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Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1994. 23:55-82 Copyright © 1994by AnnualReviewsInc. All rights reserved

LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
Kathryn A. Woolard

Department Sociology, of University California,SanDiego,La Jolla, California92093 of Bambi B. Schieffelin
Department of Anthropology, New York University, literacy, New York, New York 10003 linguis-

KEYWORDS: language politics, tics

language and colonialism,

language contact,

INTRODUCTION The terms ideology and languagehave appeared together frequently in recent anthropology,sociolinguistics, and cultural studies, sometimes joined by and, sometimesby in, sometimes by a comma a trinity of nouns. Wehave had in analyses, some themvery influential, of cultural and political ideologies as of constituted, encoded, or enacted in language (100, 239, 298). This review differently, and (on the surface) lnore narrowly, conceived:our topic is ideologies of language, an area of scholarly inquiry just beginningto coalesce (185). There is as much cultural variation in ideas about speech as there is in speech forms themselves (158). Notions of howcommunicationworks as a social process, and to what purpose, are culturally variable and need to be discovered rather than simply assumed (22:16). Wereview here selected research cultural conceptions of language--its nature, structure, and use--and on conceptions of communicativebehavior as an enactment of a collective order (277:1-2). Althoughthere are varying concerns behind the studies reviewed, we emphasizelanguage ideology as a mediating link betweensocial structures and formsof talk. Ideologies of language significant for social as well as linguistic analyare sis because they are not only about language. Rath.er, such ideologies envision 55

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and enact links of language to group and personal identity, to aesthetics, to morality, and to epistemology (41, 104, 186). Throughsuch linkages, they often underpin fundamentalsocial institutions. Inequality amonggroups of speakers, and colonial encounters par excellence, throw language ideology into high relief. As R. Williamsobserved, "a definition of languageis always, implicitly or explicitly, a definition of human beings in the world" (320:21). Not only linguistic forms but social institutions such as the nation-state, schooling, gender, dispute settlement, and law hinge on the ideologization of language use. Researchon gender and legal institutions has contributed important and particularly pointed studies of language ideology, but they are reviewed elsewhere (see 81,213). Heath (135) observed that social scientists have resisted examininglanguage ideology because it represents an indeterminate area of investigation with no apparent bounds, and as reviewers we note this with wry appreciation even as we find that the resistance has worn down.Althoughthere have been recent efforts to delimit languageideology(138a, 327), there is no single core literature. Moreover,linguistic ideology, languageideology, and ideologies of language are all terms currently in play. Although different emphasesare sometimessignaled by the different terms, with the first focusing more on formal linguistic structures ~ and the last on representations of a collective order, the fit of terms to distinctive perspectives is not perfect, and we use them interchangeably here. At least three scholarly discussions, by no meansrestricted to anthropology, explicitly invokelanguageor linguistic ideology, often in seeming mutual unawareness. One such group of studies concerns contact between languages or language varieties (118, 133, 135, 152, 219, 249, 285). The recently burgeoning historiography of linguistics and public discourses on language has produceda secondexplicit focus on language ideologies, including scientific ideologies (173,256,268). Finally, there is a significant, theoretically coherent bodyof workon linguistic ideologyconcentrating on its relation to linguistic structures (214, 237, 258, 275). Beyond research that explicitly invokes the term ideology are numerous studies that address cultural conceptions of language,in the guise of metalinguistics, attitudes, prestige, standards, aesthetics, hegemony, etc. There is an emergingconsensus that what people think, or take for granted, about languageand communication a topic that rewards investiis gation, and the area of study is in need of some coordination. Wenote a particularly acute irony in our task of delimiting this emerging field. Onepoint of the comparativestudy of language ideology is to showthe cultural and historical specificity of visions of language, yet as reviewers we
1 See Silverstein (279:312, footnote) for an account of why this should be.

The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation. their social-cognitive function. 100. but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology.annualreviews. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346). as Silverstcin . Whilemetalinguistic discourse. and social domination. Rather. 327). the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition. Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9. together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255). pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies.Annual Reviews www. A second division is the siting of ideology. 78. For Silverstein. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). with a greater social emphasis "self-evident ideas and objectives a group holds concerning roles of language in the social experiences of members they contribute to the expression of as the group" (135:53) and "the cultural systemof ideas about social and linguistic relationships. Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. In critical studies of ideology.258). discourse.198. 298. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics.155. Werun the risk of excluding work in which language does not seem focal precisely because the group studied does not compartmentalize and reify social practices of communicating. 31. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself. but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 57 must decide what counts as language. the point is to focus the attention of anthropologicalscholars of languageon the ideological dimension. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination. Ideological distortion in this view comesfrom inherent limitations awarenessof semiotic process and from the fact that speech is formulated by its users as purposiveactivity in the sphere of interested human social action. 203.This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class.does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term. WHAT IS LINGUISTIC IDEOLOGY? Linguistic/language ideologies have been defined as "sets of beliefs about languagearticulated by users as a rationalization or justification of perceived language structure and use" (275:193). Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258).

