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Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization

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This paper explores the effects of the standard language ideology on attitudes to language of nonlinguists and of language specialists, and considers how far linguists themselves have been affected by – and have contributed to – this ideology. The primary definition of standardization is taken to be the imposition of uniformity upon a class of objects. Attitudes to language within standard language cultures are then reviewed and contrasted with unstandardized situations, in which the boundaries of languages are indeterminate. It is therefore suggested that determinate languages, such as English, may be defined more by ideologies than by their internal structures. Some effects of standardization on the work of linguists are then reviewed. This is followed by a discussion of the importance of the process of legitimization in contributing to the standard language culture, and of the contribution of language specialists themselves to this process. Finally, certain matters arising are reviewed.
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Keywords: Standardization; correctness; elaboration of function; historicity; ideology; legitimization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Of Michigan

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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