents in Denmark, Finland and Sweden speak at least one if not two languages in addition to their mother tongue.  There is no doubt, however, of English’s privileged place in all this: 89% of Swedes claim to be able to speak English. This knowledge of English has long been identified as an important factor in Scandinavia’s successsful economic development and international engagement.


Focussing mostly on Sweden, this chapter discusses how such a situation of English predominance came to be the norm, and consider different aspects such as: (1) recent trends in attitudes to English as seen in official language planning nationally as well as in language policy and reality in Swedish universities and (2) use and attitudes re English amongst the general public – including in the city streetscape. The analysis shows that there is a significant tension between contrasting trends of accepting and controlling the role of English in Swedish society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2014, 1. 17-32 p.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107916ISBN: 9781783092505OAI: diva2:752011
Available from: 2014-10-02 Created: 2014-10-02 Last updated: 2014-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Norrby English in Scandinavia(657 kB)1109 downloads
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