Förskolebarn och pedagog tittar tillsammans på surfplatta

Young Swedes and English – USE

Research project
Active research
Project size
Project period
2022 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Education and Special Education

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

Short description

The project investigates the use of and exposure to English as second/foreign language (L2/FL) among very young individuals in Sweden. The rationale for the study is the present-day widespread use of digital technologies, and with them easy access to English. A number of studies have pointed to the decisive role of such input for the learning of L2/FL English. In contrast to previous studies, this project focuses on children in preschool and primary school. Many teachers and parents can testify to the high level of English proficiency among very young children, and its repercussions on the teaching of L2/FL English in school. This four-year study, carried out by Liss Kerstin Sylvén and Pia Williams, will map type, amount, and purpose of young children’s use of English, as well as their proficiency in English.

Primary sources of data include focus interviews with children, parents, and teachers, language diaries, self-recordings, and language tests relevant for this age group. Findings will be of relevance to the educational sector as regards the future design and content of English as a subject, as well as to the theoretical frameworks on which the project is based. In addition, it will inform the current debate on the official role of English in Sweden as L2 or FL. Moreover, the project will further our understanding of how digital media enable and facilitate the acquisition of L2/FL English within this age group. 

Participating Researchers

Liss Kerstin Sylvén (project leader)

Pia Williams

Jasmine Bylund