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

LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
Kathryn A. Woolard

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

KEYWORDS: language politics, tics

language and colonialism,

language contact,

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

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

the point is to focus the attention of anthropologicalscholars of languageon the ideological dimension. and social domination. 100.155. 298. and thus the possibility of distortion (275). with a greater social emphasis "self-evident ideas and objectives a group holds concerning roles of language in the social experiences of members they contribute to the expression of as the group" (135:53) and "the cultural systemof ideas about social and linguistic relationships. and to sharpen the understanding of linguistic issues among students of ideology. Rumsey’s definition of linguistic ideologyis neutral (258). Our purpose is not to distinguish ideology of language from ideology in other domainsof human activity. 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). but it is worthwhileto mentionsomeof the key dimensionsof difference. Some the differences among of these definitions come from debates about the concept of ideology itself. Whilemetalinguistic discourse. discourse.Annual Reviews www. rationalization markslinguistic ideology within the moregeneral category of metalinguistics. with particular social origins or functional or formal characteristics. Werun the risk of excluding work in which language does not seem focal precisely because the group studied does not compartmentalize and reify social practices of communicating. Someresearchers mayread linguistic ideologyfrom linguistic usage. together with their loading of moraland political interests" (162:255). 203. 78. The basic division in studies of ideology is betweenneutral and critical values of the term. For Silverstein.annualreviews. the latter is reserved for only someaspects of representation and social cognition. their social-cognitive function. as Silverstcin .This critical stance often characterizes studies of language politics and of language and social class.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 57 must decide what counts as language. but others insist that the twomustbe carefully differentiated (164). pointing towardthe secondary derivation of ideologies. 327). In critical studies of ideology. 31. 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. A second division is the siting of ideology.258). Those debates have been well reviewed elsewhere (9.198. distortion is viewedas mystification and is further traced to the legitimation of social domination. Rather.does not turn Humboldt’s energeia (activity) of language into ergon (product) as does the European-American tradition (41. and most broadly as "shared bodies of commonsense notions about the nature of languagein the world" (258:346). The former usually encompasses cultural systems of all reprcscntation.

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

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

87.annualreviews. 143. 61. COMPETITION. 140. 254. 163. ethnographers of speaking have increasingly incorporated considerations of powerin their analyses. Silence has been recognizedas carrying a paradoxical potential for powerthat depends greatly on its varying ideologization within and across communities(103). 69. 188. 202. 84. 176.) Ethnographers have also seen the role of language ideology in creating powerin other guises and moments:the display of gender and/or affect (26. AND POLITICS Research on self-conscious struggles over language in class-stratified and especially multilingual communitieshas treated language ideologies as socially.Briggs finds social powerachieved through the strategic use not just of particular discursive genres. 95. 171. 4. The identification of a language with a people has been given the most attention (95. 232). conscious. but of talk about such genres and their appropriate use (41). Advocatinga view of linguistic ideology as intcractional resource rather than shared cultural background. see discussion of purismbelow. 127.160. and the display of powerfulnewsocial affiliations and identities introduced through missionization (187. 292a). 76. and arguedthat its application to other societies obscures local methodsof producing meaning (75. the a nationalist ideology of languagestructures state politics. politically. It is a truism that the equation of languageand nation is a historical. 323. Speakers in multilingual communitieshave marshaledpurist language ideologies to similar interactional ends (146.org/aronline 60 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & societies identified the centrality of intention to speechact theory as rooted in Westernconceptionsof the self. although the famouscharacterization of languageas the genius of a people can be traced to the French Enlightenmentand specifically Condillac (1. 314). 175.325). conventionally dated to Herder and eighteenth century Germanromanticism. 32. 235).319. again leading to a moreexplicit focus on linguistic ideology. 305. challenges multilingual states. movements save minority languages are often structured to around the samenotions of language that have led to their oppression and/or .because it addressed a more formal. and/or linguistically significant. 51. 238. As is tree of cultural anthropology in general. 179. and politically strategic form of ideology.Annual Reviews www. Exported through colonialism to become dominantmodelaround the world today. 243. 307. 28. 302). LANGUAGE CONTACT. 299. 230. 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. 115. evenwhen researcher’s the primary interest maybe in debunkingsuch ideologies (64. ideological construct (61. 201). the strategic deployment honorifics (3). the regulation of of marriage choices (167). 277). 317. Ironically. Bauman’s (22) historical ethnography of language and silence in Quaker ideology was an important development. 118.

