Annual Reviews www.annualreviews.
Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1994. 23:55-82 Copyright © 1994by AnnualReviewsInc. All rights reserved
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,
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.
A second division is the siting of ideology. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255). The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology. 100.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 57 must decide what counts as language. Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. their social-cognitive function. Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258). 78. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346).Annual Reviews www.155.198. The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term. but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164). Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. the point is to focus the attention of anthropologicalscholars of languageon the ideological dimension. 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). 327). Whilemetalinguistic discourse. In critical studies of ideology. pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies.This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class. 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. Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9. as Silverstcin
. 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.annualreviews. 31. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself.does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination.258). For Silverstein. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition. Rather. 298. 203. discourse. and social domination. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics. 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.
and interest-laden (151:382). 78. from unconscious ideology read from speech practices by analysts to the most conscious native-speaker explanations of appropriate language behavior. 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. influential theorists haveseen it as behavioral. that is.is a view of ideologyas rooted in or responsive to the experience of a particular social position. makingit seemuniversally and/or timelessly true.an overlay of secondary and tertiary responses (34. literacy
. contestable and contested. Althoughideology in general is often taken as explicitly discursive. but the reconceptualization implies a methodologicalstance (279). A naturalizing move that drains the conceptual its historical content. or structural. 241). politics of multilingualism. difficult to elicit directly. Nonetheless.Annual Reviews www. that escapes groundingin social life (205). The emphasisof ideological analysis on the social and experiential origins of systemsof signification counters this naturalization of the cultural. and what makesthe term useful in spite of its problems. the term ideology reminds us that the cultural conceptionswe study are partial. 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. But several methodologicaltraditions and topical loci have encouragedattention to cultural conceptions of language. 36). pre-reflective. Rumsey’s "commonsensenotions" (258) and Heath’s "self-evident ideas" (135) maywell unstated assumptionsof cultural orthodoxy. 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. including the scientific. possibly intriguing but relatively inconsequential for the fundamentalquestions of both anthropology and linguistics. Analertness to the different sites of ideology may resolve someapparent controversies over its relevance to the explanation of social or linguistic phenomena. 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).annualreviews. Wereview work in several areas: ethnographyof speaking.org/aronline 58 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
suggested. is often seen as key to ideological process. in whichanthropology ironically has participated (9). APPROACHES TO LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
Languageideology has been received principally as an epiphenomenon. an organization of signifying practices not in consciousnessbut in lived relations (see 78 for a review). is a sufficient condition for identifying ideology. What most researchers share.
210. 150. and key cultural ideas about personhood (49. This recognition triggered taxonomicstudies of conceptualizations of speech acts in specific linguistic communities (308. 270) stimulated thought about linguistic ideology. 121. 188. varying in the social and linguistic themes they foreground.
The ethnographyof speaking has long given attention to ideology as neutral. research on metapragmatic universals (309. 262. but which we believe can be. and numerous ethnographic challenges to the key assumptionsof speech act theory (74. 42. Languageideology has been madeincreasingly explicit as a force shaping the understanding of verbal practices (21. 187. and in the institutions and interests to whichthey are fled. see also 23. or on contexts and institutions wouldmakea different contribution. interpretive procedures. a privatized view of language emphasizing the psychological state of the speaker while downplayingthe social consequences of speech (308:22. 63. Ethnographersof speaking have studied the groundingof language beliefs in other cultural and social forms. 318). 196). 186. There are manyconnections among these. values and attitudes. rethought profitably in relation to the concernsoutlined above. To illustrate some the social of variation in conceptionsof language. 116.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 59 studies. cf 244. we reach back to earlier studies that werenot conceived in the frame of ideological analysis. 272.Annual Reviews www. 275). 46. 138b.315). 178.annualreviews. 43). conflict management (253. Genres are nowviewednot as sets of discourse features. and sets of expectations" (128:670. 310). cultural conceptionsof language. Local conceptions of talk as self-reflexive action have been explored for a variety of genres such as oratory (210). 231-234. The eventual critical response of the ethnography of speaking (158) speech act theory (13. and styles. and also the foundationof aesthetics in such areas as music(90). 267. 138. 255. but the worktends to form different conversations. 217. This alternative enterprise has been taken up more recently. The ethnography speaking was chartered to study ways of speaking from the point of view of events. 221). 242). linguistic practices. primarily through description of vernacular speech taxonomies and metalinguistics (24. but Hymes (158) suggestedthat an alternative focus beliefs. Our bibliography is a representative samplingof the research done in these areas. acts. Speechact theory is groundedin an English linguistic ideology. 91. 303). but rather as "orienting frameworks. historiography of linguistics and public discourse on language. disputes (38. and metapragmatics and linguistic structure. Ethnographersof Pacific
.284). For example.languagesocialization studies have demonstrated connections among folk theories of language acquisition.
115. conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism. ideological construct (61. 179.because it addressed a more formal. and politically strategic form of ideology. Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103). 127. 95.org/aronline 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. 277). 28. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. 175. but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41). 87. the strategic deployment honorifics (3).) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26. politically. 323. 299. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. 176. challenges multilingual states. 232). 32. Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development.160. see discussion of purismbelow. 140. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics. LANGUAGE CONTACT. 202. 84.325). 314).annualreviews.Annual Reviews www. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. the regulation of of marriage choices (167). 69. 230. 254. 143. 302). 4. conscious. 317. 201). and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187. Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146. 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.319. 235). The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology. 163.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. As is tree of cultural anthropology in general. 305. movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or
. COMPETITION. 51. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64. 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. 76. Ironically. 188. 238. 292a). 61. ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses. 118. 171. and/or linguistically significant. 307. 243. Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background.
Recentstudies of languagepolitics have begunto examine specifically the content and signifying structure of nationalist language ideologies (127. 277. linguistic ideology drives linguistic changealong different paths. 206. 120. But in Spanish.Annual Reviews www. Mannheim (204) also notes different cultural ideologies of different kinds of linguistic variation in southern Peru.285. Modern linguistic theory itself has been seen as framedand constrained by the one language/one people assumption (194). Language varieties that are regularly associated with (and thus index) particular speakers are often revalorized---or misrecognized(37)--not just symbols groupidentity. which is seen simply as natural human speech. 325). 80. Irvine (162) finds that Wolof villagers construelinguistic differentiation as iconically related to social differentiation. but as emblems political allegiance or of social. 195. 326). 105. Although validity of the nationalist ideologyof languagehas often been the debated or debunked. although traditional or emergent views that resist this hegemonic construction have been documented (10. 194. 169.and intra-lingual variation oJ~ddevisinga migrationhistory for a particular caste to match their linguistic difference. of of intellectual. 282). 102. phonological markers and stereotypes are common lead to hypercorrection amongsecand ond-languagespeakers. Where linguistic variation appears to be simply a diagramof social differentiation. Althoughthe extensive body of research on linguistic prestige and language attitudes grew up in a social psychological framework(109). 149. or moral worth (37. the Westerninsistence on the authenticity and moral significance of the mothertongue. which is regarded as pure artifice. 57. the intrapersonal attitude can be recast as a socially-derived intellectualized or be-
. 176. Here wesee how linguistic ideologycan affect the interpretation of social relations. 168. 79. particularly in settings wheremultilingualismis moretypical and where a fluid or complex linguistic repertoire is valued (10.annualreviews. 238. and associated assumptions about the importanceof purist language loyalty for the maintenance of minority languages have all been criticized as ideological red herrings. 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). Endogenous variation in Quechua. is not socially evaluated by speakers. 302). distinguishinginter. 305).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 61 suppression (5. Researchers have distinguished language as index of group identity from language as a metalinguistically created symbol of identity. 206.277. 6. the analyst needsto identify the ideological production of that diagram(162). 72. 273. 306). The equation of one language/onepeople. 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. 207. 32. In this case. moreexplicitly ideologized in discourse (105. 101.
