“English gradually” and multilingual support in EMI: insights from lecturers in two Brazilian universities

Calvo, Luciana; Cogo, Alessia; El Kadri, Michele and Gimenez, Telma. 2023. “English gradually” and multilingual support in EMI: insights from lecturers in two Brazilian universities. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, ISSN 2191-9216 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The adoption of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) is a world-wide phenomenon as part of the internationalization strategies of higher education institutions. While this policy can be seen as a threat to multilingualism, studies on attitudes suggest that EMI lecturers and students see the use of the first language (L1) as a useful resource for content comprehension. Our research questions focused on EMI lecturers’ motivations/reasons for their linguistic choices in the classroom and the strategies in relation to those choices. Our goal was to find out whether they were already adopting an English as a Lingua Franca approach to EMI, i.e. favoring the use of both Portuguese and English in class. Data collected via questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and observations revealed that both languages are used by lecturers endorsing either an English-only approach or a multilingual one, with similar objectives. Whereas Portuguese seems to increase student participation and reduce insecurity, English provides opportunities to engage with the professional discourse and language practices valued in international research exchanges. In the classroom, a multilingual approach better addresses the lecturers’ pedagogical concerns, while English-only favours their language-oriented goals but is introduced gradually. The results are consistent with a view of English as part of a repertoire of language and pedagogical practices in EMI multilingual settings where students and lecturers share the same language.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Brazil; English; English as a Lingua Franca (ELF); English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI); Portuguese

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


9 December 2022Accepted
8 February 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Dec 2022 11:19

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2024 02:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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