The Language Management Approach

A Focus on Research Methodology

by Lisa Fairbrother (Volume editor) Jiří Nekvapil (Volume editor) Marián Sloboda (Volume editor)
©2018 Edited Collection 406 Pages


The chapters in this volume reflect the variety of methods that researchers have recently applied in their investigations of "behavior toward language", or language management. The innovative methods introduced in the volume will appeal to researchers interested in different types of introspective interview methodology and discourse analysis, and to those looking for ways of linking language policy to everyday social interactions. The broad spectrum of themes taken up by the authors include the practices of language cultivation agencies, the use of first and second languages in educational contexts, attitudes toward language varieties, the use of language in immigrant communities, and the processes underlying literary criticism.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Methodology in language management research (Lisa Fairbrother / Jiří Nekvapil / Marián Sloboda)
  • Part I: Linking language management research with other theories
  • Language planning ‘schools’ and their approaches and methodologies (Richard B. Baldauf Jr. / M. Obaidul Hamid)
  • On the strategies of managing language problems (István Lanstyák)
  • Part II: Exploring the connections between micro- and macro-level management
  • Questions submitted to two language cultivation agencies in Sweden (Björn Jernudd)
  • Interaction between language users and a language consulting centre: Challenges for language management theory and research (Martin Beneš / Martin Prošek / Kamila Smejkalová / Veronika Štěpánová)
  • Utilisation of Language Management Theory in framing interview pro formas (Nor Liza Ali / Richard B. Baldauf Jr. / Nor Mawati Mohd Shariff / Amerrudin Abd Manan)
  • The struggle to promote an African language at a South African university: A language management perspective (Stephanie Rudwick)
  • Part III: Exploring micro-level management
  • Methodology of Japanese studies: The stage of data collection (J. V. Neustupný)
  • Methodological considerations for the study of accustomed language management: An ethnographic approach (Hidehiro Muraoka / Sau Kuen Fan / Minjeong Ko)
  • Personal empowerment through language management (Junko Saruhashi)
  • Using email interaction reports to gain access to the management cycle: A study of Japanese students during study abroad (Lisa Fairbrother)
  • The longitudinal management of speech styles by overseas and local students in a Japanese university context (Hirofumi Asada)
  • Managing a literary text: The perspective of a native and a non-native speaker (Magdalena Hromadová)
  • Part IV: Exploring attitudes towards languages and varieties
  • The focus group discussion as a source of data for language management research: Discussing the use of non-standard language on television (Kamila Mrázková)
  • Family language management in a multilingual setting: The case of Turkish families in Prague (Helena Özörencik)
  • Epilogue
  • The historical position of Language Management Theory (J. V. Neustupný)
  • Contributing authors
  • Author Index
  • Subject Index
  • Series index

| 11 →


We would like to thank all our contributors for the tremendous efforts they put into writing and revising their chapters. Special thanks are due to Hiroko Aikawa and Halina Zawiszová, the translators of the two papers by J. V. Neustupný, the co-founder of Language Management Theory.

We are grateful to the Institute of the Czech Language, Czech Academy of Sciences, for helping to organize the Third International Language Management Symposium, where earlier versions of some of the chapters in this volume were presented, and for financially supporting the publication of this volume.

Jiří Nekvapil and Marián Sloboda’s work was supported by the Charles University project Progres 4 – ‘Language in the shifting of time, space, and culture’. Lisa Fairbrother’s research was supported by the Sophia Linguistic Institute for International Communication at Sophia University.

We would also like to express our gratitude to our editorial assistants, Hiroko Aikawa, Wayne Devitte, Mashiro Tanemo and Gillian Hudson.

The editors

| 13 →


| 15 →

Lisa Fairbrother, Jiří Nekvapil and Marián Sloboda

Methodology in language management research

Abstract In this introductory chapter, the authors define the concept of language management and characterize the main features of Language Management Theory (LMT). This is done against the background of other conceptualizations of language management in Language Policy and Planning. Afterwards, the authors deal with the methodology used in the study of language management, stressing the methods useful in gaining access to the specific features underlying LMT, that is, its focus both on interactional micro-phenomena and societal macro-phenomena, and the interplay of both levels. Accordingly, different types of introspective interview methodology and broadly conceived discourse analysis are presented. Finally, the authors briefly describe the individual chapters contained in the book, with a special focus on the methodology employed in each study.