Annual Reviews www. The current proand gramof research is to address both the semiotic and the social process. 144. Moreover. and policy (120. style-switching. automatic reflex of the social experienceof multilingualismin whichit is rooted.Nova Scotian parents actively discour-
. However. 197. 325. ostensibly posiof tive. cognition. Suchmeaningsaffect patterns of language acquisition. Whether a code is a language or not depends on whether its speakers act like speakers of Javanese. 326). it makesits own contribution as an interpretive filter in the relationship of languageand society (211). in a representation of and comment ethnolinguistic difon ferences and their role in unequal relations. For example. 328). learning to translate (into high Javanese from low) is the essence of becoming true adult a and a real languagespeaker. simply asserting that struggles over language are really about racism does not constitute analysis. and social fife. The commodification ethnolinguistic stereotypes.200. change. refiguring and incorporatinglinguistic structures in waysthat reveal linguistic and social ideologies (146). 193. 219. and Siegel (273) argues that Javanese metaphorically incorporates foreign languagesinto itself by treating other languagesas if they were low Javanese.annualreviews. Linguistic ideology is not a predictable. The appropriation of creole speech. 311. In the Javaneseview. symbolic revalorization often makesdiscrimination on linguistic groundspublicly acceptable. shift. commodifled). is in tension with black adolescent views of these codes as part of their distinctive identity (143). 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. commodity identity. music. The failure to transmit vernaculars intergenerationally maybe rationalized in various ways. 251). whereasthe corresponding ethnic or racial discriminationis not (156.whosee only matters of style (again.org/aronline 62 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
havioral ideology (Bourdieu’s habitus) (37. Encounterswith the languages of others maytrigger recognition of the opacity of language and concern for delineating and characterizing a distinctive community language (259). Linguistic borrowing might appear superficially indicate speakers’ high regard for the donor language. 251. 119. 324. Communities only evaluate but mayappropriate somepart of the linnot guistic resources of groups with whom they are in contact and in tension. dependingon howspeakers conceptualize the links of language. 153. 149. 107. 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. and dress by white adolescents in South London. is also seen in the use of foreign languagesin Japanesetelevision advertising (124). Basso(20) classically describes a WesternApache metalinguistic joking genre that uses English to parody"Whiteman" conversational pragmatics.
287). 224.322. have contributed to profounddecisions about. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource.
. Language mixing.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities.288). 251. 18. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language.and counted. 127. 68. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation. for example. and internationalization (4. They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37. 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). 174. At an even more fundamentallevel. lexical elaboration. 285. 201).betweenEnglandand France (65. and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular.265).Annual Reviews www. 216. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. codeswitching. the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80). Written form. 120. pluralism. 166. 19. 57. 135). 87. 165. and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language(263. and commentators bilingual and immigranteducation have noted on such orientations conflated within these programs(117. 204.and underlyingthese beliefs. cf 329). problem. 118. to perennial status as underdeveloped (32. like societies. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211).228. 139.Such beliefs.or right (see also 152). 120. revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25. enter into strategies of social domination. 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). for example. 235.annualreviews.
Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2. 191. 110). 136. Grammatical variability and. 33.the civility or even the humanityof subjects of colonial domination (93. named. The model development pervasive in post-colonial language planning. rules for word formation. vernacularization. and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111. 51). 236).
languagestandards are not recognized as human artifacts. the selection and elaboration of a linguistic standard has stood for a complexof issues about language. In contrast.org/aronline 64 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & STANDARDIZATION. 277. 65. 293).annualreviews.Annual Reviews www. and purist
. 112. superposedstandard languages are tied not only to writing and its associated hegemonic institutions. but are naturalized by metaphorssuch as that of the free market (172. Moral indignation over nonstandard forms derives from ideological associations of the standard with thc qualities valued within the culture. SomeSpanish loanwords sound more authentic to non-elite members of the Gallego speech community Spain. with the concept of standard treated more as ideological process than as empirical linguistic fact (16.
