Critical language awareness

In linguistics, critical language awareness (CLA) refers to an understanding of social, political, and ideological aspects of language, linguistic variation, and discourse. It functions as a pedagogical application of a critical discourse analysis (CDA), which is a research approach that regards language as a social practice.[1] Critical language awareness as a part of language education teaches students how to analyze the language that they and others use. More specifically, critical language awareness is a consideration of how features of language such as words, grammar, and discourse choices reproduce, reinforce, or challenge certain ideologies and struggles for power and dominance.[2]

Regarding linguistic variation, Fairclough argued that it is insufficient to teach students to use "appropriate" language without considering why that language is preferred and who makes that decision (as well as the implications for speakers who do not use "appropriate language").[3]

CLA generally includes consideration of how a person may be marginalized by speaking a particular way, especially if that way of speaking serves as an index of their race, ethnicity, religion, social status, etc.

Because power is reproduced through language, CLA is "a prerequisite for effective democratic citizenship, and should therefore be seen as an entitlement for citizens, especially children developing towards citizenship in the educational system".[4][5][6][7]


Critical language awareness has been applied to educating students in South Africa how language was used to maintain and perpetuate the apartheid state.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Mosley Wetzel, Melissa; Rogers, Rebecca (2015-12-01). "Constructing racial literacy through critical language awareness: A case study of a beginning literacy teacher". Linguistics and Education. Special Issue on Critical Language Awareness Approaches in the Americas: theoretical principles, pedagogical practices and distribution of intellectual labor. 32, Part A: 27–40. doi:10.1016/j.linged.2015.03.014.
  2. ^ Luke, Allan (2012-01-06). "Critical Literacy: Foundational Notes". Theory into Practice. 51 (1): 4–11. doi:10.1080/00405841.2012.636324. ISSN 0040-5841.
  3. ^ Fairclough, Norman. "Global capitalism and critical awareness of language". Schools on the Web. Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  4. ^ Clark, Romy (1990). "Critical Language Awareness Part I: A Critical Review of Three Current Approaches to Language Awareness". Language and Education: An International Journal. 4 (4): 249–60. doi:10.1080/09500789009541291. ISSN 0950-0782. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  5. ^ Reginald Mpho Monareng, Rakwena. "The Critical Language Awareness Perspective within the English Second Language Teacher Development". The International Journal of the Humanities. 5 (1): 67–74. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  6. ^ Mehl, Deborah; Deborah Mehl; Shirley Pendlebury (1991). "Grey areas and open minds: critical language awareness for student teachers". Journal of Curriculum Studies. 23 (5): 435–448. doi:10.1080/0022027910230506. ISSN 1366-5839.
  7. ^ Alim, H. S., H. Samy Alim (2005). "Critical Language Awareness in the United States: Revisiting Issues and Revising Pedagogies in a Resegregated Society". Educational Researcher. 34 (7): 24–31. doi:10.3102/0013189X034007024. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  8. ^ Janks, H. (1993). Language identity and power. Critical language awareness series. Johannesburg: Hodder and Stoughton and Wits University Press

External links

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