Language planning and linguistic purism in the business domain

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Theories of language planning
  • 3. Case studies in puristic language planning
  • 4. Evaluation
  • 5. Conclusion


The subject of this chapter is language planning, with a focus on linguistic purism, especially in relation to business language. The focus is on policy at the macro level, that is, at the level of the state (or autonomous sub-state unit). Business language may be affected by language planning in several ways. The way businesses communicate with the public and (potential) customers - for example, via product labelling, advertising and shop signs - is often subject to language requirements, which are frequently justified by consumer rights considerations. Moreover, the use of language within the workplace may also be subject to regulations. Some may cover the choice of a particular language for a particular purpose, while others prescribe or endorse specific words, terms or forms of communication.

The main part of this chapter consists of two sections. In the first, various theoretical approaches to language planning and/or purism are introduced. The second presents an overview of language policy and planning in three polities: the Canadian province of Quebec, the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia, and France. These examples have been chosen because they are points of reference for the language policies of other regions and countries, as well as for each other. French language policy, for instance, has inspired several European countries (see, e.g., Braselmann and Ohnheiser 2008). In developing his framework of Reversing Language Shift, Fishman (1991) draws on both Quebec and Catalonia as successful examples (see Section 2.3). These two regions share similar political experiences as well as a strong focus on developing terminology for autochthonous special languages (Quirion and Freixa 2013), which obviously also concerns the language of economics and business. For each of the three case studies, both status planning and corpus planning activities will be discussed. A short section evaluating the successes of language policy in these three polities is followed by the chapter’s conclusions.

DOI 10.1515/9781614514862-019

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