DOCTRINES OF CORRECTNESS. but the emphasison the ideological dimensionhas given rise to new analyses of languagestandardization (172). 118. 145. an ideologyof the sanctity languagein an ultraorthodox Jewish community leads to the restriction of the Hebrew language to sacred contexts (113).172. 286). 6). The linguistic effects of purismarc not predictable. 276:241. There moreagreementthat codified. its social meaningand strategic use are not transparent (99. but usually selectively. but to specifically European forms of these institutions (35. 194. 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. politics. 172. Standard languages and/or their formation had been studied earlier by philologists. targeting only languages construed as threats (316. 183. PragueSchool functional linguists. 149). 277). Such complex relations among social position. 184). and expressiveness of language as a valued modeof action (276:223. 171). 18). An apparently purist linguistic conservatism among Tewamaydethe rive not from resistance to contact phenomena all. linguistic practice. 219. Notions of better and worse speech have been claimed to exist in every linguistic community (35). In the vernacular belief systemof Westernculture. The existence of a language is always a discursive project rather than an established fact (259). Purist doctrines of linguistic correctness close off non-native sources of innovation. but this claim has been disputed (132). whodissociate themselves from the in linguistically pure forms that smackof institutional minority politics (5. and power(289). AND PURISM
Since Dante’s time. and similarly. cf 142. such as clarity or truthfulness (70. 132. 96. 134).beauty. but from the strength of at theocratic institutions and of ritual linguistic forms as modelsfor other domainsof interaction (182. and applied linguists (52. Mexicano vernacular purist ideologies are deployedparadoxically to enhancethe authority of those whoare least immersedin the vernacular and most enmeshedwith the larger economy (146. 131. 219). 297).
In somecreoles. Evenwherenationhoodis as classically well-established as it is in France. Orthography In countries whereidentity and nationhoodare under negotiation. 96. Eighteenth century Japanese elite notions of language also included a phonocentric ideology stressing the primacy. and economic forces (53. 56. 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. Harris (131) argues that a scriptism foundedin European literate experience is smuggledinto the apparent oral bias of contemporary linguistic concepts.g. cultural.223. social. Eventhe conceptualization of the printed wordcan differ importantly from that of the written (7. 313). Research now emphasizes
. Javanese do not share the viewof the original voice as the authentic (273). ideologically grounded. crucial roles in social institutions. but rather they are symbolsthat carry historical. neutral technology. but rather is culturally organized.annualreviews. 141.supporters etymologicalorthographies appeal to an historical connectionto the prestige of the colonizing language. 265. referential discourse as rooted in the primacyof text and the suppression of speech. 290-292).Annual Reviews www. Derrida’s (71) deconstruction of a Westernview of speech as natural. from the sentence through the word to the phoneme. 265). 161. orthographic battles flare. and political meanings (62. its introductionin oral societies or its use in schooling)recognizedbelatedly that it is not an autonomous. 60.266. Tyler (301) sees a Western visualist ideological emphasis transparent. 269. 58. 199. immediacy. 169. orthographic systems cannot be conceptualized simply as reducing speech to writing. 97. Not all commentators Westernideology find the oral bias on Derrida describes. and historically contingent. Thus. LITERACY Ideologies of literacy have complex relations to ideologies of speech and can play distinctive. Anthropological studies of literacy (e. 300). 138. for example.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. and prior to the merelifeless inscriptions of alien. 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. authentic. including its phonologicaldescription and formsof graphic representation can be contested (226. has brought considerable attention to ideas about the spoken and written word. 154. arbitrary writing. every aspect of language. shapedby political.321). transparency of speech and over writing (259).
