This paper examines “expert” discourse – complexes of signs and practices that organize and legitimize social existence and social reproduction – to demonstrate the ideological processes involved in the manufacture of Standard English ideology and its continual duplication as necessitated by the three axiomatic conceptions of the English-sacred imagined community (cf. Anderson 1991). It is argued that the hierarchical structure needed to sustain the sacred imagined community can only be guaranteed if Standard English is accepted by all members as inevitable and the speakers of this standard accepted as uncontested authorities of English language use. How is this ideological manipulation and indoctrination in fact accomplished? This paper focuses on two sites of ideological manipulation – the learning and teaching of English in post-colonial contexts – and argues that expert promulgations enable what Foucault has called régimes of truth to be organized around the language. Expert discourse establishes a habit of thought which makes the standard variety of English (British/American) desirable, necessary, normal, natural, universal, and essential, and all other varieties instances of deficit and deviation. The key ideological process is a naturalizing move that drains the conceptual of its historical content, making it seem universal and timelessly true (Woolard & Schieffelin 1994).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-109
Number of pages36
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Applied Linguistics
  • Dialects
  • Discourse Analysis
  • English
  • Ideology
  • Standard Spoken Usage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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