Multilingual language policy and English language teaching in Sweden

Francis M Hult, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is an ethnographic discourse analytic study of the management of language contact in Sweden and the special role of English language teaching (ELT) in that process. It draws on four years of policy research and a year of fieldwork in the southern Swedish city of Malmö to investigate the discourses about English and multilingualism that circulate in and around the national language policy documents Mål i mun: Förslag till handlingsprogram för svenska språket (Speech: Draft action programme for the Swedish language) of 2002 and Bästa språket: En samlad svensk språkpolitik (Best language: A concerted language policy for Sweden) of 2005 as they relate to the practice of language education. Using nexus analysis to integrate theoretical and methodological approaches from language planning and policy, linguistic anthropology, and sociolinguistics, this educational linguistic study moves from societal to community to classroom scales of social organization in order to analyze discourse processes related to language policy across multiple contexts. Policy texts are first analyzed to determine how broad sociopolitical discourses about English and multilingualism are indexed and (re)positioned to frame multilingualism and language education at the national level. These discourses are then situated in relation to a localized context for policy and educational practice by investigating how two multilingual neighborhoods in the city of Malmö are symbolically constructed as linguistic landscapes through public language use. Turning to how these discourses relate to educational practice in this localized context, classroom interaction in an English teacher training program together with ethnographic observations of other educational settings are examined to explore how policy texts and wider circulating discourses are appropriated by language educators. In all, by tracing discursive trajectories across scales of social organization in these Swedish contexts, the study contributes to an understanding of the dialectic relationship between language policy and language education.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Linguistics|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Hult, Francis M, "Multilingual language policy and English language teaching in Sweden" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3260918.