relies on and reinforces ideological conceptions of language(73:71. "fixity" in writing is the source of danger. with consequencesfor gender politics (58). 60.annualreviews. Analyses of classof roominteraction further demonstratehowimplicit expectations about written language shape discriminatory judgments about spoken language and student performance(37. It is considered
. viewsof languageas a powerful meansto transform the world are extended to literacy in Tok Pisin. 55. prepared according to the court reporter’s modal of English.Annual Reviews www. evaluated. 120. 30. 29. 245. 214a. or ideas about the ways texts are created and are to be understood. for example. and interpreted. but inscription destroys their power(122). 252. In the American legal systemthe verbatim record is an idealist construction. 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). non-standard speakers thus appear less intelligent (82. In contrast. 137). 215). Spoken words are transformative and magical. 246). sometimes altering local forms of communication fhndamental concepts of identity or (15. 264). 37a. printed words are not responsive to social circumstances. Transcription. The nineteenth century foundation of English as university discipline created a distinction betweenreading as aristocratic and leisurely and writing as work. 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. For Chambri(108) and Yekuana. for example. 295). 88. 77. In Gapun. 114. Considerations powersignificantly affect literacy strategies. Historical studies of the emergence schooled literacy and of school English showthe association between symbolically valued literate traditions and mechanisms social control (56. The definition of what is and what is not literacy is always a profoundly political matter. Contrasting approachesto locating scriptural truth can be found within the Judeo-Christianreligious tradition (170). 262. against whichincomingspeechis filtered. 83. In studies of child language. Textual exegesis depends fundamentally on ideologies of language. 159. or the written representation of speech. which is thought to enable acquisition of valuable cargo (189). within academic disciplines and law. Composition skill training for employment as is the dirty work of English departments. Given the ideology of the value of the letter. use of standard orthography forces a literal interpretation on utterances that might otherwise be seen as objects of phonological manipulation (229).org/aronline 66 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
the diversity of ways in which communities "take up" literacy. 138. Yekuanado not extend their view of speech to literacy. Onthe other hand. 27.
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). elite debates.but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were. 145. 173. comesfrom studies of colonialism. Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. 218. ideological. 94. 259. 98. 18. In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe. 276. there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language.but not if lawyers do. England. and editing is applied accordingly(312). 192.and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283. 45. 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). Since then. Political conceptualizations of language rather than meditations on an autonomouslanguage dominated French and American debates in the seventeenth through the nineteenth century (8. 281. 106. whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1). 18. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious. 123. 12). 280). but there also has been some attention to Asia (16. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14.annualreviews. 22. 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. HISTORICAL STUDIES
Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades. Westernstates. clearly tracing the links among linguistic.Annual Reviews www.and the United States. Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology. Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8.281). 65. 94. 313).org/aronline LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically. 126." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161. and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences.180. 180. 283). Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire. 69. including dominantnational ideologies. and social forms.225). and particularly France. predominatein this literature. 219. 294). 67. An
. and colonial expressions. 118.
Contributors to Joseph &Taylor’s collection (173) examineintellectual as well as political prejudices that framedthe growthof linguistic theory.org/aronline 68 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
indigenous vernacular might be selected. Recentresearch on colonial linguistic description and translation has addressed the ideological dimension dictionof aries. dictionaries.204. But somework seeks to capture the contradictions and interactions of the two (59. the and role of linguistic ideas in specific social struggles (cf 227). grammars. from Lockethrough Saussure to Chomsky. Becauseof the availability of documents. 177. as Fabian (89) gues for Swahili and Harries (130) for Tsonga.see also 166. The structure and focus of a seventeenth century instructional manualon Castilian written by a Tagalogprinter contrast sharply with Spanish missionaries’ grammars of Tagalog. 216.muchof this historical research has explored the linguistic ideologies of colonizers rather than of indigenous populations. therefore. Cohn argues that British grammars. 45. 128. thoughthemselvesshifting in different historical moments. Of particular
. a In what Mignolo (216) calls the colonization of language. linguists constructed rather than discovered distinctive varieties (166). Onthe other hand.annualreviews. As with manyother colonial phenomena.to protect the language of the colonizers from non-nativeversions considereddistasteful (272). Europeans brought to their tasks ideas about language prevalent in the metropole. Tonganmetapragmaticsof speech levels indicate a reanalysis of society that incorporates European-derivedinstitutional complexesinto Tonganconstructions of social hierarchy (240). 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. and translations of the languagesof India created the discourse of Orientalism and converted Indian forms of knowledgeinto European objects (54:282-283. demonstrating that what was conceived as a neutral scientific endeavorwas very much political one (248). 216). 98).Annual Reviews www. 260). Functional or formal inadequacy of indigenous languages and. 248). for example. Europeanmissionization and colonization of other continents entailed control of speakers and their vernaculars.showing different political interests behindtranslation for the the Spanish and indigenous Filipinos (247). Perceived linguistic structure can always have political meaningin the colonial encounter. blinkered them to indigenous conceptualizations and sociolinguistic arrangements (165. cf 224). and these ideas. 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.and language guides. of indigenousmindor civilization was often alleged to justify Europeantutelage (89).