is a view of ideologyas rooted in or responsive to the experience of a particular social position. is often seen as key to ideological process. including the scientific. Analertness to the different sites of ideology may resolve someapparent controversies over its relevance to the explanation of social or linguistic phenomena. Althoughideology in general is often taken as explicitly discursive. the term ideology reminds us that the cultural conceptionswe study are partial. But several methodologicaltraditions and topical loci have encouragedattention to cultural conceptions of language. literacy . 241). that escapes groundingin social life (205). Rumsey’s "commonsensenotions" (258) and Heath’s "self-evident ideas" (135) maywell unstated assumptionsof cultural orthodoxy. an organization of signifying practices not in consciousnessbut in lived relations (see 78 for a review). The work we review here includes the full range of scholars’ notions of ideology: from seeminglyneutral cultural conceptions of language to strategies for maintaining social power. but the reconceptualization implies a methodologicalstance (279). The term ideology reminds analysts that cultural frames have social histories and it signals a commitment address the relevance of powerrelato tions to the nature of cultural forms and ask howessential meaningsabout languageare socially producedas effective and powerful(9.annualreviews.Annual Reviews www.org/aronline 58 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & suggested. Nonetheless. The emphasisof ideological analysis on the social and experiential origins of systemsof signification counters this naturalization of the cultural. Someof the work reviewed here mayseem to be simply what anthropology "has always been talking about anyway"as culture nowin the guise of ideology (31:26). politics of multilingualism. pre-reflective. makingit seemuniversally and/or timelessly true. and interest-laden (151:382). in whichanthropology ironically has participated (9). APPROACHES TO LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY Languageideology has been received principally as an epiphenomenon. difficult to elicit directly. is a sufficient condition for identifying ideology. and what makesthe term useful in spite of its problems. possibly intriguing but relatively inconsequential for the fundamentalquestions of both anthropology and linguistics. This recognition the social derivation of representations does not simply invalidate themif we recognizethat there is no privileged knowledge.an overlay of secondary and tertiary responses (34. A naturalizing move that drains the conceptual its historical content. from unconscious ideology read from speech practices by analysts to the most conscious native-speaker explanations of appropriate language behavior. or structural. 78. Wereview work in several areas: ethnographyof speaking. that is. influential theorists haveseen it as behavioral. a facet indicated by Heath’s (135) and Irvine’s (162) definitions. What most researchers share. 36). contestable and contested.

and also the foundationof aesthetics in such areas as music(90). 196). 43). Speechact theory is groundedin an English linguistic ideology. 91. research on metapragmatic universals (309. 303).Annual Reviews www. 121. ETHNOGRAPHY OF SPEAKING The ethnographyof speaking has long given attention to ideology as neutral. 46. 210.annualreviews. interpretive procedures. 262. but the worktends to form different conversations. historiography of linguistics and public discourse on language.315). This recognition triggered taxonomicstudies of conceptualizations of speech acts in specific linguistic communities (308. Languageideology has been madeincreasingly explicit as a force shaping the understanding of verbal practices (21. see also 23. cf 244. disputes (38. 188. 242). Our bibliography is a representative samplingof the research done in these areas. Local conceptions of talk as self-reflexive action have been explored for a variety of genres such as oratory (210). and key cultural ideas about personhood (49. 267. varying in the social and linguistic themes they foreground. and in the institutions and interests to whichthey are fled. Ethnographersof speaking have studied the groundingof language beliefs in other cultural and social forms. 272. 221). 138b. and metapragmatics and linguistic structure. but Hymes (158) suggestedthat an alternative focus beliefs. 318). Ethnographersof Pacific .languagesocialization studies have demonstrated connections among folk theories of language acquisition. rethought profitably in relation to the concernsoutlined above. primarily through description of vernacular speech taxonomies and metalinguistics (24. 186. 187. 275). 116. 255. values and attitudes. 63.284). and styles. 310). 42. There are manyconnections among these. Genres are nowviewednot as sets of discourse features. The ethnography speaking was chartered to study ways of speaking from the point of view of events. 217. 270) stimulated thought about linguistic ideology. The eventual critical response of the ethnography of speaking (158) speech act theory (13. a privatized view of language emphasizing the psychological state of the speaker while downplayingthe social consequences of speech (308:22. acts. This alternative enterprise has been taken up more recently. but which we believe can be. but rather as "orienting frameworks. or on contexts and institutions wouldmakea different contribution. we reach back to earlier studies that werenot conceived in the frame of ideological analysis. 138. To illustrate some the social of variation in conceptionsof language. linguistic practices. 150. 178. and numerous ethnographic challenges to the key assumptionsof speech act theory (74. For example. 231-234.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 59 studies. and sets of expectations" (128:670. conflict management (253. cultural conceptionsof language.

