EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction): Taking stock of an accelerating field of research. With speaker Anna Kristina Hultgren (MOSAIC Seminar)

Room 422, School of Education (Building R19)
Wednesday 22 May 2019 (16:00-17:30)

Dr Elizabeth Chilton e.h.chilton@bham.ac.uk


MOSAIC Group for Research on Multilingualism seminar series 2018-19

Speaker: Anna Kristina Hultgren, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics at The Open University, UK

EMI, that is ‘the use of the English language to teach academic subjects in countries or jurisdictions where the first language of the majority of the population is not English’ (Dearden 2014: 2), has grown explosively in Europe and beyond, particularly in higher education. This ongoing shift, and the speed at which it happens, has been controversial and generated heated debates in public and academic circles alike (Lanvers and Hultgren 2018; Linn 2015; Dimova et al. 2015; Doiz et al. 2013).

Researchers have not been slow to respond to this emergent phenomenon, with recent years having seen an upshot of research projects, theses, edited volumes, book series, networks and conferences devoted to this topic. This has all contributed significantly to our understanding of EMI, its consequences for learning, teaching and national languages and cultures, what stakeholders (students, university lecturers, university management and the general public) make of it, and what, if anything, should and can be done to mitigate any adverse effects.

In this talk, I will take stock of this accelerating field of research, looking back at the work I have done with colleagues in the Nordic region (Hultgren et al. 2014; Hultgren 2014a, 2014b), and what has happened in the field since then. Some questions have been answered, others not, and new questions have emerged (Coleman et al. 2018; Macaro et al. 2018). The aim is to offer an overview of this ‘hard-to-keep-up-with’ field of research, mapping out what we know already and what we need to know more about. I will conclude by proposing some what I see as potentially productive areas for future research.


Coleman, J., A. K. Hultgren, Li Wei, C. Tsui Cheng-Fang, P. Shaw. 2018. Forum on English-medium Instruction. TESOL Quarterly 52(3): 701-720.

Dearden, J. 2014. English as a medium of instruction - a growing global phenomenon. London: British Council.

Dimova, S., A. K. Hultgren, C. Jensen. 2015. English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education. De Gruyter Mouton.

Doiz, A., D. Lasagabaster, J. M. Sierra Plo. 2013. English-Medium Instruction at Universities: Global Challenges. Multilingual Matters.

Hultgren, A. K. 2014a. English language use at the internationalised universities of Northern Europe: Is there a correlation between Englishisation and world rank? Multilingua (1–2): 61-87.

Hultgren, A. K. 2014b. Whose parallellingualism? Overt and covert ideologies in Danish university language policies. Multilingua (3–4): 391-414.

Hultgren, A. K., F. Gregersen and J. Thøgersen (eds). 2014. English in Nordic Universities: Ideologies and Practices. John Benjamins.

Lanvers, U. and A. K. Hultgren. 2018. The Englishization of European education: Foreword. European Journal of Language Policy 10(1): 1-11.

Linn, A., N. Bermel, and G. Ferguson (ed.). 2015. Attitudes towards English in Europe. De Gruyter Mouton.

Macaro, E., S. Curle, J. Pun, J. An and J. Dearden. 2018. A systematic review of English medium instruction in higher education. Language Teaching 51(1): 36-76.


Dr. Anna Kristina Hultgren is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics at The Open University, UK. She was educated at the Universities of Oxford (DPhil) and Copenhagen (MA), with visiting periods at Trinity College, Dublin, and University of Quebec. Kristina has been involved in researching English as an academic language since it began to take off in the Nordic countries. She was PI on the project Domain loss in Danish: Rhetoric or Reality? (funded by the Danish Research Council 2010-2012); a member of the Nordic Council-funded network Parallel Language Use at the Universities of the Nordic Countries (2011-2013); and a partner in the Leverhulme Trust-funded network English in Europe: Opportunity or threat? (2012–2014). She is author of the report Parallellingualism at Danish Universities: a status report 2013, has co-edited the volumes English in Nordic Universities and English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education and written numerous journal articles.

All welcome at this free seminar. 

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