Keywords language management, Language Management Theory, Language Policy and Planning, research methodology

1 Introduction

This volume presents a selection of papers that reflect the variety of methods that researchers have recently applied in their investigations of the broad spectrum of “behaviour towards language or various forms and manifestations of attention focused on language or its use” (Marriott & Nekvapil 2012: 155). The inspiration for this book comes from the Third International Language Management Symposium,1 held at Charles University in Prague in September 2013, which had a special focus on research methodology and attracted scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Although the central framework of all the contributions to this volume is Language Management Theory (hereafter LMT) (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987), it is by no means aimed solely at scholars and students of the theory. The topics pursued by the authors here will appeal to anyone interested in the general study of language and its role in society, as the themes of the individual papers relate to a broad variety of topics, ranging from language policy and planning to micro-level language use in discourse. The themes taken up in this volume include theories of language planning, the application of language policy in universities, the practices of language cultivation agencies and the people who consult them, the use of language in immigrant and multilingual communities, the use of second languages in educational settings (including study abroad), the processes underlying literary criticism, and ← 15 | 16 → attitudes towards different regional language varieties. The authors are particularly interested in how language problems are perceived, how language choices are made, how language policies are designed and received, and how people react to the language choices and attitudes of others.

From a methodological perspective, all the papers in this volume use qualitative research methods, which are strongly influenced by ethnography and discourse-based/interactional sociolinguistics. The many innovative methods introduced here will particularly appeal to researchers interested in different types of introspective interview methodology, discourse analysis, and to those looking for ways to link the applications of language policy to micro-level interactions and vice-versa. Overall, the editors believe this volume should find its place as an important complement to the overview of research methods presented in Language Policy and Planning, compiled by Hult and Johnson (2015).

The following sections will first provide some background to LMT-based research and then outline the contents of this volume.

2 What is language management?

Bernard Spolsky (2009) uses the term ‘language management’ to refer to “conscious and explicit efforts by language managers to control [language] choices” (p. 1) and “the explicit and observable effort by someone or some group that has or claims authority over the participants in the domain to modify their practices or beliefs” (p. 4). However, critics have denounced this use of terminology as merely a synonym for language planning (Jernudd 2010; Sloboda 2010) and suggest that Spolsky’s approach would be better described as a domain-focused approach (Jernudd 2010; Baldauf 2012; Nekvapil 2016) rather than language management. From a different perspective, Sanden (2016) characterizes Spolsky’s approach to language management as a mere concept or “sub-concept” in a broader field of study. Conversely, in this volume language management refers to the general theory first outlined by Björn Jernudd and J. V. Neustupný (1987) in their paper, Language Planning: For whom?, presented at the 1986 International Colloquium on Language Planning in Ottawa. LMT sets out to try to improve our scholarly understanding of “not merely how people use language but also how they interact with it” (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987: 71). The theory originally developed as a response to the problems evident in the traditional top-down language planning of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Because of its incorporation of discourse-based Correction Theory (Neustupný 1978), from the onset LMT directed its focus onto actual language problems appearing in discourse and saw the ultimate goals of language planning as “the removal of the problems … in discourse” (Neustupný 1994a: 50).

Another key feature of the theory is its focus on metalinguistic behaviour. LMT does not merely examine what forms of language or what specific language policy is produced, but it looks at the processes that led up to that production. Indeed what sets LMT apart from other metalinguistic theories is its conceptualization of language problems not as a product or entity, but as a process (Neustupný 1985). The ← 16 | 17 → starting point of the theory is that there are two underlying processes of language use: 1) generative processes, through which we formulate grammatical sentences and interactional acts, and 2) management processes, which operate on these generative processes, particularly when they have been unsuccessful in some way. The management process then generally follows all or some of the following stages outlined by Jernudd and Neustupný (1987):

By looking at language management as a process, it is then possible to pay attention to different stages of the conceptualization of language problems, such as, for example, when deviations are noted but are not problematized at the evaluation stage, or when deviations are negatively evaluated but no adjustments are designed to try to remove them. For example, a second language writer composing an email in English to a colleague overseas might hesitate when selecting a suitable final greeting. She might first write ‘Yours sincerely’, as she learnt in school, but then note that she rarely sees this expression used in any of the emails that she usually receives. Hence she notes a deviation in her choice of expression from a norm relating to common email language usage. She might then evaluate her deviation negatively because she wants to present herself as a competent user of English and subsequently think of ways to solve her problem, such as consulting a dictionary or looking through the emails she has received from native speaker colleagues in the past (adjustment design). She might then decide to delete ‘Yours sincerely’ and replace it with the final greeting ‘Best wishes’ that one of her colleagues uses on a regular basis (adjustment implementation). Alternatively, her language management could stop at any of the earlier stages. After noting her deviation, she might not consider it to be particularly problematic and consequently not evaluate it. On the other hand, she might evaluate it negatively but not have the time or will to start looking for alternative greetings. Or she might actually have found an alternative final greeting but decided to stick with ‘Yours sincerely’ anyway. Thus, even from this very simple example, the complexity of the processes underlying our behaviour towards language can be seen.