61. challenges multilingual states. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. 317.319. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64. 277).because it addressed a more formal. and/or linguistically significant. see discussion of purismbelow. 69.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. 292a). Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103). 307. 299. 323. Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146. 171. 235).annualreviews. COMPETITION. 202. It is a truism that the equation of languageand nation is a historical. AND POLITICS Research on self-conscious struggles over language in class-stratified and especially multilingual communitieshas treated language ideologies as socially. conscious. 254. 143. 140. 302). 232).org/aronline 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. 201).325). 115. Ironically. 314). 163.160. Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development.) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26. the regulation of of marriage choices (167). 87. The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. As is tree of cultural anthropology in general. 4. 84. but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41). and underpinsethnic struggles to such an extent that the absenceof a distinct language can cast doubt on the legitimacy of claims to nationhood (33:359. 127. 230. 28. conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism. LANGUAGE CONTACT. ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses. 305. 176. 51. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology. 179. ideological construct (61. politically. 243. 188.Annual Reviews www. 175. 118. movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or . 238. the strategic deployment honorifics (3). 76. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics. and politically strategic form of ideology. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background. 95. 32. and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187.

102. particularly in settings wheremultilingualismis moretypical and where a fluid or complex linguistic repertoire is valued (10. 277. 79. the intrapersonal attitude can be recast as a socially-derived intellectualized or be- . 168. The equation of one language/onepeople.annualreviews. 6. and associated assumptions about the importanceof purist language loyalty for the maintenance of minority languages have all been criticized as ideological red herrings. Recentstudies of languagepolitics have begunto examine specifically the content and signifying structure of nationalist language ideologies (127.Annual Reviews www. Peirce’s semiotic categories have been used to analyze the processes by which chunks of linguistic material gain significance as representations of particular populations (104). although traditional or emergent views that resist this hegemonic construction have been documented (10. but as emblems political allegiance or of social. 195. 194. But in Spanish. 306). 273. which is regarded as pure artifice. 72. 282). Researchers have distinguished language as index of group identity from language as a metalinguistically created symbol of identity. phonological markers and stereotypes are common lead to hypercorrection amongsecand ond-languagespeakers. 149. Here wesee how linguistic ideologycan affect the interpretation of social relations. is not socially evaluated by speakers. Mannheim (204) also notes different cultural ideologies of different kinds of linguistic variation in southern Peru. linguistic ideology drives linguistic changealong different paths. 120. Although validity of the nationalist ideologyof languagehas often been the debated or debunked. of of intellectual. Where linguistic variation appears to be simply a diagramof social differentiation. 169. Althoughthe extensive body of research on linguistic prestige and language attitudes grew up in a social psychological framework(109). or moral worth (37. 206. 302). 305). 176. 101. 326). 238.285. Modern linguistic theory itself has been seen as framedand constrained by the one language/one people assumption (194). 206. 325). the analyst needsto identify the ideological production of that diagram(162).277. 57. the Westerninsistence on the authenticity and moral significance of the mothertongue. Irvine (162) finds that Wolof villagers construelinguistic differentiation as iconically related to social differentiation. 207. 80. 105.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 61 suppression (5. distinguishinginter. Language varieties that are regularly associated with (and thus index) particular speakers are often revalorized---or misrecognized(37)--not just symbols groupidentity. 32. In this case.and intra-lingual variation oJ~ddevisinga migrationhistory for a particular caste to match their linguistic difference. moreexplicitly ideologized in discourse (105. less attention traditionally has been given to understanding how the view of language as symbolic of self and communityhas taken hold in so many different settings. Endogenous variation in Quechua. which is seen simply as natural human speech.

