Filozofická Fakulta

Language Management Theory

J. V. Neustupný, 1977The term Language Management Theory/Model/Framework refers to the theory, model or framework whose basic features were developed by Jiří V. Neustupný and Björn H. Jernudd. To avoid elementary misunderstanding, it should be emphasized that the identity of the theory is based on the set of its theoretical claims rather than on the heading "language management". We mention this here for two reasons: first, certain fundamental features of the theory were published under different labels, especially "language correction" (this version is dealt with, e.g., by Cooper 1989: 40f.); second, some authors employ the term language management without the theoretical propositions of Neustupný and Jernudd, and may use the term as more or less synonymous with language planning (e.g. Spolsky 2009).

Björn JernuddLanguage Management Theory (LMT) originated alongside Language Planning Theory (cf. in particular Jernudd's references to Neustupný in the collections Rubin and Jernudd 1971 and Rubin, Jernudd, Das Gupta, Fishman and Ferguson 1977; cf. also Jernudd 1983). However, it has gradually grown so far apart from it that it represents a distinct alternative (see Jernudd 1991). What seems to have been decisive was Neustupný's effort to base macro language planning firmly on the theory of language problems (cf. in particular Neustupný 1978). At the theoretical level, particular interactions (discourses) were recognized as the primary source of language problems, which shifted the focus of theoretical thought concerning language planning towards the micro dimension (see Kimura 2005). The ideal model of language-planning activity was found in a process which may be described as follows: the identification of a language problem in individual interactions –> the adoption of measures by the particular language-planning institution –> the implementation of these measures in individual interactions. Neustupný (1994: 50) formulates it as follows:

I shall claim that any act of language planning should start with the consideration of language problems as they appear in discourse, and the planning process should not be considered complete until the removal of the problems is implemented in discourse.

The most comprehensive treatment of the theory is presented in the monograph by Neustupný & Nekvapil (2003), in Neustupný's paper (2002), in Nekvapil (2006, 2012), and its earlier version can be found in Neustupný (1978) and the collection of lectures published as Jernudd (1991). Some recent applications of the theory and innovations are included in Nekvapil & Sherman (2009), Marriott & Nekvapil (2012), Nekvapil & Sherman (2014) and (2015).

In the next sections, you can find explanation of some of the basic concepts and distinctions in Language Management Theory and some brief information on methodology in language management research:


Cooper, R. L. (1989). Language Planning and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jernudd, B. H. (1983). Evaluation of language planning – what has the last decade accomplished? In J. Cobarrubias & J. A. Fishman (eds), Progress in Language Planning: International Perspectives. Berlin: Mouton, 345-378.

Jernudd, B. H. (1991). Lectures on Language Problems. Delhi: Bahri Publications. The fifth lecture: "Individual discourse management" PDF (1.4 MB); the ninth lecture: "Research Directions" PDF (1.6 MB)

Kimura, G. (2005). Gengoseisaku kenkyu no gengokan o tou: Gengokeikaku/gengotaido no nibunhou kara gengokanri no riron e [How do researchers on language policy perceive language? - From the language planning/language attitude dichotomy to Language Management Theory]. Gengoseisaku [Language policy], 1, 1-13. English manuscript in PDF

Marriott, H. & Nekvapil, J. (eds) (2012). Language Management Approach: Probing the Concept of "Noting". Special issue of Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 22 (2).

Nekvapil, J. (2006). From language planning to language management. Sociolinguistica: International Yearbook of European Sociolinguistics, 20, 92-104.

Nekvapil, J. (2012). From language planning to language management: J. V. Neustupný's heritage. Media Komyunikeshon kenkyu / Media and Communication Studies, 63. Sapporo: Hokkaido University, Research Faculty of Media and Communication, 5–21. PDF (2.9 MB)

Nekvapil, J. & Sherman, T. (eds) (2009). Language Management in Contact Situations: Perspectives from Three Continents. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Nekvapil, J.  & Sherman, T. (eds) (2014). Jazykový management / Language Management. Special Issue of Slovo a slovesnost, 75 (4). LINK

Nekvapil, J. & Sherman, T. (eds.) (2015). Special Issue: The Language Management Approach: Perspectives on the Interplay of Bottom-Up and Top-DownInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language, 232. FRONTMATTER & CONTENTS 

Neustupný, J. V. (1978). Post-structural Approaches to Language. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Chapter XII: "Outline of a theory of language problems" PDF (2.1 MB)

Neustupný, J. V. (1994). Problems of English contact discourse and language planning. In T. Kandiah & J. Kwan-Terry (eds), English and Language Planning. Singapore: Academic Press, 50–69.

Neustupný, J. V. (2002). Sociolingvistika a jazykový management [Sociolinguistics and language management]. Sociologický časopis – Czech Sociological Review, 38, 429–442. On-line

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) (2005). Language Planning and Policy in Europe. Vol. 2. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 16–201.] PDF (1.5 MB)

Rubin, J. & Jernudd, B. H. (eds) (1971). Can Language Be Planned? Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii.

Rubin, J., Jernudd, B. H., Das Gupta, J., Fishman, J. A. & Ferguson, C. A. (eds) (1977). Language Planning Processes. The Hague, Paris, New York: Mouton Publishers.

Spolsky, B. (2009). Language Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.