EMI in higher education

An ELF perspective

Authored by: Kumiko Murata , Masakazu Iino

The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855328
eBook ISBN: 9781315717173
Adobe ISBN:


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English-medium instruction (EMI) has recently been attracting great attention in higher education on a global scale. However, the enterprise of EMI is not completely new. For example, nearly 150 years ago in the Meiji era (1868–1912) in Japan, following its opening to the wider world after more than 200 years of the closed Edo period (1603–1868), quite a few English instructors called oyatoi gaikoku-jin kyoshi (foreign advisors hired by the then Japanese government to assist the modernization of Japan) along with specialized books written mostly in English were imported to Japan for it to catch up with the Western technology and knowledge. Teaching by these foreign instructors at university was mostly conducted in English, i.e. EMI (see, for example, Saito 2007). The students who attended these EMI courses around that time were a very small number of elites (see also Coleman 2006: 3 for the European situation with Latin as a lingua franca in ‘the Middle Ages and Renaissance’), and there was not any choice for them but to learn these subjects in English, using imported English books.

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