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Language Myths and the History of English$
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Richard J. Watts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327601.001.0001

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Metaphors, myths, ideologies and archives

Metaphors, myths, ideologies and archives

(p.3) Chapter 1 Metaphors, myths, ideologies and archives
Language Myths and the History of English

Richard J. Watts (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The opening chapter sets the scene with respect to ways in which language ideologies evolve discursively. The argument is sociocognitive. At the bottom of all discursive activity lie conceptual metaphors of language and other related abstract concepts such as the “nation-state”. Possible statements derived from these conceptual metaphors form the stuff of which culturally valid myths are constructed, and these drive the construction of hegemonic discourses on language. As no discursive formations can be free of ideology (in the political and nonpolitical sense of the term), hegemonic discourses will eventually lead to the formation of discourse archives, in which certain things may be said (i.e., are “true”) and others not, and it is through the power of archives to shape our construction of the language worlds in which we live that canonical “histories” appear. A further argument here is that canons, linguistic or literary, must be challenged.

Keywords:   conceptual metaphors, language myths, language ideologies, discourse, discourse archives, histories of English

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