Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Taylor, Shelley K.


The existing literature on international education in relation to language policy has suggested that internationalizing higher education (HE) does not ensure interculturality (Bash, 2009; Durant & Shepherd, 2009; Jenkins, 2014; Seidlhofer, 2011); the potential relationship between the internationalization of HE and language remains unclear (Jenkins, 2014; Meyer, Gekeler, Manger, & Urank, 2012; Saarinen, 2012). This study responds to the timely question regarding what kind of language policy can meet the needs of international students in an increasingly globalized academic culture (Jenkins, 2014) by adding a Canadian voice to the debate and featuring the changing sociolinguistic realities in internationalized Canadian HE.

This study aims to investigate the language policy for non-native English speaking (NNES) international students, as enacted at three interrelated but not necessarily congruent levels: language management, language beliefs, and language practices, with a particular focus on English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs as an integral part of the ‘international’ university. Employing a mixed-methods approach, I collected data from document analysis, questionnaires, interviews, and classroom observations in three EAP programs in Canada. I draw on the theoretical framework of language policy (Spolsky, 2004, 2009, 2012/2018), and complementary concepts of mechanism (Shohamy, 2006) and plurilingual and pluricultural competence (Coste, Moore, & Zarate, 2009) to interpret and analyze the data.

Findings of this study shed light on the two-fold characteristics of the tripartite language policy in the EAP domain. While there is increasing awareness of the homogenizing influence of internationalization as embodied in the monolingual orientation in language policy, international students’ languages and cultural differences are marginalized in the current educational structures (e.g., instruction, curriculum, and assessment) of EAP. The findings suggest that plurilingualism may serve as an alternative approach to reshaping the educational structures of EAP in alignment with internationalization. The results contribute to language policymaking by deepening current understanding of how language policies and practices can, or are intended to, respond to the call for a greater diversification of languages, nationally and internationally.