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

LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
Kathryn A. Woolard

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

KEYWORDS: language politics, tics

language and colonialism,

language contact,

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

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

298.258). The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation. 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. the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition.annualreviews. A second division is the siting of ideology.does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term. their social-cognitive function. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164).This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. as Silverstcin . Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies. the point is to focus the attention of anthropologicalscholars of languageon the ideological dimension. For Silverstein. and social domination. In critical studies of ideology. together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255). 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. Whilemetalinguistic discourse. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology. WHAT IS LINGUISTIC IDEOLOGY? Linguistic/language ideologies have been defined as "sets of beliefs about languagearticulated by users as a rationalization or justification of perceived language structure and use" (275:193). Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258). Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9.Annual Reviews www. 327). Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. 203. 100.198. 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. but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346). 31. 78. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination. Rather.155. discourse. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 57 must decide what counts as language.

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

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

because it addressed a more formal. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. 238. AND POLITICS Research on self-conscious struggles over language in class-stratified and especially multilingual communitieshas treated language ideologies as socially. 61. 201). 305. 143. the regulation of of marriage choices (167). 127. and politically strategic form of ideology. ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses. and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187. but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41).Annual Reviews www. and/or linguistically significant.325). 277). COMPETITION. 314). movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or . Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146. see discussion of purismbelow. ideological construct (61. Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development. The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism. politically. 302). 163. and underpinsethnic struggles to such an extent that the absenceof a distinct language can cast doubt on the legitimacy of claims to nationhood (33:359.319.annualreviews. 307. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics. Ironically. Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background. LANGUAGE CONTACT. 95. 69.org/aronline 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. It is a truism that the equation of languageand nation is a historical. 323. 51. conscious. 175. 4. 32.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. the strategic deployment honorifics (3). Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103). 232). 299. 179. 76. 171. 292a). 118. 87. As is tree of cultural anthropology in general. 202. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. 140. 84.160. 235). 230. 317. 254. 115. 176. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64. 243. again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology.) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. 188. 28. challenges multilingual states.

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

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

problem. 68. Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2. Written form. 287). 127.Annual Reviews www. for example. 135). have contributed to profounddecisions about.288). . cf 329). 201). 139. codeswitching. 235.the civility or even the humanityof subjects of colonial domination (93.265).betweenEnglandand France (65. 165. 57.and counted. enter into strategies of social domination. 285. Language mixing. and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language(263.annualreviews. 87. 18. The model development pervasive in post-colonial language planning.and underlyingthese beliefs. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37. Gapunparents blame their children’s dissatisfaction and aggressionas the roots of the loss of the vernacular (187). 136. 251. 216. 204. 120. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language. 118.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular. 191. Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource. 110).Such beliefs. lexical elaboration.or right (see also 152). vernacularization. 33. 236). 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). 174.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities. to perennial status as underdeveloped (32. and internationalization (4. and commentators bilingual and immigranteducation have noted on such orientations conflated within these programs(117. At an even more fundamentallevel. rules for word formation. 19. pluralism. 51). 224.228. Grammatical variability and. and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111. like societies.322. for example. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. named. revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25. 120. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211). with paradoxical is ideological implications that condemn languages. 166. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation. and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved. the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80).