195. 273. of of intellectual.285. 325). In this case. 207. 32. Although validity of the nationalist ideologyof languagehas often been the debated or debunked. 206. moreexplicitly ideologized in discourse (105.Annual Reviews www. Endogenous variation in Quechua. 120. is not socially evaluated by speakers. 101. but as emblems political allegiance or of social. 72. which is regarded as pure artifice. distinguishinginter. 238. the Westerninsistence on the authenticity and moral significance of the mothertongue. Researchers have distinguished language as index of group identity from language as a metalinguistically created symbol of identity. 306). 169. 80. 168. 6. 176. or moral worth (37.annualreviews. and associated assumptions about the importanceof purist language loyalty for the maintenance of minority languages have all been criticized as ideological red herrings. Althoughthe extensive body of research on linguistic prestige and language attitudes grew up in a social psychological framework(109). 149. 326). Where linguistic variation appears to be simply a diagramof social differentiation. 206. Here wesee how linguistic ideologycan affect the interpretation of social relations. Recentstudies of languagepolitics have begunto examine specifically the content and signifying structure of nationalist language ideologies (127. 302). 282). 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). 105. phonological markers and stereotypes are common lead to hypercorrection amongsecand ond-languagespeakers. particularly in settings wheremultilingualismis moretypical and where a fluid or complex linguistic repertoire is valued (10.and intra-lingual variation oJ~ddevisinga migrationhistory for a particular caste to match their linguistic difference. Mannheim (204) also notes different cultural ideologies of different kinds of linguistic variation in southern Peru. 57.277. the analyst needsto identify the ideological production of that diagram(162). 194. Language varieties that are regularly associated with (and thus index) particular speakers are often revalorized---or misrecognized(37)--not just symbols groupidentity.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 61 suppression (5. The equation of one language/onepeople. although traditional or emergent views that resist this hegemonic construction have been documented (10. which is seen simply as natural human speech. linguistic ideology drives linguistic changealong different paths. 305). the intrapersonal attitude can be recast as a socially-derived intellectualized or be- . Modern linguistic theory itself has been seen as framedand constrained by the one language/one people assumption (194). 102. Irvine (162) finds that Wolof villagers construelinguistic differentiation as iconically related to social differentiation. 79. 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. 277. But in Spanish.

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

285. to perennial status as underdeveloped (32.and counted. 224. 120. 68. 216. 118. cf 329). pluralism. 326) and distinctive stances towardthe state regulation of language.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 63 age children from acquiring a subordinated vernacular. 120. problem.Such beliefs. 18. 19. 87. 135).Annual Reviews www. and commentators bilingual and immigranteducation have noted on such orientations conflated within these programs(117. 166. and internationalization (4. 287). Ruiz (257) distinguishes three fundamental orientations to languageas resource. for example. 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).and underlyingthese beliefs. 251. .annualreviews. 139. have contributed to profounddecisions about. and historical derivation are often seized on in diagnosing real language and ranking the candidates (111. Language mixing. They also quality or disqualify speechvarieties from certain institutional uses and their speakers from access to domainsof privilege (37. rules for word formation. 127. because they believe it will somehow mark their English (211). 235. Grammatical variability and. named. 174. Written form. and related schemata for ranking languages as more or less evolved.288).betweenEnglandand France (65. Cobarrubiashas sketched a taxonomy language ideologies uilderlying of planningefforts: assimilation. 201). like societies. 136. for example.and creoles are often evaluated as indicating less than full linguistic capabilities. 191. the notion that there are distinctly identifiable languagesthat can be isolated. revealing assumptions about the nature of language implicitly based in literate standards and a pervasive tenet that equates change with decay (25. lexical elaboration. with paradoxical is ideological implications that condemn languages. the question of whethera variety has a grammar play an important part (80).265).228. Beliefs about whatis or is not a real language. Gapunparents blame their children’s dissatisfaction and aggressionas the roots of the loss of the vernacular (187). 204. 165. 110). 236).the civility or even the humanityof subjects of colonial domination (93. 33. enter into strategies of social domination. Language Policy Macrosocialresearch on language planning and policy has traced distinctive ideological assumptionsabout the role of languagein civic and human life (2. vernacularization.322. The model development pervasive in post-colonial language planning. 51). and Haitian parents in New YorkCity believe their children will speak KreyN regardless of the input language(263.or right (see also 152). codeswitching. At an even more fundamentallevel. 57.

