Native English Speakers in the Czech Republic:

Sherman, Tamah

Native English Speakers in the Czech Republic:
A Language Management Perspective



This paper explores the language problems of native English speakers in the Czech Republic. These speakers form a “community of elites” in former Soviet Bloc countries due to the change in political structure in these countries beginning in 1989 and the subsequent growing demand for English. The problems of this community are represented by language management accounts which appear in written text from internet discussion forums. First, Language Management Theory (LMT) is introduced. Then, several cases of language problems that native English speakers manage are examined. The simple management discussed on the forums concerns language accommodation in contact situations. Organized management ranges from requests for help with Czech vocabulary items, to strategies for learning Czech at various functional levels, to the practical and ideological issue of not learning Czech at all, to methods of developing native-speaking children’s English skills within the Czech school system. Finally, implications of the management of this “community of elites” in the Czech Republic are discussed.