Language Environments of Exchange Students at Scandinavian Universities One aspect of, and one reason for, the internationalisation of Scandinavian universities is the increasing number of exchange students and postgraduates from outside Scandinavia attending courses here. Few of these students are primarily motivated by a desire to learn the local language. In fact it is widely believed that many of them live in a lingua-franca English-speaking environment, so that Erasmus contributes to linguistic homogenisation rather than plurilingualism. This paper reports results of an ongoing study of the language environment and language learning experiences of some hundred (so far) Erasmus exchange students in two institutions in Sweden and two in Denmark. Subjects had French, German and Spanish as mother tongues. This design is intended to enable the identification of language/culturespecific factors, individual ones, and factors due to institutional policy or attitudes. The students were interviewed three times over the course of a term on which languages they used with whom, and how they perceived their English and Swedish/Danish as developing, and their language was also tested informally. A striking result was that a number of well-motivated students in certain subjects were able to attend lectures in Swedish (strongly supported by mathematics on the blackboard and/or extensive previous reading) after only a few weeks of courses. Nevertheless, most subjects spoke English most of the time, and mother-tongue use decreased as social groups came to be more integrated across national boundaries. Contact with Swedes/Danes was limited, but strongly associated with sport participation, which also provides clearly situationalised language use. Institutional policies can have some effect, in particular the provision of effective tuition in the local language before term begins. However there are rather powerful sociolinguistic factors favouring lingua-franca English, and these are probably operative in many countries.
flersprogethed; studieophold i udlandet; udvekslingsstuderende; lingua franca engelsk; Skandinavien; multilingualism; study abroad; exchange students; lingua franca English; Scandinavia