Bergen, Norway: A new centre for language services could be on the way

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Oct 10 13:06:09 UTC 2007

   [image: På Høyden]  9.10.2007
A new centre for language services could be on the way

University Director Kari Tove Elvbakken.
"More of everything" is the short version of the recommendation for a
language policy at UiB. The work of putting intentions into practice comes

By Kjersti Gjengedal

The language policy proposal for UiB, which was on the agenda at the last
meeting of the board of the University, is based on comprehensive studies,
both at the national and local levels. The board has now adopted a language
policy goal for UiB that takes account of the university's responsibilities
as an international research institution, in relation to both the
international community of researchers and Norwegian society.

It will be implemented by developing, as far as possible, a parallel
language practise, and by emphasising good usage no matter which language is
used. Work will continue to identify concrete measures which can help
realise the goal.

*Language policy will be included in the budget*
"We will follow up the board's decision, both in the budget process and
otherwise," says University Director Kari Tove Elvbakken.

"Some measures belong in the budget process, such as Norwegian language
courses for foreign staff and various training courses for Norwegian staff.
The same applies to the proposal to establish a centre for language
services. At the same time, we wish to encourage the faculties and
departments to discuss language practise on the basis of the report on
language policy."

The report, titled "*I pose og sekk*" (Having it both ways) was presented to
the board at the last board meeting before the summer holidays, and it has
subsequently been circulated for consultation in the organisation. There
were several reasons why UiB initiated work on the report. The board had
previously been informed about UiB's language policy and the necessity of
implementing measures to strengthen the position of Norwegian in relation to
English, and that it was necessary to boost competence in both languages. In
addition, the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions carried
out a study that was completed in June 2006 and that resulted in a proposal
for a national language policy for higher education institutions. The UiB
report is based on this work.

*Term lists and a language centre proposed*
The report contains several proposed measures. The most concrete of these
include: developing subject-specific term lists, that the teaching language
at the 100 level must as a rule be Norwegian, that Master's and PhD theses
must contain a summary in Norwegian if they are written in a different
language, that language competence must be taken into account when
appointing staff, and that the reward for the publication of scientific work
in Norwegian must be higher than it is today. It has also been proposed to
establish a centre which will offer writing courses and revision of texts in
Norwegian and English.

"We must also endeavour to maintain the high percentage of Nynorsk that we
have today," says Ms Elvbakken.

*Want flexibility*
Feedback from the consultation round indicates that most entities at the
university would like a lot of flexibility in relation to language practise
in teaching, research and the publication of research, but competence
raising measures such as language tuition, the development of term lists and
the establishment of a language centre receive broad support.

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