The use of English as a lingua franca in the teaching of the local language


Mads Jakob Kirkebæk

It has often been noticed that it is – in contrast to a number of other countries – quite customary to use English as a lingua franca in Danish language classrooms in Denmark. This small project tries to find out why this is the case. For what purposes does the teacher use English in a Danish language class in Denmark? Based on video recordings of language classes at Roskilde University, it has been found out that English is used for different teaching purposes, including translation into a medium shared by all students, scaffolding, and developing topics that have been introduced in Danish. Moreover English is used to compensate for the teacher’s self-perception of his “reduced personality” in speaking Danish to his students, to allow the teacher to frame himself as a teacher and express his “teacher persona”, and as a “second voice” commenting on the teacher’s “first voice”, Danish.

Mads Jakob Kirkebæk 2013. “Teacher! Why do you speak English?” A discussion of teacher use of English in a Danish language class. In Hartmut Haberland, Dorte Lønsmann and Bent Preisler eds. Language alternation, language choice and language encounter in international tertiary education. Dordrecht: Springer


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