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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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Using email interaction reports to gain access to the management cycle: A study of Japanese students during study abroad (Lisa Fairbrother)

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Lisa Fairbrother

Using email interaction reports to gain access to the management cycle: A study of Japanese students during study abroad

Abstract This study investigates the possibility of collecting interaction data via email, based on the ‘interaction interview’ method (Neustupný 1994a, 2003; Muraoka 2002, 2006) when conducting research into the ‘simple’ discourse-based language management (Jernudd & Neustupný 1987) of Japanese students studying abroad. The study takes a broad view of interaction, to include not only phenomena relating to language use, but also relating to sociolinguistic and sociocultural competencies (Neustupný 2004). Although there are certainly some logistic disadvantages to using email as a method of data collection, I will show how it does have some advantages and how the content of email interaction reports can be very similar to the data obtained from oral interviewing. Furthermore, I will argue that the process of writing down and reflecting upon one’s recent experiences may facilitate access to aspects of the language management cycle (Nekvapil 2009). In particular, I focus on the reformulation of norms and expectations at the local level that may be difficult to access using more common interviewing techniques. While not challenging the validity of more commonly used methods, I argue that we should be open to trying different methods, even those that may have been dismissed by other researchers for certain theoretical reasons.

Keywords interaction interviews, recall interviews, study abroad, language management cycle, self-reflection, intercultural communicative competence

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