Language Ideologies in a Danish Company with English as a Corporate Language: 'It Has to be English'

Dorte Lønsmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    With the spread of English as a global language, concerns have been voiced over the impact of English on local languages. This article presents results from an ethnographic study of language ideologies in a Danish workplace with a particular focus on ideologies of English in relation to the local language and to other foreign languages. In this international company, conflicting ideologies construct the local language Danish on the one hand as the natural language in Denmark, but as unimportant compared to English on the other hand. English is constructed as prestigious and powerful in contrast with Danish. While previous studies of English as an international language have tended to focus on the consequences for the local language, this article also includes a discussion of the role of English in relation to other international languages. English is constructed as the international language, as the only possible choice for communicating internationally. The prevalence of this language ideology means that other foreign languages are either not considered at all, or even rejected outright as means for international communication, a process referred to by Irvine and Gal as ‘erasure’.
    Translated title of the contributionLanguage Ideologies in a Danish Company with English as a Corporate Language: It Has to be English
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)339-356
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Cite this