As LMT-based research has progressed, the basic processual model has undergone a number of adaptations, most notably the elimination of the term ‘correction’ in stage three, which is a remnant of Neustupný’s (1978) ‘correction theory’ on which the 1987 model was based. In addition, other stages have been added, particularly by researchers working in the field of second language education and ‘contact situations’ (Neustupný 1985), in order to make a distinction between the occurrence of errors and other deviations from standard norms on the one hand and the noting behaviour of the self and others on the other hand (Neustupný 1997a, 1997b, 2003, 2004, 2005; Miyazaki 2003; Fan 1994; Fairbrother 2004b, 2009; Kato 2010; ← 17 | 18 → Kon 2002; Marriott 2000; Son 2016). Although there is some debate as to whether the processual model should be represented as starting with deviations from norms or the noting of those deviations (Nekvapil 2012; Nekvapil & Sherman 2014: 251; Beneš et al. this volume), or end with implementation or post-implementation/feed-back (Kimura 2014; Fairbrother 2011), all researchers include the original core four stages in their models.

Another key feature of LMT that initially distinguished it from other sociolinguistic theories in particular, is its holistic conceptualization of problems, focusing on not only the grammatical features of language per se, but also making sociolinguistic (communicative) features, and sociocultural (interactive) features the object of research (Neustupný 1997b, 2005). Indeed, when we interact with others, we do not only focus on making accurate sentences or communicating in a way appropriate to the situation, but we also manage our interactions for broader purposes, such as how to communicate in order to establish friendships, continue business relationships or to maintain our self-image as a competent member of society. Much of this management focuses on language but sometimes it does not.

Another distinguishing feature of LMT is its focus, from the onset, on the connections between macro-level management, such as national, regional and organizational-level language policy and planning, and micro-level discourse. Within LMT the former is generally referred to as organized management, and the latter, simple management (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987; Neustupný 2002), although there are some exceptions. Organized management refers to management directed towards “language as a system” (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987: 76) and is the “management [typically] performed by institutions” (Nekvapil 2016: 15) or organizations. Generally it involves “a considerable number of participants, extensive theoretical legitimation of standpoints…, it takes place in a number of encounters, and implies complicated implementation mechanisms” (Neustupný 1994a: 53). Furthermore, it is carried out within extensive networks and over multiple acts that will generally include communication about management and theorization (Neustupný 2003; Nekvapil 2012). Conversely, simple management is directed towards micro-level discourse and is generally carried out by individuals in interaction. Considering its features, “the evaluation process may be unconscious, the design routine, and implementation immediate” (Neustupný 1994a: 53) and it may be carried out “without the use of any theoretical components” (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987: 76).

As LMT was first developed in response to concerns about trends in language policy and planning that tended to ignore how the language was actually being used ‘on the ground’, a central concern has been on examining what problems actually occur in discourse and how they are being addressed by macro-level planning initiatives. Indeed, Jernudd and Neustupný argued from the beginning that any form of language planning should start with an identification of problems in discourse and its ultimate goal should be the removal of those problems from discourse:

This concept was initially introduced in the 1980’s by Neustupný (1983: 2), who wrote:

Sherman (2006) and Nekvapil (2009) describe this cyclical process connecting the macro and micro levels as the “language management cycle” (Nekvapil 2009: 9) and Nekvapil has shown how this process can take different partial forms (cf. also Giger & Sloboda 2008). According to their overview of current theories in language policy and planning (hereafter LPP) research, Baldauf and Hamid (this volume) argue that no other theory in LPP has been able to do this as effectively. It can therefore be expected that this theory will gain much more attention in future research and also in the application domain. For example, Fan (2008, 2009b) developed a tertiary-level Japanese language teaching programme based on the individual stages of the management process, as well as a programme design for the teaching of the minority languages of the Ryukyuan islands in Japan (2014a).2

