Filozofická Fakulta

Linguistic, Communicative and Sociocultural Management

The term language management seems to suggest that the Language Management Theory deals mostly with language phenomena in the narrow sense of the word, i.e. the phenomena of "linguistic competence". However, this is not the case. It is also possible to manage communicative phenomena (for example, the special forms of address required among the members of certain social groups, such as political parties, or the choice of language varieties) as well as sociocultural (including  socioeconomic) phenomena. The following example comes from Heller's (2001) ethnographic research carried out in a French minority school located in a large English-speaking city in the territory of Ontario, Canada:

Example 3 (from Heller 2001: 225)

1 TEACHER: pourquoi lit-on? [why do we read?]
2 MICHEL: pour relaxer [to relax]
3 TEACHER: pour se détendre, 'relaxer' c'est anglais [to 'se détendre' (relax), 'relax' is English]


Evidently, we can witness language management in line 3. The teacher noted that student Michel used an English word in his French discourse (see l. 2), he evaluated this negatively and implemented an adjustment, which he even justified. Both the teacher's and the student's linguistic competence must have been at play, since both were able to recognize the French and the English word or they are both oriented toward such a differentiation. Nevertheless, there was also communicative competence involved. They were both oriented toward the norm that French is used consistently during teaching despite the fact that they are both bilingual. However, as pointed out by Monica Heller, there is also sociocultural management involved – the teacher was oriented toward the ideological maxim "form good Franco-Ontarians", which receives political and economic support.

As far as organized management is concerned, Neustupný and Nekvapil (2003) claim that linguistic, communicative and sociocultural (including socioeconomic) management are often ordered hierarchically. Successful language management (for example, teaching the Czech language to the Roma in the Czech Republic) is often conditioned by successful communicative management (the establishment of common Czech-Roma social networks), which in turn may be conditioned by successful socioeconomic management (providing jobs which could lead to the establishment of the Czech-Roma networks).



Heller, M. (2001). Undoing the macro/micro dichotomy: ideology and categorization in a linguistic minority school. In Coupland, N., Sarangi, S. & Candlin C. N. (eds), Sociolinguistics and Social Theory. Harlow: Longman, 212-234.

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)