Language, Its Stakes, and Its Effects

Susan Gal

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Language, Its Stakes, and Its Effects

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  • Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Institutions



This article aims to illustrate how linguistic practices affect politics, focusing on the naturalization of institutional power through linguistic means. It considers how narratives, frames, and discursive genres of various kinds are used in public events to construct and occasionally subvert popular understandings of political processes. It discusses the so-called linguistic nationalism, the effects of state actions on the linguistic usages of their populations, and talks about how linguistic repertoires and language ideologies of speakers oriented not to states but to global networks that are outside the purview of standardization.

Keywords: linguistic practices; politics; institutional power; discursive genres; political processes; linguistic nationalism; language ideologies; linguistic usages

Article.  7173 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions

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