3 The importance of methodology in language management research

Because LMT developed in reaction to the trends in language planning at that time that often ignored the actual language situation on the ground, language management (hereafter LM) research has been dedicated to focusing on actual language use wherever possible. As a result, a central methodological concern has been the need to gain access to naturally-occurring data and this was emphasized in Neustupný and Miyazaki’s (2002) Japanese-language volume on methodology in language-related research. Regarding simple management in spoken discourse, this has been carried out through a variety of methods, including video recordings (Fairbrother 2002; Fan 2000; Marriott 1990, 2003; Neustupný 1996) and audio recordings (Engelhardt 2011; Fan 2009a; Miyazoe-Wong 2003; Kato 2010; Ko 2003, 2006; Kon 2011; Sherman 2007, 2012) of naturally-occurring interactions, participant observations (Sloboda 2009) and dummy surveys, where the actual object of analysis is the informal interaction at the end of a mock data collection session (Kaneko 1992, 2002; Takeda 1999, 2007).3 Even though the ‘observer’s paradox’ (Labov 1972) means that ← 19 | 20 → the act of observation will often have some kind of effect on the naturalness of the situation being observed, the research findings suggest that when efforts are made to make the recording methods as unobtrusive as possible, the effects of observation can be reduced considerably.

In addition to oral discourse, authentic written language has also been the focus of research. Regarding the language management of and in the written language, researchers have made use of many different natural data sources in their analysis. For example, individual internet communications (Pasfield-Neofitou 2012), internet discussion forums (Sherman 2009; Sloboda & Nábělková 2013), the linguistic landscape (Fan 2014a; Nekvapil & Nekula 2006; Sloboda et al. 2010; Marx & Nekula 2015), immigrants’ management of the Japanese script (Kaneko 2011), teachers’ and peer editors’ corrections of students’ tests and essays written in a foreign language (Dovalil 2015a; Marriott 2003), journal editors’ management of articles submitted by L2 writers (Kaplan & Baldauf 2005), the databases of language cultivation agencies (Beneš et al. and Jernudd in this volume) and even EU language law (Dovalil 2013, 2015b) have all become the object of LM research.

Concerning organized management, namely macro-level or meso-level management occurring over or affecting multiple interactions, researchers in LMT have paid particular attention to the management processes of different agents on a variety of levels and have collected data accordingly. Characteristically, when dealing with organised management, researchers also pay attention to what is happening in particular interactions, that is, to simple management. For example, regarding the equality of languages in the EU, Dovalil (2013, 2015b) analysed ‘law in books’, political declarations by the EU, questions raised by members of the European Parliament, and actual legal cases to examine how different management processes could be seen on different levels and from different perspectives. In their analysis of more localized language policy, namely bilingual public signage in traditionally bilingual communities in Europe, Sloboda et al. (2010, 2012) investigated not only the signs and the related legal and policy documents, but they also researched public opinion in internet forums and conducted interviews with local residents and visitors as well as government officials from different ethnic and language backgrounds. Kimura (2014) also investigated the management processes of a variety of agents on different levels, by analysing newspaper reports and conducting interviews with the people involved in an incident concerning the prohibition of Sorbian in a social services institution in Germany. In addition, Nekvapil & Sherman (2009, forthcoming) investigated the underlying processes and effects of organized management in multinational corporations based in central Europe, by analysing management on different levels of the organizations, such as language requirements in the hiring process, language courses provided by the corporations, intercultural training, discourse management (such as the avoidance of ethnic terms, e.g., ‘German’ & ← 20 | 21 → ‘Czech’ over multiple interactions), the linguistic landscape inside and outside the workplace, and the functions of language in meetings.

A variety of methods have been used by researchers to investigate the links between organized management and simple management. For example, Marriott (2004) synthesized research from a number of ethnographic studies to examine how far university policies aimed at providing academic support for overseas exchange students actually functioned in practice, and whether they effectively addressed the language problems that exchange students face in reality. Based on observations, recordings, interviews and an analysis of the linguistic landscape, Nekvapil and Sherman (2013) and Sherman et al. (2012) examined how the language policies of multinational corporations in the Czech Republic addressed actual language problems in the workplace and how in turn language problems on the ground affected the formulation of new policies. In a very different setting, Pasfield-Neofitou (2012) examined individual online comments and the responses of the website management to examine how problems in multiple individual internet communications led to adjustments implemented by the Japanese platform management that then excluded non-native writers of Japanese.

Concerning the analysis of their data, researchers of LM have drawn on a range of methods from other disciplines, such as conversation analysis, discourse analysis (including critical discourse analysis) and pragmatics. However, the one point that distinguishes LMT-based research most clearly from these other traditions is its focus on internal processing. Because LMT focuses on metalinguistic activities of different kinds, finding methods to gain access to management processes, particularly those that are not readily visible in the interaction itself, has been a central theme since the early stages of the theory’s formulation. Particularly regarding simple management, often what is visible in discourse is merely the product of LM, not the actual management process itself (although in some cases of conversational repair the whole process may be visible), so methods needed to be developed to access both the product of management and the internal processes undertaken before the actual production of language or behaviour.

