First languages fear second place - PAU inglés Andalucía 2009

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Scandinavian viking young man The Scandinavian´s adoption of English as an everyday language is beginning to worry authorities, as their mother tongues are progressively less used in business and universities, where English is replacing them. In business, all the top international Scandinavian firms already use written English for their communications. In universities, most classes are taught in English, so they can attract international students and instructors.
Few countries voluntarily adopt a foreign tongue as one of their main languages, but Norway has been doing it for years with English. "I tried to learn Norwegian when I came here. But when they hear you´re a foreigner, Norwegians switch languages,"says Tom Jackson, a scientist from England who moved to Oslo some years ago to work in a research institute. "I knew before I moved that Scandinavians were good at English, but I was amazed at their level of fluency".
English has become so predominant that the government says it is threatening the existence of Norwegian, which in 30 to 40 years´time might not be used in higher education any more. To solve this situation the Minister of Culture is going to present a report to parliament declaring that the survival of the Norwegian language, especially in its written form, is becoming a political priority. This concern is generalized in Scandinavia, and both Sweden and Denmark are also creating initiatives to protect and promote their national languages.
All these initiatives might seem to indicate that the Scandinavian countries are fearful of the development of English, but this is not the case. The educational authorities of these countries declare that the protection of their own languages is essential, but at the same time they admit that Scandinavians have to be strong in English if they want their countries to be internationally competitive.

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