Moreanthropologically-oriented linguistics also has been analyzed ideologically. 151). Rather than registering a unitary language.320. Attridge (11) deconstmcts Saussure’s linguistics hostile to and suppressing evidence that the languageuser and language communityintervene. Although ideas paralleled those of Bakhtin. AND LANGUAGE
Asnoted earlier. consciously or unconsciously. 181). but it does have an effect. Attridge suggests that Saussure sees language as open to external change by humanly uncontrollableforces. 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. 67. class. Whorf to first convincehis his had audiencethat linguistic censorshipexisted. the concept of diglossia has been criticized as an ideological naturalization of sociolinguistic arrangements (205a). Rossi-Landi (256) critiques linguistic relativism as bourgeoisideology.to alter the languagesystem. such changesare likely to take an unintendeddirec~
. 131. Important sociolinguistic changescan be set off by ideological interpretation of languageuse. The idealism of linguistic relativity transforms linguistic producers into consumers. linguists helped to form one (66:48. 227). CHANGE LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE. 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. 132). but rejects the influence of history as intellectual construct. seeing in the theory a manifestation of guilt for the savage destruction of American Indians. 157. 235). paradoxically. 173. although because they derive only from a larger social dialectic. modem linguistics has generally held that linguistic ideology and prescriptive normshave little significant--or. Professional. cf 84. cf 68.annualreviews. and/or nationalist projects (65. The idealism of modem autonomous linguistics has comeunder concerted ideological scrutiny (37. Silverstein argues that a grasp of languageideologyis essential for understandingthe evolution of linguistic structure (276:220). andenablesthe illusion that the theoretical exhibitionof the stl-uctures of a languagesaves the world view of the extinct linguistic workers(cf 57. 92.Annual Reviews www. 125. IDEOLOGY. A number studies of the nineteenth century showhowphilolof ogy and emerging linguistics contributed to religious.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 69 relevance to our topic. For example. Sankoff (261) argues contemporary positivist linguistic methodologies that invoke a scientific rationale are imposedideologically by the sameinterests that propagate normativism and prescripfivism. scientific linguistics in the twentieth century has nearly uniformlyrejected prescfiptivism. Prescriptivism does not directly transformlanguage.
whichoften lies in social evaluations of language(85. In analyses of gender in English. it is morecontroversial to invoke a notion of native speaker awareness as an explanatory link. Similarly.