Indeed, Neustupný made this issue the central focus of his 1994 Japanese paper, Methodology in Japanese Studies: The stage of data collection (translated by Hiroko Aikawa, this volume). In this paper, he outlined two of the methods that are still commonly used in LMT-based research today: the follow-up interview and the interaction interview. In the follow-up interview (cf. also R. Neustupný 1996; J. V. Neustupný 2002, 2003), participants are asked to watch or listen to the audio or video recording of their very recent interaction(s) and then comment on their behaviour and that of their interlocutors in order for the researcher to find out if any language management took place and the reasons why it did or did not occur. Although in the follow-up interview the researcher’s focus is usually LMT-based, the technique itself is virtually synonymous with Gass and Mackey’s (2000) ‘stimulated recall’ method which has gained popularity in North American research (Marriott 2015). This kind of technique enables the researcher to examine the speaker’s metalinguistic behaviour at different points in the interaction, and to investigate why language and/or ← 21 | 22 → other behaviours were produced in a particular way. When analysing discourse, researchers often find that there are certain points in the interaction where it is difficult to ascertain the intentions behind the production of a particular utterance and also how far speakers were aware of the actual language that they produced. Many of these questions can be answered through the use of follow-up interviews and many researchers working in the field of LMT have applied them in their research on, for example, business interactions (Marriott 1990, 1991a, 1991b, 1993, 1997, 2012; Miyazoe-Wong 2003), native speaker and non-native speaker interactions (Masumi-So 1997; Fan 2003; Fairbrother 2002, 2004a, 2004b; Kato 2010; Takeda 1999, 2006, 2007; Ozaki 2002; Ko 2003; Kon 2002), bilingual speaker interactions (Fan 2000), non-native speaker lingua franca interactions (Fan 1999), peer language exchange (or tandem learning) interactions (Masuda 2009), peer editing (Marriott 2003), and oral testing (Ko 2000).

The interaction interview (Neustupný 1994b, 2003; Muraoka 2002), on the other hand, was developed as a means to gain access to language management behaviour in situations where recording is either impossible, or would be considered too intrusive. Whereas in general semi-structured interviews, referred to by Neustupný as ‘recall interviews’ (Neustupný 2003), responsibility is put on the interviewees to accurately recall and analyse their experiences from both the recent and distant past, the interaction interview requires interviewees to merely describe in detail their very recent interactions (usually within the past 24 hours). The responsibility for analysing the interviewees’ accounts and asking more probing questions to ascertain whether any language management actually took place is thus firmly placed on the shoulders of the researcher, enabling the interviewee to simply focus on describing in depth their actual recent language use and other behaviours. Although this method can never replace the recording of naturally-occurring interaction, through the use of interaction interviews, many researchers have been able to gain access to language situations, which might otherwise be difficult to research. For example, Asaoka used this method to analyse an Australian-Japanese dinner party (1987) and Australian tourists’ service encounters in Japan (1985); Neustupný (2003) used it to analyse Japanese students’ language management during a short visit to the Czech Republic; Sherman (2006, 2015) applied it to her research on Mormon missionaries in the Czech Republic; Aikawa (2015) used it to examine the use of English in the Japanese workplace; and Muraoka (2000, 2006, 2010a) and Ko and Muraoka (2009) have used it extensively to investigate the experiences of immigrants in Japan.

In addition to these two central methods, other methods have been used to gain access to interactants’ conscious internal processing, such as diaries (Nemoto 2009, 2012), language biographies (Ko 2010, 2014, 2016; Muraoka 2016; Nekvapil 2004; Sherman & Homoláč 2014) and general semi-structured interviews (Ishida 2006, 2009; Kaneko 2007, 2011; Kurata 2012; Muraoka 2010b; Nemoto 2009; Sloboda 2009; Sherman 2007, 2015), which, when employed with care, can provide accounts of specific, concrete cases of language management as well as interviewees’ general summaries of their management behaviour, otherwise known as “management summaries” (Nekvapil 2004; Neustupný & Nekvapil 2003). Taking a “cognitivist ← 22 | 23 → approach” (Nekvapil 2012: 164), Neustupný (1985) further argued that there are times when participants might not actually be aware of their own noting but their non-verbal behaviour may indicate that some unconscious internal processing had in fact taken place. A number of attempts have been made, particularly by scholars specializing in Japanese second language acquisition, to gain access to this kind of unconscious processing. For example, Miyazaki (2000, 2002, 2003) made use of Event-Related Potential (ERP) brain wave analysis to examine to what extent L2 speakers of Japanese unconsciously and consciously noted errors in Japanese written characters. Similarly, Ko (2002) drew on eye-tracking research to investigate the potential of eye camera technology to gain more objective access to noting and evaluating behaviour that participants might not be able to report consciously.

