Plenary talk I

The concept of functional multilingualism in the context of internationalising German institutions of higher education (HEIs)

Constanze Bradlaw M.A., Prof. Dr. Britta Hufeisen & Stefanie Nölle-Becker M.A.

TU Darmstadt

Wednesday, 02 March 2022
2 pm to 3 pm

In the course of internationalising German HEIs, more and more so-called international degree programmes are being established. The language of instruction and research is then often swapped from German to English ignoring extensively the rich languages repertoire very often owned by international students from all over the world studying at German HEIs. At the same time, German natives frequently are multilingual, either by having learned foreign languages at school or by speaking heritage language(s) in addition to German. This situation fuels the discourse on multilingualism in academia, and we need to find answers to many questions: Which languages do we use to teach, which to communicate, which languages are officially predetermined and which ones are most useful to us in everyday life? Which role do the languages play that international students bring along? Does English replace other languages of communication because it is the medium of instruction? What role do we want to assign to English and which English do we want to teach?

By presenting the concept of functional multilingualism at TU Darmstadt, we offer concrete suggestions in an attempt to answer these questions.

Constanze Bradlaw M.A.

I have been working in various departments and fields of TU Darmstadt since 2014. Currently, I support the Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs as his Executive Assistant.

My languages: German, English, French, (Latin), Classical Chinese, Italian

Academically, I am interested in: Communication in multilingual settings, language politics, planning and management at institutions of higher education.

Prof. Dr. Britta Hufeisen

I am a Professor of Linguistics with a focus on multilingualism and Director of the Language Resource Centre at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

My languages: Low German, English, French, (Latin), Swedish, Scandinavian languages (receptive) – with a particular interest in Icelandic

I am interested in: multilingual learning, and when I am not working for the university, which I love to do, I also like swimming, singing, reading and gardening.

Stefanie Nölle-Becker M.A.

I am deputy CEO of the Language Resource Centre at the Technical University of Darmstadt and an associate researcher at the department of multilingualism of the Institute of Linguistics and Literary Studies.

My languages: German, English, French, (Latin), and I hope to acquire more

I am interested in: language learning in the context of multilingualism, visibility of languages and multilingual language usage in the linguistic landscape as well in eduscapes, language prestige and language policy.