What is English?

  • Ulrikke Rindal ILS, Universitetet i Oslo
##plugins.pubIds.doi.readerDisplayName##: https://doi.org/10.5617/adno.1137
Emneord (Nøkkelord): English language education, language beliefs, English as an international language, issues of variation in teaching English, communicative competence


This article considers the developing status of English in Norway, both as a language and as a school subject, making predictions about which ontological and epistemological perspectives will influence English language teaching (ELT) in Norway towards 2030. Status quo and predictions for English in Norway is approached from two angles; the development of presiding language beliefs in linguistic science and in ELT practices from the 16th century to the present, and the more recent and rapid development of English as the foremost global language of communication. The article shows how English language beliefs and the status of English are made visible in the national subject curriculum and in the English language practices among Norwegian adolescent learners. The discussion suggests that English is increasingly characterised by those who use it as a second or later language, including Norwegians who negotiate the meanings of English in the ELT classroom. The article predicts that a logical development for Norwegian ELT is increased influence from social constructionist perspectives, in combination with the existing focus on communicative competence. The study shows that global circumstances related to the status of English are reciprocally related to local language beliefs among educational authorities, teachers and students, and that these have major implications for English as a discipline in lower and higher education.