Toward a General Theory of Language Management

Jirí Nekvapil

Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

WS121: Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa

The main goal of this paper is to demonstrate the central features of Language Management Theory (LMT), originated in work of J.V. Neustupný and B.H. Jernudd (as presented in an exemplary manner already in Jernudd/Neustupný 1987). Language Management may be defined as metalinguistic activities (“behaviour-toward-language”). These activities take place in actual everyday discourse (that is, Simple Management, e.g. a self-correction of a word-form) or in social organisations varying in scope, aiming at influencing actual everyday discourse (that is, Organised Management, e.g. a language reform elaborated by a governmental agency). Thus the theory can cover very different but interrelated metalinguistic activities such as those produced by both the ordinary language user (“layman”) and the linguistic expert (“professional”).

The process of language management includes the following phases: the noting of a deviation from a norm, the evaluation of the deviation, the designing of an adjustment and the implementation of a design. The process can stop after any of these phases. I will argue that LMT is well suited both to the analysis of language macro-planning and language micro-planning, and focus on the dialectic relationship between these two levels as captured in the concepts of simple management, organized management and language management cycle. Finally, I will compare LMT with other theories of language management and consider the extent to which LMT can serve as a general theory of language management.

JERNUDD, B.H./NEUSTUPNÝ, J.V. (1987): Language plannning: for whom? In L. Laforge (ed.), Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Language Planning. Québec: Les Press de L´Université Laval, 69-84.

NEKVAPIL, J. (2006): From language planning to language management. Sociolinguistica 20, 92-104.

NEUSTUPNÝ, J.V./NEKVAPIL, J. (2003): Language management in the Czech Republic. Current Issues in Language Planning 4, 181-366 [reprinted in Baldauf, R.B./Kaplan, R., B. (eds), Language Planning and Policy in Europe, Vol. 2.: The Czech Republic, The European Union and Northen Ireland. Clevedon/Buffalo/Toronto: Multilingual Matters, 2006, pp. 16-201]

Session: Workshop (part 1)
Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 09:00-10:30
room: 04