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

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

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

192. 22. Which language(s) to use in colonial administration was not alwaysobvious. 219. whichjoin moretraditional intellectual histories (1). 313). 65.281). 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). 106. 280).but demonstrates howclosely linked these topics were.and the United States.and civilization waslargely a linguistic concept(283. 65. and editing is applied accordingly(312). In the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century in Western Europe. predominatein this literature. Since then. and social forms. 281. comesfrom studies of colonialism.180. 126." asserted the sixteenth of century Spanish grammarianNebrija (161. clearly tracing the links among linguistic. The nineteenth century debate over language in the United States essentially was a fight over what kind of personality was needed to sustain democracy (50). elite debates. 145. The emergenceof a compartmentalized democratic personality corresponded the acceptanceof style-shifting and a range of linguistic registers to (see also 14. 12). 98. 18.225). England. 173.Annual Reviews www. there has been a waveof historical examinations ideoloof gies of language. 283). Closely linked are critical histories of linguistics and of the philosophyof language(8. Westernstates. 259. 118. 294). 94. 276. An . and each choice had its ownideological motivations and practical consequences. and particularly France. 218.org/aronline LANGUAGEIDEOLOGY 67 information if a witness speaks ungrammatically. Much the historical research focuses on normativeideas about rhetoof ric rather than grammar. Political conceptualizations of language rather than meditations on an autonomouslanguage dominated French and American debates in the seventeenth through the nineteenth century (8. languagebecamethe object of civil concern as newnotions of public discourse and forms of participation (and exclusion) were formulated by new participants in the public sphere (17. and colonial expressions. ideological. 94. HISTORICAL STUDIES Although there has beena notable linguistic turn in historical studies in recent decades.annualreviews. 69. including dominantnational ideologies. Hegumonic English ideology drewits political and social effectiveness from a presuppositionthat language revealed the mind. 123. 180.but not if lawyers do. 18. 67. Colonial Linguistics "Languagehas always been the companion empire. Someof the most provocative recent workon linguistic ideology. 45. but there also has been some attention to Asia (16.

248). Europeans brought to their tasks ideas about language prevalent in the metropole. Contributors to Joseph &Taylor’s collection (173) examineintellectual as well as political prejudices that framedthe growthof linguistic theory. Perceived linguistic structure can always have political meaningin the colonial encounter.annualreviews. therefore. for example. thoughthemselvesshifting in different historical moments.204. linguists constructed rather than discovered distinctive varieties (166). Historiography of Linguistics The close intertwining of public and scholarly conceptualizations of language in the Westand its colonies through the nineteenth century leads directly to critical studies of Western philosophy of language and of the emergenceof professional linguistics (1. dictionaries. Functional or formal inadequacy of indigenous languages and.to protect the language of the colonizers from non-nativeversions considereddistasteful (272). blinkered them to indigenous conceptualizations and sociolinguistic arrangements (165. As with manyother colonial phenomena. Recentresearch on colonial linguistic description and translation has addressed the ideological dimension dictionof aries. Europeanmissionization and colonization of other continents entailed control of speakers and their vernaculars. The structure and focus of a seventeenth century instructional manualon Castilian written by a Tagalogprinter contrast sharply with Spanish missionaries’ grammars of Tagalog. 216). Tonganmetapragmaticsof speech levels indicate a reanalysis of society that incorporates European-derivedinstitutional complexesinto Tonganconstructions of social hierarchy (240).see also 166. Onthe other hand. a sixteenth century grammar asserted that Quechua so similar to Latin and Castilian that it was "like a was prediction that the Spaniardswill possess it" (216:305. and these ideas.and language guides. demonstrating that what was conceived as a neutral scientific endeavorwas very much political one (248).org/aronline 68 WOOLARD SCHIEFFELIN & indigenous vernacular might be selected. as Fabian (89) gues for Swahili and Harries (130) for Tsonga. grammars. 128. Of particular . the and role of linguistic ideas in specific social struggles (cf 227). 177.muchof this historical research has explored the linguistic ideologies of colonizers rather than of indigenous populations. cf 224). But somework seeks to capture the contradictions and interactions of the two (59. from Lockethrough Saussure to Chomsky. Becauseof the availability of documents.Annual Reviews www. a In what Mignolo (216) calls the colonization of language. Cohn argues that British grammars. 260). 216.showing different political interests behindtranslation for the the Spanish and indigenous Filipinos (247). and translations of the languagesof India created the discourse of Orientalism and converted Indian forms of knowledgeinto European objects (54:282-283. 45. 98). of indigenousmindor civilization was often alleged to justify Europeantutelage (89).

