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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.

together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255).198. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology.Annual Reviews www. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination.annualreviews. 327). A second division is the siting of ideology. 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. 203. but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164). 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. 78. Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258). Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9. 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). and social domination. Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. 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. In critical studies of ideology.258). For Silverstein. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346). 31.This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class. 100. but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference.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. as Silverstcin . their social-cognitive function. Whilemetalinguistic discourse. The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation. Rather. Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself.155.does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies. discourse. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term. 298.

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

annualreviews. values and attitudes. historiography of linguistics and public discourse on language. 178. 186. 303). 242). disputes (38. Our bibliography is a representative samplingof the research done in these areas. conflict management (253. 262. see also 23. ETHNOGRAPHY OF SPEAKING The ethnographyof speaking has long given attention to ideology as neutral. varying in the social and linguistic themes they foreground. a privatized view of language emphasizing the psychological state of the speaker while downplayingthe social consequences of speech (308:22. 138b. 210. rethought profitably in relation to the concernsoutlined above. and also the foundationof aesthetics in such areas as music(90). The ethnography speaking was chartered to study ways of speaking from the point of view of events. and numerous ethnographic challenges to the key assumptionsof speech act theory (74. but rather as "orienting frameworks. 231-234. Languageideology has been madeincreasingly explicit as a force shaping the understanding of verbal practices (21. or on contexts and institutions wouldmakea different contribution. 121. 43). but Hymes (158) suggestedthat an alternative focus beliefs.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 59 studies. Ethnographersof speaking have studied the groundingof language beliefs in other cultural and social forms. Ethnographersof Pacific . research on metapragmatic universals (309. and in the institutions and interests to whichthey are fled. 310). This recognition triggered taxonomicstudies of conceptualizations of speech acts in specific linguistic communities (308. but which we believe can be. primarily through description of vernacular speech taxonomies and metalinguistics (24. 196).315). 91. 150.languagesocialization studies have demonstrated connections among folk theories of language acquisition. To illustrate some the social of variation in conceptionsof language. and sets of expectations" (128:670. and metapragmatics and linguistic structure.284). 187. 221). 46. cultural conceptionsof language. interpretive procedures. cf 244.Annual Reviews www. Speechact theory is groundedin an English linguistic ideology. For example. and key cultural ideas about personhood (49. linguistic practices. 217. There are manyconnections among these. 272. 275). 138. The eventual critical response of the ethnography of speaking (158) speech act theory (13. Local conceptions of talk as self-reflexive action have been explored for a variety of genres such as oratory (210). but the worktends to form different conversations. 188. 255. 116. This alternative enterprise has been taken up more recently. 318). 63. 267. 42. 270) stimulated thought about linguistic ideology. we reach back to earlier studies that werenot conceived in the frame of ideological analysis. Genres are nowviewednot as sets of discourse features. acts. and styles.

292a). 87. 302). 314). again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology. 235). 171. 243. 51. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64.Annual Reviews www. 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. COMPETITION. 4. 232). 76. 118. 179. movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or .because it addressed a more formal. 305.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. see discussion of purismbelow. 69. politically. LANGUAGE CONTACT. 127. ideological construct (61. AND POLITICS Research on self-conscious struggles over language in class-stratified and especially multilingual communitieshas treated language ideologies as socially. 277). 238. conscious. challenges multilingual states. 299. and/or linguistically significant. and politically strategic form of ideology. 143. Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146. 32. Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development. the strategic deployment honorifics (3). As is tree of cultural anthropology in general.org/aronline 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103). 61. 323. 175. Ironically. Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background. 95. and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187. It is a truism that the equation of languageand nation is a historical. 115.160. the regulation of of marriage choices (167). ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses.325). but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41). conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. 140.annualreviews. 163. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. 230. 307. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics.) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26.319. 84. 188. 317. The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. 28. 202. 176. 201). 254.

Annual Reviews www. 195. 120. Endogenous variation in Quechua. 32.and intra-lingual variation oJ~ddevisinga migrationhistory for a particular caste to match their linguistic difference. Language varieties that are regularly associated with (and thus index) particular speakers are often revalorized---or misrecognized(37)--not just symbols groupidentity. 302).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 61 suppression (5. 149. Although validity of the nationalist ideologyof languagehas often been the debated or debunked.285. Modern linguistic theory itself has been seen as framedand constrained by the one language/one people assumption (194). 6. Where linguistic variation appears to be simply a diagramof social differentiation. Mannheim (204) also notes different cultural ideologies of different kinds of linguistic variation in southern Peru. 168. which is regarded as pure artifice. although traditional or emergent views that resist this hegemonic construction have been documented (10. 326). which is seen simply as natural human speech. the analyst needsto identify the ideological production of that diagram(162). 79. 306). the Westerninsistence on the authenticity and moral significance of the mothertongue. In this case. is not socially evaluated by speakers. Irvine (162) finds that Wolof villagers construelinguistic differentiation as iconically related to social differentiation. 238. 72. But in Spanish. The equation of one language/onepeople. the intrapersonal attitude can be recast as a socially-derived intellectualized or be- . 57. linguistic ideology drives linguistic changealong different paths. 206. 282).277. 206. 325). phonological markers and stereotypes are common lead to hypercorrection amongsecand ond-languagespeakers. 176. of of intellectual. 105. or moral worth (37. 169.annualreviews. particularly in settings wheremultilingualismis moretypical and where a fluid or complex linguistic repertoire is valued (10. Althoughthe extensive body of research on linguistic prestige and language attitudes grew up in a social psychological framework(109). Recentstudies of languagepolitics have begunto examine specifically the content and signifying structure of nationalist language ideologies (127. 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. 80. 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). and associated assumptions about the importanceof purist language loyalty for the maintenance of minority languages have all been criticized as ideological red herrings. 207. 273. Researchers have distinguished language as index of group identity from language as a metalinguistically created symbol of identity. 102. distinguishinginter. moreexplicitly ideologized in discourse (105. 277. 305). 194. 101. Here wesee how linguistic ideologycan affect the interpretation of social relations. but as emblems political allegiance or of social.

