Who’s reading who? Surveying languages of research in Timor-Leste

John Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes, 2022
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
The phenomenon of English ‘colonising’ academic publishing had been observed globally, so that English-speaking academics rarely need to venture into non-English texts in order to build new knowledge. In the case of research in the education and language fields in Timor-Leste, academic research and writing appears predominantly in Portuguese, with English as a significant second language of research. In this case, researchers need to engage across these dominant languages in order to draw on the accumulated research and knowledge about contexts where research is carried out. Not engaging with both these languages, and other local languages, risks building incomplete knowledge of the Timorese context. This paper presents the results of a citation analysis of academic research items written between 1999 and 2020. Findings indicate that working only within a particular language is frequent among researchers writing in either Portuguese or English, often ignoring research in the other dominant languages and in local languages. This study suggests that researchers within in multilingual countries need to read widely, considering a range of languages and sources. It also suggests the ways in which technological tools might help alleviate some of the barriers to inter-language communication around research.
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