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"Language Ideologies"


Language ideologies are at the heart of linguistic change and language dynamics. What we think about words, languages, linguistic performances and ways of speaking has great impact on our linguistic practices. Societies characterized by multilingualism often reflect multilayered language ideologies which feature complex conceptualizations of identity, belonging and differentiations and which become manifest in phenomena of language contact and language change. Important mechanisms of social relations which enforce (linguistic) adaptation and differentiation with regard to identity are at work. Indeed, the complex forms of multilingualism and flexible repertoires found in many societies (e.g. in Africa) are often well-grounded in (language) ideologies.

Likewise the ideologies of linguists and scientists influence the way in which linguistic phenomena are perceived and described. This fact can be observed in the history of science and in paradigm shifts towards different ideas about and perspectives on language.