“An English which is not connected to Great Britain, the USA or any other geographical region.” : How is English presented in the Swedish educational television series Pick a colour?
Abstract: English is used worldwide as a native, second and foreign language and as a language of international communication. The uses and status of English in Sweden have been discussed in terms of its influence and ubiquity, with its presence in daily life leading some to consider English could be better described as a second, rather than foreign, language in the country. This study analyses how English is presented in the Swedish educational television series Pick a colour and considers how this can be related to the status of English as a global language and specifically the use of English in Sweden. This paper uses an approach drawing on nexus analysis, together with content analysis, to trace the key language ideologies surrounding English presented in Pick a colour and its surrounding texts, and to locate them within the context of the existing discourses in place. Analysis reveals that the series and related documents make attempts to move away from traditional native speaker British English and American English models of the language, and towards a “Global English” not linked to any specific geographical region and with a focus on communicative competence. However, as British English and American English and native-speaker models of the language are not directly challenged in the documents, and are given the greatest prominence in the series, it seems moving away from the status quo is still difficult in practice. The Swedish settings shown in the series, and emphases on the use of English in pupils’ daily lives allude to English being approached in a way more similar to a second, rather than foreign language in Sweden.
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