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,

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., such ideologies envision 55



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

The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term.258).does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. 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. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology. their social-cognitive function. Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. 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).155. A second division is the siting of ideology. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics. discourse.198. 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. as Silverstcin . Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9. Whilemetalinguistic LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 57 must decide what counts as language. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination.Annual Reviews www. For Silverstein. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). 203.annualreviews. In critical studies of ideology.This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself. Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258). 100. 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. the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition. Rather. but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference. 31. and social domination. 78. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346). together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255). but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164). The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation. Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. 298. 327). pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies. the point is to focus the attention of anthropologicalscholars of languageon the ideological dimension.

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

interpretive procedures. This alternative enterprise has been taken up more recently. but rather as "orienting frameworks. or on contexts and institutions wouldmakea different contribution. historiography of linguistics and public discourse on language. 188. 63. 310). but Hymes (158) suggestedthat an alternative focus beliefs. The ethnography speaking was chartered to study ways of speaking from the point of view of events. 178. and sets of expectations" (128:670. cultural conceptionsof language. but the worktends to form different conversations. conflict management (253. The eventual critical response of the ethnography of speaking (158) speech act theory ( LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 59 studies. 318). 121.284). 210. primarily through description of vernacular speech taxonomies and metalinguistics (24. 150. and styles. 221). 242). 255. 46.languagesocialization studies have demonstrated connections among folk theories of language acquisition. Ethnographersof speaking have studied the groundingof language beliefs in other cultural and social forms. 231-234. but which we believe can be.Annual Reviews www. Languageideology has been madeincreasingly explicit as a force shaping the understanding of verbal practices (21. disputes (38. we reach back to earlier studies that werenot conceived in the frame of ideological analysis. 138b. and metapragmatics and linguistic structure. Our bibliography is a representative samplingof the research done in these areas. 275). a privatized view of language emphasizing the psychological state of the speaker while downplayingthe social consequences of speech (308:22.315). There are manyconnections among these. Local conceptions of talk as self-reflexive action have been explored for a variety of genres such as oratory (210). research on metapragmatic universals (309. 217. 196). 262. 186. rethought profitably in relation to the concernsoutlined above. values and attitudes. This recognition triggered taxonomicstudies of conceptualizations of speech acts in specific linguistic communities (308. 303). 43). 272. 91. and numerous ethnographic challenges to the key assumptionsof speech act theory (74. ETHNOGRAPHY OF SPEAKING The ethnographyof speaking has long given attention to ideology as neutral. 187. For example. acts. Ethnographersof Pacific . Genres are nowviewednot as sets of discourse features. Speechact theory is groundedin an English linguistic ideology. and in the institutions and interests to whichthey are fled. 138. 42. 116. To illustrate some the social of variation in conceptionsof language. 267. linguistic practices. 270) stimulated thought about linguistic ideology.annualreviews. and also the foundationof aesthetics in such areas as music(90). and key cultural ideas about personhood (49. see also 23. varying in the social and linguistic themes they foreground. cf 244.

235). and/or linguistically significant.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. 32. 163. 188. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. 140. ideological construct (61.319. 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. 232). Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development. 277). see discussion of purismbelow. conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism.160. As is tree of cultural anthropology in general. 87. 230. 314). Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146. 143. 76. COMPETITION. and politically strategic form of ideology. 179. Ironically. 302).) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26. 84. 171. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64. AND POLITICS Research on self-conscious struggles over language in class-stratified and especially multilingual communitieshas treated language ideologies as socially. 254. challenges multilingual states. and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187.325). 202. 176. 4. 299. movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or . 323. 61. politically.annualreviews. Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background. 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. 317. 307. ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics. the strategic deployment honorifics (3). The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. the regulation of of marriage choices (167). 51. 118. 95. again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology. 115. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103).Annual Reviews www. 28. 243. 201). 305. 127. conscious. 69. 238.because it addressed a more formal. It is a truism that the equation of languageand nation is a historical. but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41). LANGUAGE CONTACT. 292a).

