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Helle Lykke Nielsen

Om Helle Lykke Nielsen


I hold a PhD in educational linguistics and Arabic. After my dissertation, I worked as an assistant and later associate professor at University of Southern Denmark (1992-2014), where I headed the Arabic programmes. I have conducted research at several institutions and universities in and outside the Arab world, including the European Commission in Brussels, the American University of Cairo, Middlebury College’s School of Arabic in Vermont, USA, Bourguiba School of Languages in Tunis and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

I am a certified PhD supervisor and research manager, have supervised more than 50 BAs and MAs and am or have been a member of many professional committees, such as the board of the Danish Cultural Institute in Damascus, the evaluation committee on Oriental and African languages at the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, the Danish university committee for external examiners and the Danish commission for high school examinations in Arabic.


My current research focuses on Arabic as a minority language in Denmark and Sweden. It comprises, among other things, the following perspectives:

  • Linguistic landscapes: How is written Arabic used in the Danish and Swedish public sphere? Three areas are investigated: Muslim cemeteries, graffiti and shop signs in Arabic.
  • Sociolinguistics: How are identity, face-work and power expressed among well-educated young Arabs in Denmark? The main focus is on inter-Arab communication in debates and public discussions.
  • Language policies: How are immigrant areas presented in media and other public texts? So far, I have focused on the Danish suburb Vollsmose, but Swedish areas such as Angered in Gothenburg and Rosengård in Malmö will also be analysed.


I teach Arabic at undergraduate and graduate level as well as contemporary issues in modern Arab societies. My research background in foreign language acquisition and computer-assisted language learning makes it very appealing to me to teach Arabic at the introductory and intermediate levels, because these are the levels language learners find most challenging and where they have the steepest learning curve. My teaching is mostly student centred and demands active student participation.

Utvalda publikationer


Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Det sidste hvilested. Om tilhørsforhold og identitetsdannelse blandt muslimer i Danmark. Kulturstudier 1, 2014. S. 6-30.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: “Enhver skal smage døden”. Om Islams betydning for død og begravelse af muslimer i Danmark. Klinisk Sygepleje vol. 28, nr. 4, 2014. s. 40-51.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Curating and Nudging in Virtual Learning Environments. EUROCALL Review 22, 1, 2014. P. 40-46.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Aloha fra Vollsmose: Kan storytelling løse ghettoens problemer? Retorikmagasinet, 94.


Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Kampen om ghettoen. Billeder og modbilleder af Vollsmose. Rhetorica Scandinavia 64, 2013. s. 41-59.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Den sidste rejse. Landskab 2013, nr. 3, s. 78-81.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Muslimske gravsteder i Danmark. Kirkegaarden 2013, nr. 33. s. 22-24.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Den kulturelle grav: Muslimske gravsteder i Danmark. Videncenteret om det moderne Mellemøsten. Center for Mellemøststudier, Syddansk Universitet.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Sproglæreren som kurator. Sprogforum 57, s. 83-88.


Nielsen, Helle Lykke: E-learning and the dilemma of learner autonomy: A case study of first year university students of Arabic. Orientalia Suecana. LXI, Suppl, 2012, s. 89-106.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Fra "Alle kriges moder" til "Det nye Irak": Saddam Hussain taler til folket. I: Ström-Søeberg, P. (red.). Retorik i talerstolen. 20 taler fra Retorikmagasinet, 2012, s. 30-39.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Vollsmose som ikon. Socialpolitik 2012, 6. s. 10-14.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Arabisk er selvskrevet i gymnasiet. Gymnasieskolen, 10, 2012. s. 38-41.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Krisers anatomi. Videncenteret om det moderne Mellemøsten. Center for Mellemøststudier, Syddansk Universitet.

Tidigare publikationer

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Kultur- og religionskriser: Muhammedkrisens anatomi. I: Marcussen, M. & Ronit, K. (red.). Kriser, politik og forvaltning: De internationale udfordringer. København: Hans Reitzel, 2011, s. 180-197.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Praksisorienterede Mellemøststudier ved Syddansk Universitet. I: Rump, J. H. (red.). Eventyrere og orientalister. Studier over dansk orientalistiks historie. København: Vandkunsten, 2009, s. 30-45.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Immigrant Languages and the Dilemma of the Welfare State. A Case Study of Arabic in the Danish Educational Sector. In: The Linguistic Society of Korea (eds): Current Issues in Unity and Diversity of Languages. Collection of Selected Papers from CIL (Congres International des Linguistes), Seoul, Korea. 2009. s. 503 – 517.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Teaching Arabic as a second language. Versteegh, Kees, Mushira Eid, Alaa Elgibali, Manfred Woidich & Andrezej Zabarski (eds.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, vol. 4. Leiden, Brill Academic Publishers, 2008. s. 146-156

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Sprogvurderinger på tyndt grundlag: Regeringens sprogideologi set i et kritisk perspektiv. I: VERA - Tidsskrift for pædagoger. Vol. 44, september 2008. S. 10-17.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke, Funder Hansen, Gunna et al: Al-Maqha: a low-tech Web Cafe for Foreign Language Learners. JALT CALL Journal, 1, 2, 2005. p. 75-85.

Nielsen, Helle Lykke: Saddam: Fyrsten fra Tikrit. København, Aschehoug, 2004.