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

and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111. At an even more fundamentallevel. to perennial status as underdeveloped (32. 110). 216.Such beliefs. for example. revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25. 235. have contributed to profounddecisions about. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities. 19. 57. 87. 285. 135). and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved.and underlyingthese beliefs. Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2.288). 191. enter into strategies of social domination. 287). Language mixing. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language. cf 329). pluralism. . codeswitching.228. the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80). with paradoxical is ideological implications that condemn languages.or right (see also 152). Gapunparents blame their children’s dissatisfaction and aggressionas the roots of the loss of the vernacular (187). like societies. 139. 18.Annual Reviews www. 136. and internationalization (4. named. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. 118.annualreviews. Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource. problem. 68. Grammatical variability and. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211). 166. 33. 201). They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37. 120.322. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. 127. 165. and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language(263. 120. rules for word formation.betweenEnglandand France (65.265). 236).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular. 51). 204. 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). 251. lexical elaboration. 174. vernacularization. and commentators bilingual and immigranteducation have noted on such orientations conflated within these programs(117. The model development pervasive in post-colonial language planning.the civility or even the humanityof subjects of colonial domination (93.and counted. 224. Written form. for example.

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

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

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

and the United States. An . 45. Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. 18. and particularly France. England. 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. 65. clearly tracing the links among linguistic.281). 218. 123." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious. 294). comesfrom studies of colonialism. 219. In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe. 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). 281. Political conceptualizations of language rather than meditations on an autonomouslanguage dominated French and American debates in the seventeenth through the nineteenth century (8. and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences. and colonial expressions. 12). 67. 106. 259. 94. 69. 145. and social forms. 313). Westernstates. Since then.and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283. 283).but not if lawyers do. 192. 280). 18. 118. including dominantnational ideologies. but there also has been some attention to Asia (16. elite debates.but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were. 126. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire. ideological. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14.225). 173. 180. 22. HISTORICAL STUDIES Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades. whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1). there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language. predominatein this literature. 98. 65. 276. 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). Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8.annualreviews. Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. and editing is applied accordingly(312). 94.org/aronline LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically.180. Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology.Annual Reviews www.

and language guides. therefore. Functional or formal inadequacy of indigenous languages and. a In what Mignolo (216) calls the colonization of language. 216). blinkered them to indigenous conceptualizations and sociolinguistic arrangements (165. Europeans brought to their tasks ideas about language prevalent in the metropole.showing different political interests behindtranslation for the the Spanish and indigenous Filipinos (247). 177. 128. 98). Cohn argues that British grammars.muchof this historical research has explored the linguistic ideologies of colonizers rather than of indigenous populations.see also 166.Annual Reviews www. Europeanmissionization and colonization of other continents entailed control of speakers and their vernaculars. cf 224).org/aronline 68 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & indigenous vernacular might be selected. 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. As with manyother colonial phenomena.to protect the language of the colonizers from non-nativeversions considereddistasteful (272). and these ideas. from Lockethrough Saussure to Chomsky. dictionaries. linguists constructed rather than discovered distinctive varieties (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. Becauseof the availability of documents. thoughthemselvesshifting in different historical moments. Perceived linguistic structure can always have political meaningin the colonial encounter. 248). Onthe other hand. 45. But somework seeks to capture the contradictions and interactions of the two (59.annualreviews. and translations of the languagesof India created the discourse of Orientalism and converted Indian forms of knowledgeinto European objects (54:282-283. Contributors to Joseph &Taylor’s collection (173) examineintellectual as well as political prejudices that framedthe growthof linguistic theory. Of particular . Recentresearch on colonial linguistic description and translation has addressed the ideological dimension dictionof aries. grammars. the and role of linguistic ideas in specific social struggles (cf 227). of indigenousmindor civilization was often alleged to justify Europeantutelage (89). for example. 260). 216. Tonganmetapragmaticsof speech levels indicate a reanalysis of society that incorporates European-derivedinstitutional complexesinto Tonganconstructions of social hierarchy (240).204. as Fabian (89) gues for Swahili and Harries (130) for Tsonga. The structure and focus of a seventeenth century instructional manualon Castilian written by a Tagalogprinter contrast sharply with Spanish missionaries’ grammars of Tagalog. demonstrating that what was conceived as a neutral scientific endeavorwas very much political one (248).

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

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

41). Wherecasual generalization contrasts English and Frenchlinguistic attitudes as if they wereunitbrmcultural attributes inhering at the state and individual level. English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans.. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures.. 258. more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. 57. 237. A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language.278). which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things.Annual Reviews www. 308). a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105). CONCLUSION It is paradoxical that at the same time that language and discourse have become central topics across the social sciences and humanities. 181. 250.. German speakers in Hungary frame language and identity differently at different moments..the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher. is widelyattested (32. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40.212. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function. that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. 279.by black Americans. See reference 151for further discussion. 201. not a possession. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference. linguistic . 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.addressing a quiet. VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process. 162.or by Puerto Ricans (304). 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. 277). 112. and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. especially English. 275.249). 274.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages.annualreviews. domesticated audience. 220.

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

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