But Hill (148) argues that socially-grounded linguistic analysis of Anglo-American borrowingsand humorousmisrenderings of Spanish reveals them as racist distancing strategies that reduce complex Latino experience to a subordinated. in a representation of and comment ethnolinguistic difon ferences and their role in unequal relations. shift. Encounterswith the languages of others maytrigger recognition of the opacity of language and concern for delineating and characterizing a distinctive community language (259). For example. 251). Whether a code is a language or not depends on whether its speakers act like speakers of Javanese. The appropriation of creole speech. 324.Annual Reviews www. In the Javaneseview. style-switching. Sucha tearing aside of the curtain of mystification in a "Wizardof Oz theory of ideology" (9) begs the question of how and why language comes to stand for social groups in a mannerthat is socially both comprehensible acceptable. 197.org/aronline 62 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & havioral ideology (Bourdieu’s habitus) (37. dependingon howspeakers conceptualize the links of language.200. is also seen in the use of foreign languagesin Japanesetelevision advertising (124).whosee only matters of style (again. 326). is in tension with black adolescent views of these codes as part of their distinctive identity (143). Basso(20) classically describes a WesternApache metalinguistic joking genre that uses English to parody"Whiteman" conversational pragmatics. However. learning to translate (into high Javanese from low) is the essence of becoming true adult a and a real languagespeaker. Communities only evaluate but mayappropriate somepart of the linnot guistic resources of groups with whom they are in contact and in tension. 193. 311. ostensibly posiof tive.Nova Scotian parents actively discour- . Moreover. The failure to transmit vernaculars intergenerationally maybe rationalized in various ways. whereasthe corresponding ethnic or racial discriminationis not (156. and social fife. 119. and Siegel (273) argues that Javanese metaphorically incorporates foreign languagesinto itself by treating other languagesas if they were low Javanese. Linguistic ideology is not a predictable. and dress by white adolescents in South London. change.annualreviews. 153. 328). 107. 219. 325. it makesits own contribution as an interpretive filter in the relationship of languageand society (211). Linguistic borrowing might appear superficially indicate speakers’ high regard for the donor language. 149. music. automatic reflex of the social experienceof multilingualismin whichit is rooted. symbolic revalorization often makesdiscrimination on linguistic groundspublicly acceptable. commodifled). and policy (120. 251. simply asserting that struggles over language are really about racism does not constitute analysis. The current proand gramof research is to address both the semiotic and the social process. cognition. Suchmeaningsaffect patterns of language acquisition. The commodification ethnolinguistic stereotypes. commodity identity. 144. refiguring and incorporatinglinguistic structures in waysthat reveal linguistic and social ideologies (146).

118. like societies. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. problem. with paradoxical is ideological implications that condemn languages. Gapunparents blame their children’s dissatisfaction and aggressionas the roots of the loss of the vernacular (187). have contributed to profounddecisions about. Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource. Language mixing. 139. 201). 51). 18. 174. 136. 191.Annual Reviews www. 235.265). 166. 87. 57. 110). Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2. rules for word formation. 33. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation. for example. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. 120.betweenEnglandand France (65.and counted. 19. They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular.or right (see also 152). and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111.Such beliefs.the civility or even the humanityof subjects of colonial domination (93.288). to perennial status as underdeveloped (32.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211). The model development pervasive in post-colonial language planning. the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80). 165.annualreviews. and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved. and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language(263. named. 68. 120. 127. At an even more fundamentallevel. Grammatical variability and. vernacularization. and internationalization (4. . codeswitching. and commentators bilingual and immigranteducation have noted on such orientations conflated within these programs(117. 224. lexical elaboration. for example.228. 236). 287). 135).and underlyingthese beliefs. 285. enter into strategies of social domination. cf 329). revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25. 216. pluralism.322. The extension of the notion grammar the explicitly artifactual product of scholarly intervention to an from abstract underlying system has done nothing to mutethe polemics(222). Written form. 251. 204.

