Fears for Norwegian as English papers rewarded

February 10, 2006

The Norwegian language is under pressure in Norway's universities as academics are encouraged to use English when publishing their research.

The University of Oslo has become the first institution to appoint a committee to develop a language policy. It comprises three senior academic staff and a student representative and is researching attitudes towards English and Norwegian and the extent to which the languages are used in teaching and research at the university.

"The university doesn't have a particular policy in place at present. But we're trying to find out how Norwegian and English can best coexist as working languages," Ragnhild Hoen, the committee's student representative, said. "Some people fear English is being used at the expense of Norwegian.

For example, there are instances when a Norwegian lecturer teaches in English to a class of students where the majority are Norwegian speakers."

Ms Hoen said that the initiative was a response to the recommendations of the Norwegian Language Council. "They published a study last year ( Norsk i hundre ) that recommends that every university department develops a language policy for coping with Norwegian and English."

Birgit Brock-Utne, professor of comparative education science at Oslo, claimed the report did not go far enough to protect the status of Norwegian at universities. "An important paragraph about university teaching was taken out. It read: 'The language of education should ordinarily be Norwegian.'"

Professor Brock-Utne also feared that academics were being discouraged from writing in Norwegian. "My own department rewards academics financially for publishing in English."

The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, another funding body, also gives more weight to publications written in English.

But Anne-Brit Kolst?, former pro rector, told Oslo's university newspaper that researchers strived to make their research available internationally, which in effect means writing in English.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Tef, results, gold, silver, bronze, teaching excellence framework

The results of the 2017 teaching excellence framework in full. Find out which universities were awarded gold, silver or bronze

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan