(En)Countering language ideologies: language policing in the ideospace of Facebook

Abstract

This paper takes language policing as an ideospace, a space where multiple language ideologies are constructed and contested. Drawing on critical language policy and linguistic anthropology, it unravels how participants in a Nepalese Facebook group construct and reproduce language ideologies that both challenge and impose homogeneity and uniformity. The study shows that Facebook language policing does not always embrace superdiverse conditions such as linguistic heterogeneity and fluidity, but reproduces language ideologies that consistently impose homogeneity. The analysis further shows that monolingual ideologies are reproduced through the iconization of Nepali as the national language and English as the language of technology and the global linguistic marketplace. Such iconization further erases the discourses that support the revitalization and use of minority languages in Facebook and other spaces. The study implies that the ideological contestation in Facebook language policing reflects public debate about politics, ethnicity, and nationalism in the offline context of Nepal.

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Correspondence to Prem Phyak.

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Phyak, P. (En)Countering language ideologies: language policing in the ideospace of Facebook. Lang Policy 14, 377–395 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9350-y

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Keywords

  • Language ideology
  • Facebook
  • Language policy
  • Superdiversity
  • Policing
  • Ideospace