cf 142. 194. an ideologyof the sanctity languagein an ultraorthodox Jewish community leads to the restriction of the Hebrew language to sacred contexts (113). 293). with the concept of standard treated more as ideological process than as empirical linguistic fact (16. 134). 132. whodissociate themselves from the in linguistically pure forms that smackof institutional minority politics (5. 286). such as clarity or truthfulness (70.annualreviews. and similarly.172. 18). 149). Standard languages and/or their formation had been studied earlier by philologists. 131. superposedstandard languages are tied not only to writing and its associated hegemonic institutions. but from the strength of at theocratic institutions and of ritual linguistic forms as modelsfor other domainsof interaction (182. its social meaningand strategic use are not transparent (99. SomeSpanish loanwords sound more authentic to non-elite members of the Gallego speech community Spain. 183. 171). DOCTRINES OF CORRECTNESS. 219. PragueSchool functional linguists. 219). 96. Notions of better and worse speech have been claimed to exist in every linguistic community (35). 172. AND PURISM Since Dante’s time. 277). 145. but the emphasison the ideological dimensionhas given rise to new analyses of languagestandardization (172).org/aronline 64 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & STANDARDIZATION. An apparently purist linguistic conservatism among Tewamaydethe rive not from resistance to contact phenomena all. 276:241. 297). Such complex relations among social position. 65. 277. The linguistic effects of purismarc not predictable. and purist . but usually selectively. targeting only languages construed as threats (316. In contrast. Purist doctrines of linguistic correctness close off non-native sources of innovation. and power(289). 112. languagestandards are not recognized as human artifacts. 6). politics. and expressiveness of language as a valued modeof action (276:223. linguistic practice. Ideological analysis addresses questions such as how doctrines of linguistic correctness and incorrectness are rationalized or how they are related to doctrines of the inherent representational power. the selection and elaboration of a linguistic standard has stood for a complexof issues about language. but this claim has been disputed (132).beauty. Mexicano vernacular purist ideologies are deployedparadoxically to enhancethe authority of those whoare least immersedin the vernacular and most enmeshedwith the larger economy (146. The existence of a language is always a discursive project rather than an established fact (259). There moreagreementthat codified. and applied linguists (52.Annual Reviews www. Moral indignation over nonstandard forms derives from ideological associations of the standard with thc qualities valued within the culture. but are naturalized by metaphorssuch as that of the free market (172. but to specifically European forms of these institutions (35. 118. 184). In the vernacular belief systemof Westernculture.

138. In somecreoles. Not all commentators Westernideology find the oral bias on Derrida describes. arbitrary writing. 141. 60. 199. 161. 154. immediacy. Orthography In countries whereidentity and nationhoodare under negotiation. shapedby political. has brought considerable attention to ideas about the spoken and written word.266. Anthropological studies of literacy (e. Javanese do not share the viewof the original voice as the authentic (273). its introductionin oral societies or its use in schooling)recognizedbelatedly that it is not an autonomous. 96. Eventhe conceptualization of the printed wordcan differ importantly from that of the written (7. and economic forces (53. orthographic systems cannot be conceptualized simply as reducing speech to writing. and prior to the merelifeless inscriptions of alien. Thus. referential discourse as rooted in the primacyof text and the suppression of speech. but rather they are symbolsthat carry historical. 265).321).Annual Reviews www. transparency of speech and over writing (259). orthographic battles flare. neutral technology.g. 313). social. Research now emphasizes . 58. 300). crucial roles in social institutions.supporters etymologicalorthographies appeal to an historical connectionto the prestige of the colonizing language. Harris (131) argues that a scriptism foundedin European literate experience is smuggledinto the apparent oral bias of contemporary linguistic concepts. Eighteenth century Japanese elite notions of language also included a phonocentric ideology stressing the primacy. Mignolo (216) asserts that the supremacy the oral in Plato’s Phaedruswas of inverted and the ideology of the alphabetic letter was established in Renaissance Europe. from the sentence through the word to the phoneme. Those favoring a phonemicapproach argue that a moreobjective mode representing the sounds allows wider access to literof acy and helps establish the languageas respectable in its ownright (44. cultural. 56. 269. Tyler (301) sees a Western visualist ideological emphasis transparent. Evenwherenationhoodis as classically well-established as it is in France. Derrida’s (71) deconstruction of a Westernview of speech as natural.annualreviews. LITERACY Ideologies of literacy have complex relations to ideologies of speech and can play distinctive. 290-292). but rather is culturally organized. 169. including its phonologicaldescription and formsof graphic representation can be contested (226. 97. for example. and historically contingent.223. and political meanings (62.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 65 ideologies illustrate the importance of problematizing ideology rather than assuming that it can be read fromone of the other two elements. 265. ideologically grounded. authentic. every aspect of language.

