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The Language Management Approach

A Focus on Research Methodology

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Edited By Lisa Fairbrother, Jiří Nekvapil and Marián Sloboda

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.

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Personal empowerment through language management (Junko Saruhashi)

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Junko Saruhashi

Personal empowerment through language management

Abstract This chapter aims to conceptualize personal empowerment through language management (PELM) by integrating language management theory (LMT) and Zimmerman’s (1995) concept of personal empowerment. PELM is defined as the attainment of a subjective sense of self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-determination, choice, and control through the language management process. Concisely, PELM offers a sense of language manageability in contact situations, because people can feel that they can have a positive impact on the resolution of language problems and achieve personally meaningful goals.

The proposed PELM framework was utilized as an analytical tool in empirical research involving Burmese restaurant owners in the Takadanobaba area of Tokyo. This study used a combination of participatory observation and semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the Burmese entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry appeared to possess a relatively strong sense of PELM in their everyday work context. At the same time, some cases were observed that demonstrate unstable and fragile PELM, for example, when one interviewee focused on the discrepancy between her personally meaningful goals and her current environment. This study shows that the concept of PELM is useful for grasping the sociolinguistic subjective reality of immigrants and refugees.

Keywords personal empowerment, language management theory, Burmese restaurant owners, immigrants, refugees

1 Introduction

As a subfield of sociolinguistics, research on language policy and planning (LPP) studies has placed the issue of ‘power’ centrally. In particular, during the...

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