. But several authors note that correlational sociolinguistic models gloss over the actual motivatingforce of linguistic change. Speakersof moribundvarieties of Xinca. as in the historical case of secondperson pronoun shift in English. Structure conditions ideology. He argues that subconscious changes are extensive and systematic. subordinate languages in contact situations can acquire both functional and formal properties of anti-languages. Imperfect. Erfington (86) argues that Labov’s generalization is most applicable phonological variation. while conscious self-correction. Labovdifferentiates mechanisms change from below of and above the level of speakers’ awareness. leads to sporadic and haphazardeffects on linguistic forms (190:329). whichare exotic from the point of view of the dominantSpanish language(48). in this case. 162. importantly. changing those phenomena also 181). Becausesuch awareness and use drive linguistic change.function. Irvinc (162) notes that the formal linguistic characteristics of Hallidayan anti-languages. whichthen (see reinforces and expandsthe original structure. we must look at their ideas about the meaning. these variables require a fundamentally different. 258). and Javanese speech levels.org/aronline 70 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
tion. and value of languagein order to understand the extent and degree of systematicity in empirically occuringlinguistic forms (cf 47.240). To the extent that speakers conceptualize language as socially purposive action. 129. 212). for example. To understand one’s ownlinguistic usage is potentially to change it (275:233). Silverstein showsthat rationalization not only explains but actually affects linguistic structure. 209. This is a Silversteinian distortion that makes codemorelike itself. which may not be mediated by speakers’ understandings of their conscious communicative projects. or rationalizes it by makingit moreregular.Annual Reviews www. leads speakers to makegeneralizations that they then imposeon a broader category of phenomena. someof whichare more available to consciousreflection than are others.a self a that is most distinctive fromits socially dominant counterpart. it Errington(86) observesthat althoughit is standard in sociolinguistic analysis to look for relations betweenstructural change and communicative function.go "hog-wild"with glottalized consonants. Morepragmatically salient classes of variables are recognizedby speakers as crucial linguistic mediators of social relations. and speakers’ awarenessmakesthese variables more susceptible to rationalization and strategic use (85. which he labels ideology. are not arbitrary and that they suggest the mediationof ideological conceptualizations of linguistic structures. distorting language in the name of making morelike itself (37. 261). participant-orientedanalysis (86).annualreviews. T/V pronounshift. limited awarenessof linguistic structures. such as inversion.
. a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote. VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY
Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process. and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. 279..Annual Reviews www. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105). 201. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference. 112. 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. 274. that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language.249).278).addressing a quiet. 258..annualreviews. 57..org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages. especially English. 277). 237. 162. 275. 181." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. 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. is widelyattested (32.by black Americans. 308). 41). not a possession. CONCLUSION It is paradoxical that at the same time that language and discourse have become central topics across the social sciences and humanities.212. linguistic
. 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. more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. 250. A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language. 220. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139. domesticated audience. See reference 151for further discussion.or by Puerto Ricans (304). English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans. which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function.the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures.
in multifarious ways. simplicity.org/aronline 72 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN &
anthropologists have bemoaned marginalization of the subdiscipline from the the larger field of anthropology. intentionality. grammar. confronting macrosocial constraints on language behavior (P Kroskrity. power. Many populations around the word. authenticity. and Begofia Echeverria. 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. 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. is also a potential means It deepening a somefimcssuperficial understanding of linguistic form and its cultural variability in political economic studies of discourse. posit fundamental linkages among such apparently diverse cultural categories as language. 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). personal communication).Annual Reviews www. Research on topics such as pronouns. development. Their research and conversations helped shape our vision of the field. and the question of journalists’ responsibilities and the truthful representation of direct speech. Coming to grips with such public issues means coming to grips with the nature and working of language ideology. spelling. The topic of language ideology is a muchneeded bridge between linguistic and social theory. and to tie social and linguistic forms together through ideology. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Wethank Susan Gal for encouragementto write this essay. KathrynWoolard grateful to the is National Endowment for the Humanities and the Spencer Foundation for support while preparing the review. Examplesfrom the headlines of United States newspapersinclude bilingual policy and the official English movement. A wealth of public problems hinge on language ideology. and purism has begun the difficult program considering whoseinterests are served by linguistic ideolof ogy taking the form that it does. whohelped with bibliographic work in various stages. the exclusion of jurors whomight rely on their ownnativespeaker understanding of non-English testimony. the meaningof multiculturalism in schools and texts. that is both most provocative and most challenging. Natasha Unger. knowledge. and to Alex Halkias.It is the attempt to link these two aspects of ideology.nation. politeness. questions of free speech and harassment. gender. because it relates the microculture of communicative action to political economicconsiderations of powerand social inequality.annualreviews. BambiSchieffelin thanks Paul Garrett for bibliographic assistance and Molly
. and tradition (104).
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