Language and Ideologies

Mary E McGroarty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

73 Scopus citations


This chapter defi nes and describes language ideologies, the abstract (and often implicit) belief systems related to language and linguistic behavior that affect speakers’ choices and interpretations of communicative interaction (Silverstein, 1998). Language ideologies frame and influence most aspects of language use, but their influence is not always directly observable. Often their scope and constraints must be inferred from the nature of individual and group actions, expectations and decisions occurring in pertinent social realms (Lippi-Green, 1997; McGroarty, 2008). In describing language policy, Shohamy (2006) and Spolsky (2004, 2009) use a tripartite distinction, noting that language policy, the sum of decisions about and practices related to language, is shaped by three main factors: language practices, the actual language-related behavior of individuals and institutions; language management, the offi cial and unoffi cial rules regarding the choice and nature of language codes; and language ideologies, the most abstract of these dimensions, the understandings, beliefs and expectations that infl uence all choices made by language users even when implicit. Whether explicit or implicit, language ideologies inevitably incorporate, often unconsciously, speakers’ sometimes-idealized evaluations and judgments of appropriate language forms and functions along with opinions about individuals and groups that follow or flout conventional expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociolinguistics and Language Education
PublisherChannel View Publications
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781847692849
ISBN (Print)9781847692825
StatePublished - Jun 17 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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