From Implicit Norms to Explicit Skills – Focusing on Danish Academic Vocabulary


  • Anne Sofie Jakobsen ILOS, University of Oslo



Research shows that L1 as well as L2 and L3 students in Danish tertiary education struggle with acquiring the necessary academic language skills for studying in Danish. Research also shows a tendency for educators in the Danish setting to treat academic language norms as implicit norms, making it much harder for students to grasp the language-related demands of academia. This article argues that in order to make the demands and norms of academic language explicit to the students, irrespective of linguistic background, we need more research-based knowledge about Danish academic language. Furthermore, focussing on one particular aspect of academic language, namely academic vocabulary, can be a step towards more explicit approaches to academic language norms. Academic vocabulary is here defined as a non-technical, general purpose vocabulary with distinct academic functions used across a range of academic disciplines. To come nearer an understanding of how we can make the academic language norms more tangible and accessible to both students and staff, the article begins with a review of existing research on Danish academic language and academic vocabulary with a particular focus on Danish SLA research. This is followed by an analysis of Danish guidance literature on academic writing for students. The article concludes with suggestions for further research in relation to teaching Danish academic vocabulary.

Author Biography

Anne Sofie Jakobsen, ILOS, University of Oslo

Researcher, Russian linguistics