Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 9. Number 2. June 2018                                                    Pp.  56-69

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Identity, Ideology, and Language
A Literature Review of Theoretical Anchors and Empirical Studies 

Majd Sarah
College of Education, TLC Doctoral Program,
The University of Texas at El Paso, TX, USA


The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of selected theoretical frameworks and some empirical studies that take up theories on identity, ideology, and language. The researcher attempts to highlight the most important theoretical frameworks on identity, ideologies, and language, and discusses key theoretical frameworks that have had an influence among recent scholars’ empirical work especially in the fields of second language acquisition (SLA), sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology. This article has two objectives. First, with a focus on the relationship between language, identity, and investment, the researcher attempts to present a review of Norton’s foundational work dated between 1995 (Peirce, 1995) to a more recent scholarly work (Darvin & Norton, 2015). Next, she discusses identity and interaction from a sociocultural linguistic approach by drawing on Bucholtz and Hall’s framework (2004a, 2004b, 2005). Findings from this article highlight a paradigm shift in the ways the scholarly focus has changed from looking at language solely as an oral and written skill to looking at language from the sociocultural lens and studying how it is embedded in identity production through linguistics interaction. This article concludes with a recommendation for future research on identity and language to respond to the diversity of language practices and aim at connecting language ideologies and identity to enhance our understanding of today’s complex learning communities and globalized world.
Keywords: agency, investment, language learning, linguistic capital, social identity

Cite as:  Sarah, M. (2018). Identity, Ideology, and Language :A Literature Review of Theoretical Anchors and Empirical Studies.
Arab World English Journal, 9 (2).


Majd Sarah is an ESL faculty at the Language Institute at El Paso Community College, and she’s
a doctoral student at the University of Texas at El Paso. Majd is in the Literacy/ Biliteracy strand
and her scholarly interests include language, identity, and ideology.