79. But in Spanish. 80. 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. 72. Researchers have distinguished language as index of group identity from language as a metalinguistically created symbol of identity.Annual Reviews www. 273. 325). 105.277. 305). or moral worth (37. 32. but as emblems political allegiance or of social. is not socially evaluated by LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 61 suppression (5. and associated assumptions about the importanceof purist language loyalty for the maintenance of minority languages have all been criticized as ideological red herrings. the intrapersonal attitude can be recast as a socially-derived intellectualized or be- .annualreviews. Althoughthe extensive body of research on linguistic prestige and language attitudes grew up in a social psychological framework(109). phonological markers and stereotypes are common lead to hypercorrection amongsecand ond-languagespeakers.and intra-lingual variation oJ~ddevisinga migrationhistory for a particular caste to match their linguistic difference. 168. linguistic ideology drives linguistic changealong different paths. 120. 207. Endogenous variation in Quechua. 282). Modern linguistic theory itself has been seen as framedand constrained by the one language/one people assumption (194). distinguishinginter. 57. 194. which is regarded as pure artifice. 206. The equation of one language/onepeople. 101. 238. 149. 169. Mannheim (204) also notes different cultural ideologies of different kinds of linguistic variation in southern Peru. the Westerninsistence on the authenticity and moral significance of the mothertongue. the analyst needsto identify the ideological production of that diagram(162). 277. particularly in settings wheremultilingualismis moretypical and where a fluid or complex linguistic repertoire is valued (10. Recentstudies of languagepolitics have begunto examine specifically the content and signifying structure of nationalist language ideologies (127.285. 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). Where linguistic variation appears to be simply a diagramof social differentiation. 302). 306). Language varieties that are regularly associated with (and thus index) particular speakers are often revalorized---or misrecognized(37)--not just symbols groupidentity. of of intellectual. which is seen simply as natural human speech. Although validity of the nationalist ideologyof languagehas often been the debated or debunked. 326). 195. 206. In this case. 176. 102. moreexplicitly ideologized in discourse (105. 6. Here wesee how linguistic ideologycan affect the interpretation of social relations. Irvine (162) finds that Wolof villagers construelinguistic differentiation as iconically related to social differentiation. although traditional or emergent views that resist this hegemonic construction have been documented (10.

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

and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved. 110). 87. Grammatical variability and. 68. 127. 166. with paradoxical is ideological implications that condemn languages. 204. 19. named.or right (see also 152). 33. 201). They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37.Annual Reviews www.Such beliefs. for example. 191. 135). Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2.betweenEnglandand France (65. 51). At an even more fundamentallevel. revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25.322.288). and internationalization (4. cf 329). 120. lexical elaboration. and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language( LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular. 287).265). the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80). problem.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities.and underlyingthese beliefs. 224. 120.228. 235. enter into strategies of social domination. 165. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation. 57. rules for word formation. for example. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. vernacularization. 118. like societies. have contributed to profounddecisions about. 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. . Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211). 216. Written form. Gapunparents blame their children’s dissatisfaction and aggressionas the roots of the loss of the vernacular (187). 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). Language mixing. 174. 139.and counted. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language. to perennial status as underdeveloped (32.annualreviews. 251. codeswitching. and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111. 136. 18. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. 285. pluralism. 236).

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

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

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

118.180. and social forms. 218.but not if lawyers do. and colonial expressions. comesfrom studies of LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically. 180. 45. and particularly France. 18. 313). Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. 192. elite debates. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14. 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). clearly tracing the links among linguistic. 65. 69. 94. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire. HISTORICAL STUDIES Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades. 18. 276. 65. predominatein this literature. 98. Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8. 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. 283). ideological. 219. 22. 126. 123." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161.and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283. 12). but there also has been some attention to Asia (16. An . England.but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were. there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language. 294). 94. 280). and editing is applied accordingly(312).annualreviews. 281. In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe.and the United States. Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious.Annual Reviews www. 173. 145.281). languagebecamethe object of civil concern as newnotions of public discourse and forms of participation (and exclusion) were formulated by new participants in the public sphere (17. and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences. 259. 67. Westernstates. 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). whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1). Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. including dominantnational ideologies.225). 106.