but to specifically European forms of these institutions (35. languagestandards are not recognized as human artifacts. but the emphasison the ideological dimensionhas given rise to new analyses of languagestandardization (172). 293). 6). 219). 65. 118.172. 112. its social meaningand strategic use are not transparent (99. and purist . such as clarity or truthfulness (70. 183. 96.annualreviews. but are naturalized by metaphorssuch as that of the free market (172. but this claim has been disputed (132). an ideologyof the sanctity languagein an ultraorthodox Jewish community leads to the restriction of the Hebrew language to sacred contexts (113).org/aronline 64 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & STANDARDIZATION. In contrast. PragueSchool functional linguists. linguistic practice. the selection and elaboration of a linguistic standard has stood for a complexof issues about language. There moreagreementthat codified. 194. cf 142. 132. 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. SomeSpanish loanwords sound more authentic to non-elite members of the Gallego speech community Spain. superposedstandard languages are tied not only to writing and its associated hegemonic institutions. but usually selectively. 286). but from the strength of at theocratic institutions and of ritual linguistic forms as modelsfor other domainsof interaction (182. 277. 171). 277). 149). DOCTRINES OF CORRECTNESS. 172. 297). 276:241. targeting only languages construed as threats (316.beauty.Annual Reviews www. Notions of better and worse speech have been claimed to exist in every linguistic community (35). Standard languages and/or their formation had been studied earlier by philologists. Such complex relations among social position. 131. 18). and power(289). Mexicano vernacular purist ideologies are deployedparadoxically to enhancethe authority of those whoare least immersedin the vernacular and most enmeshedwith the larger economy (146. and expressiveness of language as a valued modeof action (276:223. and applied linguists (52. Purist doctrines of linguistic correctness close off non-native sources of innovation. Moral indignation over nonstandard forms derives from ideological associations of the standard with thc qualities valued within the culture. 145. politics. with the concept of standard treated more as ideological process than as empirical linguistic fact (16. The existence of a language is always a discursive project rather than an established fact (259). and similarly. 184). 134). The linguistic effects of purismarc not predictable. AND PURISM Since Dante’s time. An apparently purist linguistic conservatism among Tewamaydethe rive not from resistance to contact phenomena all. In the vernacular belief systemof Westernculture. whodissociate themselves from the in linguistically pure forms that smackof institutional minority politics (5. 219.

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

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

annualreviews. 65. 313). clearly tracing the links among linguistic. comesfrom studies of colonialism. whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1). predominatein this literature.180. 283). 180. and particularly France. 94. 123. 173. and colonial expressions. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161. Westernstates. Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8. HISTORICAL STUDIES Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades. 280). 118. 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. 294).Annual Reviews www. 45. 69. but there also has been some attention to Asia (16. including dominantnational ideologies. 218. 106. 219. 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). 94. 18. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14.and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283.225). and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences. 145. 192. In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe. there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language. and editing is applied accordingly(312).but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were. 67. An . 18. 259. Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology. elite debates.and the United States. 98. 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). 65. Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. 12).org/aronline LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically.but not if lawyers do.281). ideological. Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. and social forms. 281. Since then. 276. Political conceptualizations of language rather than meditations on an autonomouslanguage dominated French and American debates in the seventeenth through the nineteenth century (8. England. 126. 22.

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

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

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

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.by black Americans. 201. 181.278). 162. A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language. a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote. 308). VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process.Annual Reviews www. domesticated audience. 237. and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things. 277). more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. 275. especially English. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference. German speakers in Hungary frame language and identity differently at different moments. nowtreating it as a process involving struggles amongmultiple conceptualizations and demandingthe recognition of variation and contestation within a community well as contradictions within as individuals (104. 41). linguistic .249). 250.addressing a quiet.the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher. English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans.212..annualreviews. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages. 274. 258. 112. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function. is widelyattested (32." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40. 279.. Wherecasual generalization contrasts English and Frenchlinguistic attitudes as if they wereunitbrmcultural attributes inhering at the state and individual level. 220. 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. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105). See reference 151for further discussion. that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language.. 57. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures..or by Puerto Ricans (304).