Annual Reviews www. folklorists and sociolinguists whohave recorded dialects of English reveal their linguistic biases whenthey use non-standard orthography(sometimescalled eye dialect) to represent the speech of blacks and Appalachians more than that of other groups. within academic disciplines and law. In studies of child language. or the written representation of speech. which is thought to enable acquisition of valuable cargo (189). Analyses of classof roominteraction further demonstratehowimplicit expectations about written language shape discriminatory judgments about spoken language and student performance(37. In Gapun. 30. 252. printed words are not responsive to social circumstances. 60. Yekuanado not extend their view of speech to literacy. 159. sometimes altering local forms of communication fhndamental concepts of identity or (15. In contrast. 295). or ideas about the ways texts are created and are to be understood.annualreviews. Textual exegesis depends fundamentally on ideologies of language. 83. 55. 88. "fixity" in writing is the source of danger. 29. 114. 27. 246). but inscription destroys their power(122). viewsof languageas a powerful meansto transform the world are extended to literacy in Tok Pisin. 245. Contrasting approachesto locating scriptural truth can be found within the Judeo-Christianreligious tradition (170). prepared according to the court reporter’s modal of English. Composition skill training for employment as is the dirty work of English departments. Onthe other hand. 264). non-standard speakers thus appear less intelligent (82. with consequencesfor gender politics (58). In the American legal systemthe verbatim record is an idealist construction. 120. for example. The nineteenth century foundation of English as university discipline created a distinction betweenreading as aristocratic and leisurely and writing as work. 137).relies on and reinforces ideological conceptions of language(73:71. evaluated. and interpreted. Spoken words are transformative and magical. for example. 77. Given the ideology of the value of the letter. 37a. 262. It is considered . Transcription. use of standard orthography forces a literal interpretation on utterances that might otherwise be seen as objects of phonological manipulation (229). 138. For Chambri(108) and Yekuana. 215). 214a. The definition of what is and what is not literacy is always a profoundly political matter. against whichincomingspeechis filtered. Historical studies of the emergence schooled literacy and of school English showthe association between symbolically valued literate traditions and mechanisms social control (56. Maori convictions that there is an authoritative oral text capturedonly weaklyby a written treaty are an ironic Platonic counterpoint to European-originNew Zealanders’ search for a true text among multiple written translations of the treaty in whichthe governmentis rooted (208). Considerations powersignificantly affect literacy strategies.org/aronline 66 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & the diversity of ways in which communities "take up" literacy.

and social forms. there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language. 259.org/aronline LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious. but there also has been some attention to Asia (16. 123. 98. 65.281). Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. 18. Bauman noted that muchof the work was linguistically naive and not groundedin an investigation of the social and ideological significance of language in people’s ownconceptions of the nature of language and its use (22:16). 45. Since then. 67. comesfrom studies of colonialism. elite debates.and the United States. 173. 118. 281. 18. 280).225).and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283. 192. England. In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe. 283). 276. and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences.180. 69. Political conceptualizations of language rather than meditations on an autonomouslanguage dominated French and American debates in the seventeenth through the nineteenth century (8. Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. Westernstates. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire.but not if lawyers do. 145. languagebecamethe object of civil concern as newnotions of public discourse and forms of participation (and exclusion) were formulated by new participants in the public sphere (17. and colonial expressions. 94.annualreviews. An .but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were. clearly tracing the links among linguistic." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161. 218. 22. 65. Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8. ideological. 294). predominatein this literature. HISTORICAL STUDIES Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades. 94. and editing is applied accordingly(312). 12). 180.Annual Reviews www. including dominantnational ideologies. 106. The nineteenth century debate over language in the United States essentially was a fight over what kind of personality was needed to sustain democracy (50). 126. and particularly France. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14. 313). Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology. 219. whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1).

Perceived linguistic structure can always have political meaningin the colonial encounter. As with manyother colonial phenomena. Of particular . 177. the and role of linguistic ideas in specific social struggles (cf 227). as Fabian (89) gues for Swahili and Harries (130) for Tsonga. for example. cf 224). and translations of the languagesof India created the discourse of Orientalism and converted Indian forms of knowledgeinto European objects (54:282-283.see also 166. Historiography of Linguistics The close intertwining of public and scholarly conceptualizations of language in the Westand its colonies through the nineteenth century leads directly to critical studies of Western philosophy of language and of the emergenceof professional linguistics (1. But somework seeks to capture the contradictions and interactions of the two (59.org/aronline 68 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & indigenous vernacular might be selected.and language guides.muchof this historical research has explored the linguistic ideologies of colonizers rather than of indigenous populations. Becauseof the availability of documents. dictionaries.showing different political interests behindtranslation for the the Spanish and indigenous Filipinos (247). 98). therefore. Contributors to Joseph &Taylor’s collection (173) examineintellectual as well as political prejudices that framedthe growthof linguistic theory. thoughthemselvesshifting in different historical moments.Annual Reviews www. 248). 216). demonstrating that what was conceived as a neutral scientific endeavorwas very much political one (248). a In what Mignolo (216) calls the colonization of language. Europeans brought to their tasks ideas about language prevalent in the metropole. linguists constructed rather than discovered distinctive varieties (166). of indigenousmindor civilization was often alleged to justify Europeantutelage (89). Europeanmissionization and colonization of other continents entailed control of speakers and their vernaculars. blinkered them to indigenous conceptualizations and sociolinguistic arrangements (165. 128.204. and these ideas. 216. The structure and focus of a seventeenth century instructional manualon Castilian written by a Tagalogprinter contrast sharply with Spanish missionaries’ grammars of Tagalog.annualreviews. Functional or formal inadequacy of indigenous languages and. grammars.to protect the language of the colonizers from non-nativeversions considereddistasteful (272). a sixteenth century grammar asserted that Quechua so similar to Latin and Castilian that it was "like a was prediction that the Spaniardswill possess it" (216:305. 260). Cohn argues that British grammars. from Lockethrough Saussure to Chomsky. Tonganmetapragmaticsof speech levels indicate a reanalysis of society that incorporates European-derivedinstitutional complexesinto Tonganconstructions of social hierarchy (240). Recentresearch on colonial linguistic description and translation has addressed the ideological dimension dictionof aries. 45. Onthe other hand.

