This entry briefly explores ‘language ideologies’ as beliefs, feelings, and conceptions about language structure and use which often index the political economic interests of individual speakers, ethnic and other interest groups, and nation states. These conceptions, whether explicitly articulated or embodied in communicative practice, represent incomplete, or ‘partially successful’, attempts to rationalize language usage; such rationalizations are typically multiple, context-bound, and necessarily constructed from the sociocultural experience of the speaker. This is a comparatively recent trend largely centered in, but hardly limited to, North American linguistic anthropological research. Though much of the work in this tradition is contemporaneous with the development among discourse analysts of Critical Discourse Analysis (e.g. the work of Norman Fairclough, Ruth Wodak, and Teun van Dijk) which represents a shared concern with power and social inequality (Blommaert & Bulcaen 2000), it is nevertheless a discrete movement with its own distinctive history, theoretical relevances, and substantive foci.
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