Intersecting management: An examination of language management processes in cases where deviations are managed simultaneously by multiple parties

English Studies

By applying Language Management Theory (Jernudd & Neustupný, 1987), this study examines the processes that participants undertake in response to problems in their interactions with others. Although research into Language Management Theory (LMT) has traditionally focused on the noting, evaluation and adjustments planned and implemented towards deviations from norms from the perspective of one individual participant or agent, Marriott has shown that in dyadic interactions both participants may be managing deviations simultaneously, but based on different norms (Marriott, 2012).  LMT research often shows the flow of the language management (LM) process from the perspective of each individual agent but our impression of the LM undertaken can change when we look at how the management of individuals intersect and develop in reaction to one another. Indeed, LM is not just a process undertaken by one individual agent in isolation but can also develop in response to the LM of others. This study attempts to explore these processes in more detail.

Based on semi-structured and interaction interviews conducted with plurilingual speakers employed in Japan, this study presents examples of intersecting management, i.e. language management conducted simultaneously by two or more agents in interaction. First, the different ways that the management of interactants can intersect is examined. For example, interactants may simultaneously note the same deviation but undertake different management processes. Alternatively, one party’s adjustment strategies,  implemented to remove a particular problem, may be noted as a deviation by another party and subsequently managed in a more complex form of “the language management cycle” (Nekvapil 2009). Finally, factors determining the outcome of cases of intersecting management, such as the power relationship between the interactants, are considered and the issue of which party’s management will ultimately take precedence over another’s is addressed.

Jernudd, B.H. and Neustupný, J.V. (1987). Language planning: for whom? In L. Laforge (ed.) Proceedings of the international colloquium on language planning. Les presses de l’université Laval.

Marriott, H.  (2012). Language management in intercultural business networks: Investigating the process of noting. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 22 (2), 195-212.

Nekvapil, J.  (2009). The integrative potential of language management theory. In Nekvapil, J. & T. Sherman (eds.) (2009). Language management in contact situations: Perspectives from three continents (pp.1-11). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

September 27th, 2015. Fourth International Language Management Symposium, Tokyo


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