Language Policy in an era of Globalisation: Some recent Research from the Higher Education Sector in the Republic of Ireland
Keywords:Language Policy, Globalisation, Spread of English, Higher Education
Far from being weakened by the inexorable spread of English in this era of globalisation, the case for institutional language policy is actually strengthened. Indeed, a recent study conducted in the Republic of Ireland provides evidence to support this argument. The Institutes of Technology (IoT) are an interesting case study in this regard. Recent empirical research conducted throughout the IoT sector suggests that institutional policy i.e. a clearly articulated position regarding language matters, is not only being recommended at official EU policy level, but also supported at grass roots level by both students and lecturers. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected over a three year period to gain an in-depth understanding of this complex, multifaceted issue. The findings reveal that there is a demand across all academic disciplines for a broadening of language provision; furthermore, it has emerged that this demand is not currently being met. The expressed desire for greater provision implies the need for institutional language policy. This research substantiates and reinforces the findings of previous studies and reports, stating that institutional support is needed to empower, enlighten and motivate language learners. In the absence of an explicitly articulated institutional position regarding language, it is probable that an implicit default to a monolingual, monocultural, anglocentric status quo will prevail.