Language and Identity: A Critique

Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, December 2018

10 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2019

Date Written: 2018


Due to the exponential growth of immigration to the developed countries, various speech communities have been created in those countries. This surge of macro-communities has instigated abundant research on the nature of the linguistic identity of these communities and its potential influence on the micro-communities. There is a seamless interaction between language and social identity, and this interaction is multi-faceted and renders myriads of ramifications. Correspondingly, many researchers or theoreticians have proposed various models for the mechanism of this interaction. Even though there is a consensus on the strong intercourse between language and identity, there are still debates on the causal direction of this interaction. Building upon sociocultural and sociolinguistic theories, the related literature mostly views the causal direction from social to linguistic. However, this paper argues against any unilateral interpretations and discuss how the notions of language and identity have bilateral connections. Finally, the elemental stages of the development of linguistic identity from a semiotic outlook are discussed.

Keywords: identity, language, linguistic, social identity, sociolinguistic, society, theory

Suggested Citation

Mahmoodi-Shahrebabaki, Masoud, Language and Identity: A Critique (2018). Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, December 2018, Available at SSRN:

Masoud Mahmoodi-Shahrebabaki (Contact Author)

University of California Irvine ( email )

511 16th St
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
United States
6157103797 (Phone)

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