Language policy and social change: A critical examination of the implementation of an English-only language policy in a Danish company

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The article examines the introduction of English as a corporate language in a Danish consultancy company from a critical angle. Based on analyses of language policy documents and interviews with language policy makers in the company, we investigate the underlying assumptions of the policy-making process, and explore how the language policy functions as a means of exerting power beyond the domain of language. The article shows how the language policy is heavily influenced by the language ideology of English as the natural language in global business as well as by neoliberal ideals of international expansion. Drawing on the notion of language commodification, the article investigates how the language policy reconfigures the social space of the organisation. The analysis shows that while the language policy aims to change the company culture towards a more ‘global mindset’, it also effects social change by legitimising certain types of employees while marginalising others.
(Language policy, social change, English as a corporate language, language ideologies, linguistic market, language commodification)
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)435-456
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

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