University Post
University of Copenhagen
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English? Nej tak, say humanists

Pharmaceutical staff like English-language teaching - theology and humanities staff don’t

The human condition and its relation to the Deity are best left studied in the Danish.This could be the conclusion drawn from the survey of staff carried out by the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use.

Read the article Copenhagen staff: Yes to more courses in English here.

Three out of every four University of Copenhagen employees from the Humanities and Theology faculties agree that English-language teaching will lead to a poorer learning outcome for (Danish, ed.) students. Only half of those from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences agree.

Is the increased use of English in the university a threat to Danish as a scientific language?

Yes it is, say 72 and 84 per cent respectively of the English-sceptical humanists and theologians.No, not necessarily, say 54 per cent of the sample of Natural Science and Pharmaceutical Science staff.

Depends on the object of study

The English-language scepticism of the humanists and theologians and the positive attitude of the natural scientists to English come as no surprise to Christian Jensen, one of the authors of the study. Several individuals in the natural sciences have been outspoken about the need for English in the lecture halls.

As for the humanities – their scepticism makes sense too:

»Several commentators from the Faculty of Humanities have argued that English-medium courses may not to the same degree make sense in the Humanities and Theology faculties, where the object of study is the actual text, for example a literary text or a historical document in a specific language. They see this as being in contrast to the natural scientists, for whom the medium of instruction may not be as important because the object of study is not a text,« he says.