Goro Christoph Kimura – Abstract

What is a management approach to language and what is it good for?
Why is it useful to focus on language management as ‘behavior toward language’ in distinction to ‘language behavior’? In order to answer this question, I will take up the approach of Language Management Theory (LMT) initially proposed by Jernudd & Neustupný (1987), which seeks to provide a framework to address behavior toward language explicitly and comprehensively. General explanation of LMT, bibliography and other materials can be found on the website http://languagemanagement.ff.cuni.cz; for recent developments, see Kimura & Fairbrother (2020). 
After presenting the current state of the evolution of this framework, including propositions to connect with other approaches, I will probe its place within the broader research landscape. Originally, the idea of LMT has started from a critique of the analytic division between ‘language policy’ and ‘language practice’. It was the recognition of the multi-level characteristics of language policy and the emphasis on the importance of considering the micro level of interaction, that led to the development of the theory. In the meantime, the division has been increasingly overcome in related research fields, theoretically and methodologically. Some recent developments have not only arrived where LMT has started, broadening the understanding of language policy, but gone further even to relinquish the distinction between policy and practice. But is it really beneficial for the analysis to put all language activities into one pot?
A case study on choosing interlingual strategies will be discussed to test the validity of the claims of LMT that management processes as metalinguistic interventions accompanying language behavior deserve attention on its own right. The study of multilingual business settings in Japan revealed that due to personal and social reasons there are many occasions which require management by business persons on when and how to use language mediation. Interpreters have to react to such unexpected occurrences flexibly in order to bring success to the negotiation. This aspect of interpreting situations goes beyond the perceived usual image that interpreters just put one language into another in a given setting. Managing the communication should be recognized as part of the job of interpreters.  
Referring to these and other examples, I will argue that, by distinguishing management yet integrating it as part of ordinary language activities, LMT shows a third way between a too narrow view of language-related intervention that overlooks a great part of such activities, and a too wide view that misses the essential distinction of different types of language activities.

Jernudd, B. H., & Neustupný, J. V. (1987). Language planning: For whom? In L. Laforge (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Language Planning (pp. 69–84). Quebec: Les Presses de L’Université Laval.
Kimura, G. C. & Fairbrother, L. (eds.) (2020). A Language Management Approach to Language Problems: Integrating Macro and Micro Dimensions. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Language Management website: http://languagemanagement.ff.cuni.cz