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

AnthropoL 19:419-51 29. Appl.Cult. 1990. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press 32. Linguist. 1988. Press 21.1993. This essay is dedicatedto Ben. ExploraR. 1986. Ethnic Groups5(12):55-78 11.London: Methuen 12. Univ. Languageattitudes and working class ideology in a Puerto Rican barrio of NewYork. Anthropol. 45. Freebody P. Besnier N. pp.C~T:Yale Univ. 92(2):332-45 27. Anthropology the analyand sis of ideology.ed. Peculiar Language. 1994. pp. ruyter de 3.Rev. 110-34 31. Representations of questioning and answeringin children’s first school books. BlommaertJ. eds. 259-78 13. Speakingwith names. this AnyAnnualReviewchapter. Brink DT. Literacy and the notion of person on Nukulaelae Atoll. Soc. The institionalization of Galician: linguistic practices. 1982. Honorification. Bauman 1983. 1986. HowTo Do Things with Words. eds.1991. 15:451-84 16. R Fardon. Annu.org Literature Cited 1. 3(2):99-131 22. See Ref. Anderson B. 1990. 1990. Minneapolis:Univ. Am. Laporte D. 1993. Lang.Press 15. Linguistics in America 1769-1924: A Critical History. Poetics and R. 1981. Language and affect.Annual Reviews www. 1985. 1990. 291. Bauman Briggs CL. 1979. MA:Harvard Univ. Le fran~ais national Paris: Hachette 18. 19:59-88 24. Press 14. Fromcognition to ideology. Bledsoe CH. PhDthesis. AndresenJ. The metaphors of de- .Am. NewYork: CambridgeUniv. 1989.. Cambridge.annualreviews. Plurilinguismes 6:1-26 7. emaiharpr@class. 1983.Camof bridge: CambridgeUniv. Bell AR. Minn. Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language. AurouxS. Baker C. 1994. Alvarez-CAccamo C. Baron DE. Anthropol. Mich. See Ref. 1974. Hist. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Routledge 9. tions in the Ethnography Speaking. BesnierN. Bailey RW. 1-800-347-8007. Basso K. London:Verso 8. 93(2):570-87 30. performance critical perspectives on lanas guageand social life. Towardthe development of a multilingual languagepolicy in Nigeria. Eur. Adams KL. 1990. pp. La langue creole forcejugul~e. Balibar R. Press 25. Grammar and Good Taste: Reformingthe AmericanLanguage.1991. 12(1):29-61 5. Rev. AghaA. Paris: L’Harmattan 26.La rrvolution franqaise et l’universalisation du fran~ais national en France. The pigeon house. Symbolism of Speaking and Silence Among Seventeenth-Century Quakers. Anthropol. Let Your WordsBe Few: R. Bloch M. powerand ideology in public discourse. Brbel-Gisler D. Akinnaso FN. Alvarez C. 1990. AnthropoL 23:277-302 4. Rev. Portraits of "the Whiteman": Linguistic Play and Cultural Symbols Among the Western Apache. as well as any article cited in an AnnualReviewchapter. NewHaven. 1988. Text 9(1):69-92 28. Baron DE. Cambridge: CambridgeUniv. Separate people: speaking of Creek menand women. Le sujet de la langue: la conceptionpolitique de la languesous l’ancien rrgime et la rrvolution. Ideas 13(1/2):89-95 17. Bauman Sherzer J. RobeyKM. may be purchasedfrom the AnnualReviewsPreprints and Reprints service. Anthropol. Besnier N. The English Only Question: AnOfficial Language Americans for ? NewHaven. Calif. In Powerand Knowledge.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 73 Mitchellfor editorial help. 1991. ArAnn bor: Univ. Press 2. Basso K. Annu. Press 19. 1983. 21-48. Press 20. Attinasi JJ. Press 23. Balibar R. Attridge D. the octopus and the people: the ideologization of linguistic practices in Galiza. AarsleffH. whose wonderful senseof timehelped organize project. Annu. CT: Yale Univ. 1990. 1984. Berkeley 6. 1991. AsadT. Perspectives on Official English: TheCampaign for English as the Official Languagein the USA. 1962. 415-259-5017. 1979. 1982.Literacy and feelings: the encoding of affect in Nukulaelaeletters.Berlin: Mouton C. Austin JL. Arabic literacy and secrecy amongthe Mendeof Sierre Leone. FromLocke to Saussure: Essayson the Study of Language Inteland lectual History. Man 14:607-27 10.

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