Studies of language management have also demonstrated the value of using mixed methods in qualitative research, which is hardly surprising when considering the broad scope of language management that occurs on the micro and macro levels. As introduced above, the analysis of naturally-occurring oral data recordings have been frequently supplemented with introspective methods, particularly the follow-up interview (Fan 2000, 2002; Fairbrother 2002, 2009; Marriott 1990). Furthermore, a number of scholars have combined different oral data collection methods with an analysis of written data. For example, Fairbrother (forthcoming) supplemented her findings from semi-structured and interaction interviews with an analysis of her participants’ email exchanges, whereas in a similar vein Nemoto (2009) combined his findings from Japanese exchange students’ diary entries with semi-structured interviews and an analysis of their written assignments. Pasfield-Neofitou (2012) supplemented her analysis of written internet communications with oral introspective data gained from semi-structured interviews and follow-up interviews, and Dovalil (2015a) combined his analysis of teachers’ corrections and comments to second language learners’ essays and test answers with follow-up interviews with the teachers. Additionally, in her study of young Hong Kong migrants’ awareness of written Chinese norms, Fan (2014b) combined an analysis of the linguistic landscape with semi-structured interviews and language biographies.

Clearly a wide range of methodologies have been used by researchers in their investigations of LM in different contexts. As LMT-based research has been expanding in recent years, now is a good opportunity to look at more recent methodological developments and address the current issues deriving from attempts to research the common theme of ‘behaviour towards language’.

4 The present volume

The volume is organized into four sections, based on the main focus of inquiry of the contributing authors: 1) Linking language management research with other theories, 2) Exploring the connections between micro- and macro-level management, 3) Exploring micro-level management, and 4) Exploring attitudes towards languages and varieties. The volume concludes with a translation from Japanese of Neustupný’s views on methodology and the potential of LMT-based research. ← 23 | 24 →

The two chapters in Part I give overviews of the literature in their respective fields and look at ways to contextualize LMT-based research and connect it to other theories. In chapter two, the late Richard B. Baldauf and M. Obaidul Hamid examine the theoretical and methodological issues relating to the field of language policy and planning (LPP) and based on an extensive review of the literature, they present an overview of the different methodological traditions in the different ‘schools’ of LPP research, including classical, domain-focused, ethnographic, critical, and LMT approaches. They highlight the strengths of the LMT approach in its ability to focus on behaviour towards language at both the micro and macro levels, whilst also providing a comprehensive framework to see the connections between the two levels.

In chapter three, István Lanstyák synthesizes research on LMT with other approaches to problem management (cf. also Lanstyák 2014) and presents a detailed typology of the strategies that can be used to manage language problems on both the macro and micro levels. Based on an in-depth review of the literature, diary entries from students learning Hungarian language and literature in Slovakia, and his own participant observations, he identifies the two suprastrategies of involvement and non-involvement, which then determine the type of lower-level strategies that will be carried out. He argues that while an examination of macro-micro connections is important, it is also necessary to first investigate the processes of simple and organized management separately, in order to be able to see the particular characteristics of the two different levels.

Part II presents four studies that have been conducted with the specific aim of examining the connections between micro-level (simple) and macro-level (organized) management, focusing on the LM processes of language cultivation agencies and universities. Chapters four and five take a detailed look at the LM processes underlying the interactions of official language cultivation agencies with the general public, highlighting the ways that such organized management agencies address the language problems presented to them, which generally stem from simple management on the micro level. In chapter four, Björn Jernudd presents his analysis of the questions from the public posed to two Swedish language cultivation agencies, based on a selection of enquiries made available to him from the agencies’ internal data bases. His detailed classification of the queries shows that many of the questions follow a very similar pattern and are dominated by enquiries relating to vocabulary. Moreover, the enquiries reflect strong (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations that every problem will have only one solution and that the cultivation agencies’ role is to provide one correct answer. Jernudd also raises the important methodological issue that the query databases offer access to only a part of the enquirer’s management processes, thus making it difficult to ascertain many of the complex processes that preceded the enquiry.

