WP261 How we feel and think about language: Language ideologies and the ‘total linguistic fact’

Rampton & Holmes


To analyse people?s thoughts, beliefs and feelings language and languages, sociolinguists have developed the concept of ?language ideology?. The goal is to understand
? how our thoughts, feelings and belief about language are tied into our social lives, our biographies, our histories and our day-to-day communication.
In fact, say sociolinguists, if you overlook these language ideologies, you can?t really understand language and language use ? they are an essential part of the ?total linguistic fact?. At the same time,
? there are a lot of different ideologies of language, varying in how elaborate and influential they are and the types and aspects of language they focus on;
? particular language ideologies grow and decline over time;
? they often privilege some people rather than others, generating inequalities, arguments and conflict (large and small), although
? there is still some scope of creatively reworking well-established ideologies in practical activity.
This sociolinguistics briefing derives from the Sociolinguistics for Education Seminar on ?Ideologies & beliefs about language and language education?, organised by the Hub for Education & Linguistic Diversity, King?s College London.