cf 84.320.annualreviews. Sankoff (261) argues contemporary positivist linguistic methodologies that invoke a scientific rationale are imposedideologically by the sameinterests that propagate normativism and prescripfivism. but it does have an effect. 125. 227). although because they derive only from a larger social dialectic. andenablesthe illusion that the theoretical exhibitionof the stl-uctures of a languagesaves the world view of the extinct linguistic workers(cf 57. consciously or unconsciously. 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.to alter the languagesystem. Whorf to first convincehis his had audiencethat linguistic censorshipexisted. Moreanthropologically-oriented linguistics also has been analyzed ideologically.Annual Reviews www. 151).org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 69 relevance to our topic. 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. 181). Important sociolinguistic changescan be set off by ideological interpretation of languageuse. the concept of diglossia has been criticized as an ideological naturalization of sociolinguistic arrangements (205a). Attridge (11) deconstmcts Saussure’s linguistics hostile to and suppressing evidence that the languageuser and language communityintervene. The idealism of modem autonomous linguistics has comeunder concerted ideological scrutiny (37. 131. IDEOLOGY. scientific linguistics in the twentieth century has nearly uniformlyrejected prescfiptivism. Rather than registering a unitary language. 92. Silverstein argues that a grasp of languageideologyis essential for understandingthe evolution of linguistic structure (276:220). Rossi-Landi (256) critiques linguistic relativism as bourgeoisideology. For example. such changesare likely to take an unintendeddirec~ . modem linguistics has generally held that linguistic ideology and prescriptive normshave little significant--or. 235). and/or nationalist projects (65. CHANGE LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE. 157. Schultz (268) argues that contradictory strategies in Whorf’s writings arose response to the constraint of the Americantblk ideology of free speech. but rejects the influence of history as intellectual construct. linguists helped to form one (66:48. 67. Prescriptivism does not directly transformlanguage. 132). 173. seeing in the theory a manifestation of guilt for the savage destruction of American Indians. paradoxically. only pemicious-~effect on speech forms (although they mayhave someless negligible effect on writing) (35. Professional. cf 68. Attridge suggests that Saussure sees language as open to external change by humanly uncontrollableforces. class. AND LANGUAGE Asnoted earlier. Although ideas paralleled those of Bakhtin.

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

57.addressing a quiet. more like "the cacaphonyof sounds and signs of a big city street than. to confusethe indexical function of languagewith the referential function. English has entirely different significance to NewYork Puerto Ricans depending on whetherthey think of it as spokenby white Americans. 258.org/aronline LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY 71 Silverstein and others give examplesfrom Europeanlanguages. especially English. 162. to resist also-changingofficial state ideologies (105).or by Puerto Ricans (304). 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 (104.278).Annual Reviews www. Wherecasual generalization contrasts English and Frenchlinguistic attitudes as if they wereunitbrmcultural attributes inhering at the state and individual level. VARIATION AND CONTESTATION IN IDEOLOGY Therbom (296:viii) characterizes ideology as a social process. is widelyattested (32. German speakers in Hungary frame language and identity differently at different moments.. a conception of language focusing on words and expressions that denote. and to assumethat the divisions and structures of languageshould--and in the best circumstances do--transparently fit the structures of the real world (39. 112. and Rosaldo (255) similarly asserts that Ilongots think of language terms of action rather in than reference.. domesticated audience.212. 274. 41). 201.. 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. historical studies showthat such apparently characteristic national stances emergeconjuncturally from struggles among competingideological positions (139. 277).annualreviews.. 220.249). that reveal a tendencyto see propositionality as the essence of language. not a possession. 250. 308). See reference 151for further discussion. linguistic . A focus on the surface segmentable aspects of language." The new direction in research on linguistic ideology has also moved awayfrom seeing ideology as a homogeneous cultural template. 181. Waraostrategically deploy conflicting models for language use as resources for interactional power(40.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. 237. But Rumsey (258) argues that it is not characteristic of Australian aboriginal cultures. which do not dichotomize talk and action or words and things. 279. 275.the text serenely communicatingwith the solitary reader or the teacher.

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

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