In chapter five, Martin Beneš, Martin Prošek, Kamila Smejkalová and Veronika Štěpánová raise some similar issues to Jernudd in their detailed analysis of the management processes reflected in enquiries from the general public to the Language Consulting Centre (LCC) of the Institute of the Czech Language, which is a branch of the Czech Academy of Sciences based in Prague. They also found that enquirers ← 24 | 25 → expected the LCC to provide one correct answer and to judge unequivocally whether an item is correct or not. From a methodological perspective, they raise similar concerns to Jernudd, concerning the limited access to the circumstances preceding the enquiry, but also concerning whether the adjustment advice provided by the Centre was actually implemented or not. Beneš et al.’s analysis of the different stages of the management process, including pre-interaction management (Nekvapil & Sherman 2009), post-interaction management and in-management (Neustupný 2004), also highlights the importance of paying attention to the different norms that may be involved in enquiries to language cultivation agencies. In particular, they highlight the distinction between external codified norms and the norms internalized by individuals and they continue the debate as to whether the LM process should be conceptualized as starting at the noting stage or not.

Chapters six and seven focus on methods to examine the relationship between language policy decisions at universities and their management on the micro level. In chapter six, Nor Liza Ali, Richard D. Baldauf, Nor Mawati Mohd Shariff and Amerrudin Abd Manan outline how they used LMT to design interview pro formas, a type of interview guide, to investigate the management of policies relating to English as a medium of instruction at a Malaysian university, from the perspective of students, lecturers and administrators. By basing their interview design on LMT, they were able to create a spiral effect, through which variables occurring in answers to questions aimed at one group of participants could be incorporated into the design of questions for other participants at different levels of the institution. They demonstrate how in this way, they were able to triangulate their findings amongst the different groups of interviewees and examine micro-level issues in more depth.

In chapter seven, Stephanie Rudwick introduces the methods she used to analyse the relationship between a South African university’s policy to promote Zulu as a language of teaching and learning and language management processes occurring on the micro level. Based on data collected via qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and her own ethnographic participant observations, she highlights the dichotomy between students’ overwhelming support for the introduction of an African language as a medium of instruction, and their hesitance to actually choose to study in Zulu themselves. Using excerpts from their interviews and discussions, she illustrates the students’ reservations about studying in a language other than English that could impede their future job prospects, and their lack of literacy and academic skills in Zulu, due to the heavy focus on English throughout the educational system.

The chapters included in Part III investigate simple management from a variety of perspectives. First, chapter eight is Hiroko Aikawa’s translation of Neustupný’s (1994b) Japanese paper on methodology, where he presented an overview of methods in the early modern, modern and post-modern paradigms and outlined the justification and procedure for using follow-up interviews and interaction interviews in Japanese research. These two methods are still used widely today, including by a number of authors in the present volume. ← 25 | 26 →

Chapters nine and ten examine the language management of immigrants. Hidehiro Muraoka, Sau Kuen Fan and Minjeong Ko use an ethnographic approach to examine the language management of immigrants towards contact situations (Neustupný 1994a, 2003), by focusing on three immigrants from Hong Kong, South Korea and the Philippines, currently living in Australia and Japan. Based on their analysis of language biography interviews (Nekvapil 2004) and interaction interviews (Neustupný 1994b, 2003), combined with an analysis of the discourse of the interview itself as a speech event, they argue that a close examination of their participants’ evaluations of deviations can reveal evidence of their accustomed language management towards contact situations, as well as their language management within contact situations.

In chapter ten, Junko Saruhashi uses participant observations and a three-phase interview (background, follow-up and broader life goals) to examine the language management of a female Burmese refugee restaurant owner residing in Japan. Drawing on theories of critical language policy and empowerment, she investigates how far the LMT framework can be applied to the examination of the personal empowerment of immigrants and refugees in contact situations, in a process that she terms PELM (Personal Empowerment through Language Management). She argues that in the second phase of her interview, based on her observations of the restaurant owner’s interactions at work immediately preceding the interview, a strong sense of PELM was reported. However, in the third phase of the interview, which focused on the immigrant’s broader life-long goals, contradictions could be seen between her empowered narratives concerning her daily work and her sense of disempowerment concerning her life situation. Saruhashi thus suggests that future research in PELM should pay attention not only to individuals’ micro-level interactions, but also to their orientations towards personally meaningful long-term goals.

Next, chapters eleven, twelve and thirteen investigate simple management in language-learning contexts. In chapter eleven, Lisa Fairbrother introduces a method used to collect interaction-interview-style reports via email from Japanese university students studying overseas for one year. The use of email interaction reports enabled her to investigate the linguistic, sociolinguistic and sociocultural problems that the students perceived during study abroad. Although the limitations of the use of these email interaction reports is recognized, the potential of this method in facilitating access to one fragment of the language management cycle (Nekvapil 2009), namely the reformulation of norms and expectations in contact situations, is argued.

