Language Policy Guidelines for the University of Agder
The language policy is a significant part of the University of Agder’s responsibility regarding cultural politics. As a state institution for education and research, the university should attend to Norwegian as an academic language and dissemination of knowledge in Norwegian.
Norwegian is, and must remain, the primary language at the University of Agder. The university should promote and develop the use of Norwegian language in general and Norwegian academic terminology in particular both in teaching and research.
Guidelines for the use of ‘bokmål’ and ‘nynorsk’ are authorised by the Law of the use of language forms in public service (1980.)’Norwegian’ in these guidelines refers to both forms, and the university’s use of the forms should conform to legal requirements.
‘Parallel lingualism’ should be practiced where this is natural and to the purpose. This means that Norwegian is maintained as the major language while greater variation in language use is facilitated. English is the primary foreign language at the University of Agder.
Academic groups and the administration should use English and other foreign languages where this is necessary or to the purpose.
Irrespective of the type of communication and language involved, the University of Agder should aim for high quality language use.
Staff and students at the university should be encouraged to achieve a high level of proficiency in Norwegian and relevant foreign languages.
Academic environments should aim at including linguistic and terminological competency in the students’ learning outcomes in courses and programmes.
Although Norwegian is the primary teaching language at the University of Agder, Swedish and Danish have equal status as teaching languages.
Students at all levels are expected to be able to read academic literature both in Norwegian and English, or another foreign language when this is relevant. Students from abroad on international programmes are not expected to have a command of Norwegian.
The university strategy states that all faculties should offer master’s programmes in English and that all bachelor’s and master’s programmes should have parts of the teaching or the course readings in English. In the third and final year of the bachelor’s programmes and at master’s and PhD level, the element of teaching and reading of course literature in English may be comprehensive.
If Norwegian is not the primary teaching language, this is to be stated in the programme description for study programmes at Bachelor’s and Master’s level.
At the PhD level, teaching in English may be given without further approval. If relevant or necessary, other foreign languages may also be used for teaching at this level.
Norwegian will normally be used for examinations, but if it is desirable or special reasons apply, students should be offered examination question papers in English and the opportunity to submit their answer papers in English. Normally, students should not have to write their answer papers in English in courses where English is not a part of the distinctive character of the course or included in the learning outcomes.
Students and staff from abroad should be offered an introduction to Norwegian language, culture and society. Members of staff who do not speak Norwegian or another Scandinavian language are expected to acquire the necessary proficiency in Norwegian within an agreed period of time.
Each individual researcher is free to choose a language in which to publicize their results. Several factors may influence the choice of publication language and channels, examples include traditions within the academic environment, a wish to reach out to colleagues by way of certain national or international channels or a wish to reach certain target groups.
A PhD thesis must be written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If the candidate wishes to use another language, an application for special permission must be submitted at the time of admission. If a PhD thesis is written in a language other than Norwegian, a comprehensive summary in Norwegian must always be included. If the thesis is written in Norwegian, a summary in English, German or French must be included. See also Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Agder.
The university will seek to arrange for assistance for researchers in need of language revision and translation.
Dissemination and outreach activities
The university will fulfill its responsibility for public dissemination by presenting research-based knowledge in Norwegian.
As a main rule, dissemination activities should be conducted in the language that is most relevant to the target audience.
The university’s web-pages, brochures etc. should include easily available information about the various activities at the university in both ‘bokmål’ and ‘nynorsk’, and in in English where this is relevant.
Administration and information
The language of the administration at the University of Agder is Norwegian.
University staff must adhere to legal requirements concerning the use of the Norwegian language forms. In significant information to staff and students, both forms should be appropriately represented. Such information should also be available in English.
The proficiency level in English of administrative staff must be sufficient to be able to provide satisfactory service to international students, staff, and visitors.
The central administration will continually assess whether important documents need to be translated into English.