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Language standards, standardisation and standard ideologies in multilingual contexts

McLelland, Nicola

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This essay-which also serves as an introduction to the six other articles which make up this special issue-examines the development of the field of language standardisation studies in recent decades. First, it notes the change in focus occasioned by drawing on the notion of language ideologies, especially standard language ideology. That ideological awakening has, in turn, revealed that standardisation studies have, until recently, been largely ideologically monolingualist. I argue that we must consider multilingualism (broadly conceived) in at least five ways when we study language standardisation: to recognize diaglossia within a single named language; to understand the nature of polycentric standards; to analyse language purism; to appreciate the key role of (foreign/ second) language learning in codification; and to trace the transmission of ideologies across languages and cultures. The paper gives examples of the ways in which our research can be unwittingly monolingualist in its concepts and methods, and examines the role of the concepts of heteroglossia and translanguaging in challenging that monolingualism. It concludes by setting an agenda for third-wave standardisation studies, with a call for standardisation studies that are both enriched both by the ideological turn and by attending to multilingualism.


McLelland, N. (2021). Language standards, standardisation and standard ideologies in multilingual contexts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 42(2), 109-124.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 5, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2020
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Apr 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2022
Journal Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Print ISSN 0143-4632
Electronic ISSN 1747-7557
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 2
Pages 109-124
Keywords Multilingualism; Language Ideologies; Language Standardisation; Heteroglossia
Public URL
Publisher URL


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