"Language ideologies" are cultural representations, whether explicit or implicit, of the intersection of language and human beings in a social world. Mediating between social structures and forms of talk, such ideologies are not only about language. Rather, they link language to identity, power, aesthetics, morality and epistemology. Through such linkages, language ideologies underpin not only linguistic form and use, but also significant social institutions and fundamental notions of person and community. The essays in this new book examine definitions and conceptions of language in a wide range of societies around the world. Contributors focus on how such defining activity organizes language use as well as institutions such as religious ritual, gender relations, the nation-state, schooling, and law. This timely volume will be the first collection of work to appear in this rapidly growing field, which effectively bridges linguistic and social theory.