“An ambivalent phenomenon”: The role of English within the discipline of geography in Germany

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Published May 31, 2017
Fabienne Quennet Detlef Kanwischer

Abstract

English as an Academic Language has attained global stature on the research as well as on the teaching level in many academic fields. As an international scholarly language, English is
the cornerstone by which to judge academic achievement and to advance the Bologna Process’s internationalization programs. Given these functions, language policies within many disciplines at German universities have evolved significantly over the last years, culminating in the relatively recent implementation of Master’s programs in English. However, the process of the Anglo-Americanization of German academic life and university programs has met with criticism and, thus, has elicited diverse and ambivalent responses. A sample study of the role of English as an academic language within the Department of Geography at the University of Marburg/Germany has shown the development of Academic English and the ambivalence accompanying it. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to illustrate and analyse how the challenge of using English within the department, and, in particular, of publishing in English, has been handled. At the moment, English within the geographical discipline in Germany seems to be indeed “an ambivalent phenomenon” that, on the one hand, offers promising opportunities for students and scholars alike, while being simultaneously perceived as a hindrance and a constraint.

How to Cite

Quennet, Fabienne, and Detlef Kanwischer. 2017. “‘An Ambivalent phenomenon’: The Role of English Within the Discipline of Geography in Germany”. Fachsprache 32 (1-2):40-53. https://doi.org/10.24989/fs.v32i1-2.1406.
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