seeing in the theory a manifestation of guilt for the savage destruction of American Indians. Although ideas paralleled those of Bakhtin. cf 68. 131. 235). Moreanthropologically-oriented linguistics also has been analyzed ideologically. 125. modem linguistics has generally held that linguistic ideology and prescriptive normshave little significant--or. 67. 157.to alter the languagesystem. Sankoff (261) argues contemporary positivist linguistic methodologies that invoke a scientific rationale are imposedideologically by the sameinterests that propagate normativism and prescripfivism. but many authors argue that this rejection hides a smuggled dependence and complicity with prescriptive institutions for the on very subject matter of the field. Important sociolinguistic changescan be set off by ideological interpretation of languageuse. but it does have an effect. only pemicious-~effect on speech forms (although they mayhave someless negligible effect on writing) (35. 132). Prescriptivism does not directly transformlanguage. 92. and/or nationalist projects (65. Professional. Whorf to first convincehis his had audiencethat linguistic censorshipexisted. IDEOLOGY. consciously or unconsciously. class.Annual Reviews www. cf 84. 151). 227). although because they derive only from a larger social dialectic. Attridge suggests that Saussure sees language as open to external change by humanly uncontrollableforces. paradoxically. Attridge (11) deconstmcts Saussure’s linguistics hostile to and suppressing evidence that the languageuser and language communityintervene. A number studies of the nineteenth century showhowphilolof ogy and emerging linguistics contributed to religious. but rejects the influence of history as intellectual construct. Silverstein argues that a grasp of languageideologyis essential for understandingthe evolution of linguistic structure (276:220). Rossi-Landi (256) critiques linguistic relativism as bourgeoisideology. Rather than registering a unitary language. the concept of diglossia has been criticized as an ideological naturalization of sociolinguistic arrangements (205a). linguists helped to form one (66:48. The idealism of linguistic relativity transforms linguistic producers into consumers.320. such changesare likely to take an unintendeddirec~ . scientific linguistics in the twentieth century has nearly uniformlyrejected prescfiptivism. 173.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 69 relevance to our topic. CHANGE LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE. AND LANGUAGE Asnoted earlier. The idealism of modem autonomous linguistics has comeunder concerted ideological scrutiny (37. Schultz (268) argues that contradictory strategies in Whorf’s writings arose response to the constraint of the Americantblk ideology of free speech. andenablesthe illusion that the theoretical exhibitionof the stl-uctures of a languagesaves the world view of the extinct linguistic workers(cf 57.annualreviews. 181). For example.

T/V pronounshift. To the extent that speakers conceptualize language as socially purposive action. and Javanese speech levels. it is morecontroversial to invoke a notion of native speaker awareness as an explanatory link. are not arbitrary and that they suggest the mediationof ideological conceptualizations of linguistic structures. leads speakers to makegeneralizations that they then imposeon a broader category of phenomena. such as inversion. He argues that subconscious changes are extensive and systematic. 261). importantly.240).a self a that is most distinctive fromits socially dominant counterpart. Silverstein showsthat rationalization not only explains but actually affects linguistic structure. as in the historical case of secondperson pronoun shift in English. someof whichare more available to consciousreflection than are others. 129. Speakersof moribundvarieties of Xinca. In analyses of gender in English. for example. distorting language in the name of making morelike itself (37. or rationalizes it by makingit moreregular. Structure conditions ideology.annualreviews. in this case. Becausesuch awareness and use drive linguistic change. Labovdifferentiates mechanisms change from below of and above the level of speakers’ awareness. participant-orientedanalysis (86). 162. 212). subordinate languages in contact situations can acquire both functional and formal properties of anti-languages. whichthen (see reinforces and expandsthe original structure.go "hog-wild"with glottalized consonants.function. But several authors note that correlational sociolinguistic models gloss over the actual motivatingforce of linguistic change. Imperfect. Morepragmatically salient classes of variables are recognizedby speakers as crucial linguistic mediators of social relations. leads to sporadic and haphazardeffects on linguistic forms (190:329). these variables require a fundamentally different. This is a Silversteinian distortion that makes codemorelike itself. while conscious self-correction. 209. whichare exotic from the point of view of the dominantSpanish language(48). Irvinc (162) notes that the formal linguistic characteristics of Hallidayan anti-languages. it Errington(86) observesthat althoughit is standard in sociolinguistic analysis to look for relations betweenstructural change and communicative function. To understand one’s ownlinguistic usage is potentially to change it (275:233). . 258). limited awarenessof linguistic structures. which he labels ideology. and speakers’ awarenessmakesthese variables more susceptible to rationalization and strategic use (85. whichoften lies in social evaluations of language(85. Similarly. we must look at their ideas about the meaning. which may not be mediated by speakers’ understandings of their conscious communicative projects.org/aronline 70 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & tion.Annual Reviews www. changing those phenomena also 181). Erfington (86) argues that Labov’s generalization is most applicable phonological variation. and value of languagein order to understand the extent and degree of systematicity in empirically occuringlinguistic forms (cf 47.

