Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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In this article, I develop an ethnographic view on social discourses associated with language use in a Belizean village in order to access the setting’s complex and not always easy to grasp patterns of linguistic prestige. Analyzing interview and observational data on language ideologies, I show that relationships of prestige are not necessarily neatly ordered and binary but that different language ideologies, in some cases relating to the same linguistic resources, may exist side-by-side. Therefore, linguistic resources may have several indexical, social-semiotic meanings at the same time. In these, the national and educational elite is not always a central point of orientation. Other cultural values, linking to colonial histories, African imaginaries, resistance towards standardization, transnational ties or the ability to keep codes apart, may have an influence on local language ideologies and thus also the language uses in this cultural context. Binary linguistic models like the or the , which map language variation in binary or linear fashions, are characteristic of epistemological traditions of Western linguistics that impact on but may also conceal complex language ideological realities in a postcolonial setting like Belize.


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Keyword(s): Belize; language ideologies; polycentricity; prestige
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