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His thought is redneck, Ideology
yours is doctrinal ANTH 315: Language in Culture & Society
April 22nd, 2013
and mine is deliciously supple

Terry Eagleton. 1991. Ideology: An Introduction. London, Verso.

Blommaert, Jan and Jef Verschueren. 1998. The Role of Language in
European Nationalist Ideologies. Schieffelin, Woolard and Kroskrity, Eds.,
Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory. New York: OUP, 189-210.

What is ideology? Some ideas Language ideology

A body of ideas characteristic of a particular social
group or class

Ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political

power Language ideology includes ideas about and attitudes
towards language, including evaluations of language
Forms of thought motivated by social interests
use and ideas about what language represents or does
Marx: the production of images of social reality; for people.
Engels: false consciousness

Althusser: the imaginary relationship of individuals

to their real conditions of existence

Examples of language ideologies :

Where is ideology?
There is a right way and a wrong way to speak a language
(ideology about language use/intent)
Speakers of non-standard dialects are lazy and dont
try to speak right (ideology about users) Everywhere!

Some languages are more appropriate for some things (like In self-help magazines, on TV, in everyday jokes and
running the government, or prayer) than for others discussions with friends
(ideologies about language use)
A written promise is more binding than a spoken promise Language ideology is in how a professor corrects your
(ideologies about written and spoken language) text or your parents correct your speech
If someone says bad things about you, it can make you
sick (ideology about the power of language to act in the


There isnt ONE language ideology Social difference and ideology

Language ideologies help link particular linguistic
characteristics to other stereotypical characteristics of
Language ideology is a concept that describes how our
ideas about language influence how we use language and
interpret language use For example, if your dialect sounds slow and drawn
out, are you lazy?
Although everyone might have their own ideas about
language, certain language ideologies, such as the idea in If your dialect sounds informal in a certain context,
the US that only one language can represent a country, are are you uneducated?
more widespread and influential than others
If you speak English with a Spanish accent, are you
not a US citizen?

Language & Nationalism Language & Nationalism

Nationalist language ideologies make several assumptions: In many nationalist language ideologies, multilingualism is
seen as a problem rather than a state of affairs, which is
That a distinct language marks a distinct cultural, ethnic, why it tends to not be supported:
national identity
Integration assumption: the assumption that multilingualism
That clusters of features (language, culture, territory, is an obstacle for societal and national integration into a
livelihood, nation) are natural, so that the presence of one coherent nation-state
indicates the presence of the rest (and the absence of one
Efficiency assumption: the assumption that efficient
indicates an absence of the rest in some sense)
government, as well as economic growth and development,
That a functioning society is characterized by homogeneism: are hampered by multilingualism
differences are seen as dangerous and centrifugal; the best
society lacks intergroup differences. But, homogeneism is a Scale and multilingualism:
problematic assumption because it flattens out differences Individual multilingualism is encouraged;
within societies (socio-economic status, age, gender, race, etc.)
Intrasocietal multilingualism is discouraged;
International multilingualism is defended/encouraged?

Standard Language Standard language ideology

A standard language is a WRITTEN variety

of a language whose features have been
formalized. This form of the language is used The belief that there is one and only one correct
in print. spoken form of the language, modeled on a
single correct written form.
A standard language ideology says that the
written standard is also the standard to which
speech should be compared to determine if it
is correct or not.


Social Stratification and Power Explicit & Implicit Language Ideologies

Explicit Language Ideology

Monoglot Standard
What determines which dialect is the most prestigious?

The people who have the most power also have the most Implicit Language Ideology
correct language.
Personalism: the most important part of linguistic
meaning comes from the beliefs and intentions of the
There is no linguistic way to determine which dialect is speaker
best, this is purely a social determination based on who
Referentialism: e.g., the baptismal ideology of
speaks which language, and what language ideologies are meaning, which holds that there is a single correct
applied when judging languages or varieties. meaning of a word (that can be found by tracing its
history to an authoritative original source)