Planning, policy, management?

Use of the terms language planning, language policy and language management is somewhat variable. Sometimes an author changes the definition of a term (e.g., from Spolsky 2004 to Spolsky 2009 with regard to language management), or the same research object may be called language management by one scholar and language policy by another. Today the most frequently used term seems to be language policy, with language planning a close second. Often they are joined in one noun phrase (language planning and policy). Language planning is often associated with the school of language planning research (see Section 2.1), while language management is used, although not exclusively, by researchers from the school of Language Management Theory (see Section 2.2); other authors use this term to designate decisions about language taken by corporate management (e.g., Feely and Harzing 2003; Gundersen 2009). In this case, management is used in the sense of business administration. The obvious consequence is that for each publication the reader must check how these terms are defined by its author.

In Quebec, French-language authors coined the term amenagement linguistique as a preferred alternative to planification linguistique (language planning), which in their view suggested a rigid top-down approach. Amenagement linguistique, by contrast, was oriented towards an evolution which involved society (Corbeil 1980: 9). Jernudd and Neustupny’s proposal of the English term language management (1987: 71) derived explicitly from this use of amenagement linguistique in Quebec; they too contrasted it with language planning, which they regarded as representative of the top-down approach focusing on state agency typical of language planning research until the 1970s.

In Catalan, normalitzacio linguistica, or ‘linguistic normalization’, is commonly used as a term for policies intended to reverse language shift or to put one language on an equal footing with others (assuring equal status to previously repressed languages), or to reclaim a language’s lost social functions and gain new functions for it. In this use, which extends to other Spanish regional languages and carries over to English language publications, it is an aspect of status planning (Boix i Fuster and Vila i Moreno 1998: 317; Vernet and Pons 2011: 58; Cobarrubias and Garmendia Lasa 1987:148-149).

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