Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Fall 2013

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Sudbeck, K. (2013). ELL High School Students of Mexican Ancestry: A Phenomenological Study of Language Ideologies. Proceedings from the CEHS Fall 2013 Conference. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright (c) 2013 Kristine Sudbeck


The formation of languages and dialects is frequently considered a social process (Gal & Irvine, 1995). As such, humans form their own ideologies about particular language varieties, placing values on certain ones in a given context more than others (Greenfield, 2010). The development of a person’s language ideology can be influenced by the profit of distinction, which Pierre Bourdieu (1984) describes as the “noted margin of difference for usefulness and prestige of a particular language” (p. 55). It is through the process of misrecognition (Bourdieu, 1984) that a particular language is “recognized as legitimate and appropriate for discourse in official settings” (as cited in Lin, 1999, p. 395); consequently, the language with perceived legitimacy is intrinsically linked to the profit of distinction. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand the essence of language ideology formation among ELL students of Mexican ancestry in an urban high school in the Great Plains. Utilizing a critical social theoretical framework, the researcher performed semi-structured interviews and participants observations (Creswell, 2013), which was part of a larger study in 2012 examining the perceptions of faculty/staff and students on the graduation of ELL students of Mexican ancestry.