and language guides. Functional or formal inadequacy of indigenous languages and. grammars. of indigenousmindor civilization was often alleged to justify Europeantutelage (89). and these ideas. and translations of the languagesof India created the discourse of Orientalism and converted Indian forms of knowledgeinto European objects (54:282-283. cf 224). 128.annualreviews. blinkered them to indigenous conceptualizations and sociolinguistic arrangements (165.204. thoughthemselvesshifting in different historical moments. Recentresearch on colonial linguistic description and translation has addressed the ideological dimension dictionof aries. The structure and focus of a seventeenth century instructional manualon Castilian written by a Tagalogprinter contrast sharply with Spanish missionaries’ grammars of Tagalog. 68 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & indigenous vernacular might be selected. Europeanmissionization and colonization of other continents entailed control of speakers and their vernaculars.muchof this historical research has explored the linguistic ideologies of colonizers rather than of indigenous populations. But somework seeks to capture the contradictions and interactions of the two (59. As with manyother colonial phenomena. from Lockethrough Saussure to Chomsky. 248). dictionaries. a In what Mignolo (216) calls the colonization of language. Of particular . 45. as Fabian (89) gues for Swahili and Harries (130) for Tsonga. therefore. 260). Onthe other hand. demonstrating that what was conceived as a neutral scientific endeavorwas very much political one (248). 216). Contributors to Joseph &Taylor’s collection (173) examineintellectual as well as political prejudices that framedthe growthof linguistic theory. the and role of linguistic ideas in specific social struggles (cf 227). 98). 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. 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. linguists constructed rather than discovered distinctive varieties (166). 216. Tonganmetapragmaticsof speech levels indicate a reanalysis of society that incorporates European-derivedinstitutional complexesinto Tonganconstructions of social hierarchy (240). Cohn argues that British grammars.Annual Reviews www.see also 166.showing different political interests behindtranslation for the the Spanish and indigenous Filipinos (247).to protect the language of the colonizers from non-nativeversions considereddistasteful (272). Becauseof the availability of documents. Perceived linguistic structure can always have political meaningin the colonial encounter. Europeans brought to their tasks ideas about language prevalent in the metropole. for example.

CHANGE LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE. 67.320. Rossi-Landi (256) critiques linguistic relativism as alter the languagesystem. linguists helped to form one (66:48. Important sociolinguistic changescan be set off by ideological interpretation of languageuse. 132). seeing in the theory a manifestation of guilt for the savage destruction of American Indians. AND LANGUAGE Asnoted earlier. although because they derive only from a larger social dialectic. cf 68. such changesare likely to take an unintendeddirec~ . andenablesthe illusion that the theoretical exhibitionof the stl-uctures of a languagesaves the world view of the extinct linguistic workers(cf 57. Attridge suggests that Saussure sees language as open to external change by humanly uncontrollableforces. paradoxically. class. cf 84. Although ideas paralleled those of Bakhtin. but rejects the influence of history as intellectual construct. Moreanthropologically-oriented linguistics also has been analyzed ideologically. The idealism of modem autonomous linguistics has comeunder concerted ideological scrutiny (37. A number studies of the nineteenth century showhowphilolof ogy and emerging linguistics contributed to religious. and/or nationalist projects (65. For example. The idealism of linguistic relativity transforms linguistic producers into consumers. consciously or unconsciously. 173. 92. 131. the concept of diglossia has been criticized as an ideological naturalization of sociolinguistic arrangements (205a). Sankoff (261) argues contemporary positivist linguistic methodologies that invoke a scientific rationale are imposedideologically by the sameinterests that propagate normativism and prescripfivism. Attridge (11) deconstmcts Saussure’s linguistics hostile to and suppressing evidence that the languageuser and language communityintervene. Professional. IDEOLOGY.Annual Reviews www. but it does have an effect. 227). scientific linguistics in the twentieth century has nearly uniformlyrejected prescfiptivism. only pemicious-~effect on speech forms (although they mayhave someless negligible effect on writing) (35. 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. Prescriptivism does not directly transformlanguage. 235). 125. 181). Silverstein argues that a grasp of languageideologyis essential for understandingthe evolution of linguistic structure (276:220).annualreviews. modem linguistics has generally held that linguistic ideology and prescriptive normshave little significant--or. Rather than registering a unitary language. 157. 151).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 69 relevance to our topic. Whorf to first convincehis his had audiencethat linguistic censorshipexisted. Schultz (268) argues that contradictory strategies in Whorf’s writings arose response to the constraint of the Americantblk ideology of free speech.

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

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. linguistic .or by Puerto Ricans (304). Wherecasual generalization contrasts English and Frenchlinguistic attitudes as if they wereunitbrmcultural attributes inhering at the state and individual level.. 112. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40.278). 181. English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans.249). that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language. 279. 275. 41)." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105). a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote..addressing a LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139. A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language.annualreviews. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures. and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. German speakers in Hungary frame language and identity differently at different moments.the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher.. 277).by black Americans. CONCLUSION It is paradoxical that at the same time that language and discourse have become central topics across the social sciences and humanities.Annual Reviews www. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function. 201.212. especially English. which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things. 57. 250. VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process. is widelyattested (32. more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. 274.. 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. 220. 162. domesticated audience. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference. See reference 151for further discussion. 258. 237. not a possession. 308).

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

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