Myths we live and speak by: Ways of imagining and managing language and languages

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines beliefs about language(s) showing how they are rooted in and help maintain a standard language ideology, i.e. the conviction that certain languages exist in uniform standardised forms and that such forms are desirable. Such an ideology is widespread (although historically contingent and not universal, as I show in this chapter), and has influenced lay and expert approaches to the study of language(s). This chapter shows how conceptualisations of ‘language’ have changed over time and how this has affected the way speakers evaluate phenomena such as language contact and language ‘mixing’. I discuss alternative ways of conceptualising language(s) that might encourage a more positive and inclusive view of multilingualism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStandard Languages and Multilingualism in European History
EditorsMatthias Hüning, Ulrike Vogl, Olivier Moliner
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Print)9789027200556
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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