English as a Lingua Nordica: An English of our own

Seminar on English Use in the Nordics 

Is the English that we use here in the Nordics different from other Englishes? How and why do we use English in the Nordics? English as a Lingua Nordica opens up discussion on topics on the English that is spoken in Nordic countries. This first seminar will focus on the English in actual use and its controversies, based on current research in the field at the universities of Helsinki and Turku.

The seminar will be presented online streaming from NCP’s premises in Kaisaniemi, Helsinki. Each speaker will be followed by a question and answer session, which all participants are welcome to join in.
Ian Mac Eochagáin and Judi Rose will represent NEaT in the live stream.

Link to webinar stream: the link will be posted on the seminar’s Facebook page here.

After the seminar, NEaT will host a Zoom session at 18:00 for participants in the seminar or for those who would like to hear about it. Virve Juhola and Julie Uusinarkaus will lead a discussion of points raised during the afternoon sessions.

Join the after session Zoom Meeting

  • Date: 14 April 2021
  • Time: 16:00 to 19:00

Livestreamed from the Nordic Culture Point
16:00 Welcome by Nordic Culture Point and NEaT

16:10 Elizabeth Peterson: The price of being “right”: English language in the Nordic Countries

16:45 Pauliina Peltonen: Second language speech fluency across languages: Insights from the MultiFluency project

Johan Strang: “Hjælp! Vi forstår hinanden ikke!”: The English language and the Nordic community

Hosted by NEaT

18:00 Zoom meetup and discussion on the topics of the day

Topic: ELN Talk and Meet

Speakers and Topics

Johan Strang, Centre for Nordic Studies, University of Helsinki

Photo: University of Helsinki

“Hjælp! Vi forstår hinanden ikke!”: The English language and the Nordic community

Recent studies suggest that the Nordics have increasing trouble understanding each other’s languages. English is replacing the Scandinavian languages in both professional and private communication. Is the English language ruining the Nordic community, or should we embrace it as a convenient and more inclusive tool for intra-Nordic communication? 

Johan Strang is Associate Professor at the Centre for Nordic Studies, and an Academy of Finland Research Fellow (2019-2024) with a project studying the reinvention of Norden during the post-Cold War period. His research interests include Nordic politics, society and history. He has published and taught on Nordic cooperation, democracy and political history, and also rather extensively on Nordic intellectual and philosophical history of the 20th century. In his ongoing Academy of Finland Research Fellowship project Norden since the End of History (NORDEND) he will examine the redefinition of Norden and Nordicity after the end of the Cold War. He is also engaged in the programme Neoliberalism in the Nordics led by Professor Jenny Andersson in Uppsala and financed by Riksbankens Jublieumsfond. 

Pauliina Peltonen, University of Turku

Photo: Mikko Tirronen

Second language speech fluency across languages: Insights from the MultiFluency project

How does the individual speaking style in our native language influence the speech fluency in a second language? How do cross-linguistic differences affect speech fluency in different first and second languages? These questions are central for the project “Fluency across Multilingual Speakers” (MultiFluency), which focuses on Finnish university students’ speech fluency in Finnish, Swedish, and English. The results provide insights into the influence of individual speaking style on L2 speech fluency as well as cross-linguistic differences in speech fluency. During the talk, I will also discuss the practical implications of the findings for language experts.

Dr. Pauliina Peltonen is a project researcher in the Department of English at the University of Turku. Peltonen is an applied linguist, whose main field of study is second language (L2) learning and L2 speech fluency. She is also interested in L2 interaction and multimodality. Peltonen is a member of the fluency research group FlowLang and a member of the executive team for Leala, The Centre for Language Learning Research at the University of Turku. During 2017–2020, Peltonen was a member of the executive board for the Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics (AFinLA) and acted as vice-chair during 2019–2020.

Elizabeth Peterson, University of Helsinki

Photo: Vera Lindahl

The price of being “right”: English language in the Nordic Countries

English skills in the Nordic countries are considered among the best in Europe, and, in fact, in the world. This is a demonstrable fact. Yet in Finland, there is frequent public discourse–even disparaging accounts–of the embarrassing English skills of, for example, elected officials. What is the price of having such high standards for the use of English? This talk explores the benefits and burdens of such attitudes, with some surprises about conflicting views of equality.  

Elizabeth Peterson has a PhD in Linguistics. She has been a University Lecturer of English Linguistics in Finland since 2004, and for the past 12 years at the University of Helsinki. She teaches and researches, among other things, language attitudes and ideologies. Her book on the topic of attitudes about English was published (open access) by Routledge last year.