and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. 201. more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. is widelyattested (32. 258. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40. 181." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process. 277).. not a possession. Hill (147) describes a counter-hegemonic ideology of language amongMexicanowomen that emphasizes not reference but performance and the proper accomplishment human of relationships through dialogue.278). A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139. 112..org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages. Wherecasual generalization contrasts English and Frenchlinguistic attitudes as if they wereunitbrmcultural attributes inhering at the state and individual level. German speakers in Hungary frame language and identity differently at different moments. nowtreating it as a process involving struggles amongmultiple conceptualizations and demandingthe recognition of variation and contestation within a community well as contradictions within as individuals (104. linguistic . CONCLUSION It is paradoxical that at the same time that language and discourse have become central topics across the social sciences and humanities. See reference 151for further discussion. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference. especially English.annualreviews.or by Puerto Ricans (304).249). 250. English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans. 275. domesticated audience.. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105).. a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote. 220. 274.Annual Reviews www.the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher.addressing a quiet. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function. 237. 162. 57. 308).by black Americans. 41). that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures. 279. which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things.212.

BambiSchieffelin thanks Paul Garrett for bibliographic assistance and Molly . gender. relating notions of linguistic ideology as rooted in linguistic structure and cognitive limitations to understandings of ideologyas rooted in social practices and interests (258:356). and tradition (104). grammar. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Wethank Susan Gal for encouragementto write this essay. personal communication).org/aronline 72 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & anthropologists have bemoaned marginalization of the subdiscipline from the the larger field of anthropology. questions of free speech and harassment.Annual Reviews www.It is the attempt to link these two aspects of ideology. But our professional attention has only begun to turn to understanding whenand howthose links are forged--whether by lay participants or their expert analysts--and what theft consequences might be for linguistic and social life.annualreviews. and purism has begun the difficult program considering whoseinterests are served by linguistic ideolof ogy taking the form that it does. and to tie social and linguistic forms together through ideology. Examplesfrom the headlines of United States newspapersinclude bilingual policy and the official English movement. Natasha Unger. Coming to grips with such public issues means coming to grips with the nature and working of language ideology. Many populations around the word. confronting macrosocial constraints on language behavior (P Kroskrity. A wealth of public problems hinge on language ideology. development. KathrynWoolard grateful to the is National Endowment for the Humanities and the Spencer Foundation for support while preparing the review. and Begofia Echeverria. because it relates the microculture of communicative action to political economicconsiderations of powerand social inequality. The topic of language ideology is a muchneeded bridge between linguistic and social theory. in multifarious ways. and the question of journalists’ responsibilities and the truthful representation of direct speech. spelling. the meaningof multiculturalism in schools and texts. intentionality. power. whohelped with bibliographic work in various stages. posit fundamental linkages among such apparently diverse cultural categories as language. that is both most provocative and most challenging. Research on topics such as pronouns. politeness. authenticity. simplicity. is also a potential means It deepening a somefimcssuperficial understanding of linguistic form and its cultural variability in political economic studies of discourse. Wealso wish to thank participants in the session on Language Ideologies at the 1991American Anthropological Association Meeting and membersof the Center for Transcultural Studies WorkingGroup on Language. knowledge. the exclusion of jurors whomight rely on their ownnativespeaker understanding of non-English testimony.nation. and to Alex Halkias. Their research and conversations helped shape our vision of the field.

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