Publication details [#62446]

Saarinen, Taina, Josep Soler-Carbonell and Kerttu Kibbermann. 2017. Multilayered perspectives on language policy in higher education: Finland, Estonia, and Latvia in comparison. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 38 (4) : 301–314.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This paper assays language policies in higher education (HE) in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, as well as the European Union (EU). It takes a multilayered approach to language policies in order to clarify the intertwined nature of local, national, and international language policies in HE. It is especially interested in the construction of national language(s) and the language(s) of internationalisation in the case countries. Finland, Estonia, and Latvia share common traits as rather small non-Anglophone countries in the Baltic region, while concurrently having somewhat varying political and cultural histories. The results of the discursive analysis point out that while the three countries have rather varying national language policies, concerning, for example, the position of the national language(s), the institutional policies are more alike in the three cases. For universities, the positioning of English as the de facto language of internationalisation turns the ideology of language choice in HE into a practical rather than political question. However, at the state level, the advocacy of English clashes with national policies. The EU HE language policy appears to recognize the institutional level’s practical demands of English as de facto internationalisation language rather than conform to its own formal language policy of official languages.