Filozofická Fakulta

Simple and Organized Language Management

Language management is performed at two levels. Speakers can manage individual features or aspects of their own or of their interlocutor's discourse "here and now", that is, in a particular interaction. Such management is "simple" ("discourse-based" or "on-line"). This can be illustrated by Example 1, where the Czech television news anchor uses the non-standard form of the pronoun který ("who"), and, having realized this, he utters the standard form kteří ("who"), in other words, he corrects himself.

Example 1 (from Nekvapil 2000: 174)

Original language:

MODERÁTOR: témata, o kterých bude dnes řeč, možná poznáte už podle jmen pánů, který- kteří přijali dnešní pozvání.

English translation:

ANCHOR: the topics which will be discussed today you may recognize just from the names of the gentlemen who- [non-standard] who [standard] accepted today's invitation.

Language management concern not only varieties of one language, as in Example 1, but also choices between two or more languages.

In contrast to simple language management, organized (or "directed" or "off-line") language management is not restricted to one particular interaction; it is directed and more or less systematic. The organization of language management involves several levels. The growing complexity of social networks is accompanied by the increasing degree of organization of language management. In very complex networks, organized management often becomes the subject of public or semi-public discussion among a large number of participants (including specialists, institutions), many of them referencing various theories or ideologies. This may be illustrated by the decision of the Czech government to suspend the obligatory teaching of Russian after the fall of the communist regime in 1989 and to promote the teaching of "western" languages. Language Planning Theory specialized merely in highly organized management; nevertheless, by stressing the analysis of the initial sociolinguistic situation, it implicitly acknowledged the existence of simple management, and its evaluation stage in particular (cf. Ferguson 1977).

Language Management Theory requires that organized management rely on simple management as much as possible. Due to their high frequency of occurrence, examples of type 1 (morphological vacillation between Standard and Common Czech) have indeed become the subject of organized management in the Czech Republic, which, however, has not resulted in specific language policy measures. The suspension of the teaching of Russian was based on the fact that Russian was considered a useless language, moreover symbolizing the communist regime (on both examples, in more detail, cf. Neustupný & Nekvapil 2003).



Ferguson, C. A. (1977). Sociolinguistic settings of language planning. In J. Rubin, B. H. Jernudd, J. Das Gupta, J. A. Fishman & C. A. Ferguson (eds), Language Planning Processes. The Hague, Paris, New York: Mouton Publishers, 9–29.

Nekvapil, J. (2000). Language management in a changing society: sociolinguistic remarks from the Czech Republic. In B. Panzer (ed.), Die sprachliche Situation in der Slavia zehn Jahre nach der Wende. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 165–177. PDF

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)