In chapter twelve, Hirofumi Asada investigates Chinese exchange students’ longitudinal management of speech styles in Japanese. Through the analysis of video recordings of the Chinese students interacting with Japanese students over the course of a year, supplemented with follow-up interviews with both the Chinese and Japanese students, he examines the Chinese students’ gradual shift from the use of a formal to an informal speech style, and the Japanese students’ responses to their language use. He argues that although many of the Chinese students began to use a mixture of formal and informal styles, they were more sensitive to deviations relating to a lack of formality, rather than a lack of informality that the Japanese students were more likely to note. In contrast with the perceptions of the Japanese ← 26 | 27 → students, even if the exchange students did use informal style, this usage did not imply that they felt a sense of closeness with their Japanese interlocutors. On the other hand, Asada demonstrates that some Japanese students tended to apply contact norms (Neustupný 1985, 2005; Fairbrother 2009) in their interactions with the Chinese students and were particularly sensitive to age differences in their choice of speech style.

Magdalena Hromadová tackles a relatively new field of language management studies in chapter thirteen, in her comparison of how a native and a non-native speaker of Czech accomplish the criticism of a modern literary text. She conducted follow-up interviews with her two informants based on the notes and comments they made whilst reading the same short story. The application of LMT enabled her to see the complex processes involved in reading a text and she was able to pinpoint a number of differences in the way the native and non-speaker approached the exercise. Hromadová highlights the usefulness of LMT in literary criticism research and encourages other researchers in the field to adopt her methodology.

The chapters in Part IV examine attitudes towards different languages or varieties. In chapter fourteen, Kamila Mrázková investigates the attitudes of Czech speakers towards the use of non-standard Czech on television. She used focus group discussions to investigate how speakers of different Czech dialects reacted to the non-standard Czech that appeared in a selection of TV programme samples and found evidence that evaluations of Common Czech, the most vital non-standard variety of Czech, differed according to the participants’ native dialect. She also highlights the interplay of simple and organized management in her findings, demonstrating that the participants’ management processes were greatly influenced by the organized management they had experienced through Czech language education at school.

Helena Özörencik addresses issues relating to language attitudes in a very different context in chapter fifteen, where she examines the family language management (Sherman et al. 2016) of Turkish families residing in a multilingual setting in Prague. She interviewed six families and conducted an experimental interaction with the children in each family, with the aim of eliciting the parents’ simple management behaviour regarding the children’s use of Turkish. In addition, she triangulated her data by visiting the children’s Turkish Saturday School and interviewing their teacher. Although she had hypothesized that code-switching from Turkish at home would be managed, she discovered that many of the families actively encouraged the use of other languages because they saw the acquisition of other languages as an asset. On the other hand, she found that the parents applied strict social and cultural norms, particularly regarding their daughters’ dress and associations with the children of other families.

Finally, the volume is concluded in the epilogue with Halina Zawiszová’s translation of one of the last papers that Neustupný presented in Japan, in 2003, to the Society of Language Management in Japan (cf. Fairbrother 2015). In this paper, Neustupný examines LMT in relation to other similar theories and considers its historical position. He calls for an opening up of the theory to encourage more connections ← 27 | 28 → between LMT-based research and other theories and approaches that also deal with management phenomena, such as ethnomethodology, interactional sociolinguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis. He suggests changing the name of the theory to the “General Theory of Language Management” in order to acknowledge its separate identity as the only system so far that can incorporate both simple and organized management of grammatical, non-grammatical communicative and sociocultural phenomena in a processual model.


Aikawa, H. (2015) Intercultural Communicative Competence for the Workplace: Problems Faced by Japanese Business Professionals and Suggestions for Teaching English-as-an-international-language. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Tokyo: Sophia University.

Asaoka, T. (1985) Behavioural Patterns and Perceived Interactional Difficulties of Australian Tourists in Japan. Unpublished M.A. dissertation. Melbourne: Monash University.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (October)
language planning laguage policy language attitudes language cultivation methods in linguistics
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018., 406 pp., 5 fig. b/w, 15 tables, 2 graphs

Biographical notes

Lisa Fairbrother (Volume editor) Jiří Nekvapil (Volume editor) Marián Sloboda (Volume editor)

Lisa Fairbrother is a Professor in the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo. Jiří Nekvapil is an Associate Professor at Charles University, Prague and Adjunct Professor at Beijng Foreign Studies University. Marián Sloboda is Head of the Department of Central European Studies, Charles University, Prague.


Title: The Language Management Approach
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
406 pages