Making it official: The institutionalization of the hegemony of English




Language policy, English-only policies, official English, language policy in education


Drawing upon Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as theoretical framework and methodological tool, the present paper critically examines the legislation that has established English as official language in 30 states. This study captures the motivation and rationale of the policies, their stated outcomes and educational implications. The analysis situates the discourse embedded in official language policies within its socio-historical context and the conceptualization of race and language in the US. The results indicate that official English legislation responds to a conservative raciolinguistic ideology that seeks to reaffirm the hegemony of English as a mechanism of internal colonization. Official English attempts to establish monolingual educational and governmental practices that serve as an instrument to protect the status quo and, thus, perpetuate the privilege of whiteness and the subordination of immigrants, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).



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Author Biography

David G. Nieto, Northern Illinois University

David Nieto is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Prior to joining NIU, David was executive director of the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has also worked as director of bilingual and migrant education at the Illinois State Board of Education. David’s research focuses on the areas of education policy, language, and equity and, in particular, policies, programs, and practices that shape the education of cultural and linguistically diverse students.





How to Cite

Nieto, D. G. (2021). Making it official: The institutionalization of the hegemony of English. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 96.