ANT 393 • Language Ideologies
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
"Language ideologies," broadly defined, refer to our attitudes, values, beliefs about, and by extension practices involving, language. Language ideologies are inextricably linked in mutually (re)instantiating relationships to cultural ideologies and practices. Productively used by nation-states, ethnic groups, professions, and other group members to erect or erase boundaries within and outside the group, language ideologies are especially important cultural resources in the construction of various identities. Language ideologies are ubiquitous, so seemingly 'natural' that they are typically taken for granted. Current research on language ideologies, however, challenges and problematizes many fundamental assumptions about how speakers use their languages and communicative resources. Like other movements in contemporary linguistic anthropology, language ideological research emphasizes language activity as a form of action that is rooted in the socio-cultural context of its production. What distinguishes language ideological research, however, is its consideration of two relatively neglected factors: 1) speakers' partial awareness and understanding of their own linguistic and communicative practices, and 2) the relationship of this awareness to the speaker's socioeconomic or political economic perspective and to the communicative practices themselves. This course provides an introduction to these subjects and their interplay. During the semester seminar members will be introduced to key readings in the field, prepared to recognize language ideologies inside as well as outside academia, and encouraged to perform or design original research informed by this theoretical orientation.