Language friction and multilingual policies at higher education: The stakeholders’ view

Aintzane Doiz, David Lasagabaster, Juan Manuel Sierra.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

The learning of prestigious international languages becomes a process fraught with tensions in multilingual settings (Shohamy, 2007). The process of internationalisation at university has led to the spread of English-medium instruction (EMI) which inextricably brings about linguistic friction in the case of bilingual institutions such as the University of the Basque Country (UBC), in which EMI entails the presence of a third language in the curriculum and the spread of multilingualism. However, and despite a few exceptions (Armengol, Cots and Llurda, 2011; Dewey and Duff, 2009; Tange, 2010), there is scant research into the effect of English-medium instruction on the different bodies that make up the university community, especially in the case of teaching staff and administration personnel (as most studies focus on students). The participants in this study were 648 students, teachers and administration personnel who filled out a questionnaire. The analyses of the data revealed the existence of language tensions among the different languages in contact. Parallelisms and differences were found among the three different bodies, which led us to put forward a series of implications related to the implementation of EMI courses as well as to multilingual language policies at university.