Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




From a linguistic perspective the development of orthography for a language is often taken as a scientific endeavor involving the adoption of a set of graphic conventions for mapping the phonemic system of a language. In this paper I unpack how orthography development and use is necessarily wrapped up in socio-political debates. Approaching orthography graphically, I demonstrate how spelling itself frequently carries implicit metacommentary connected to these debates. Next, looking at orthography’s link with speech I argue that ideologies of language in departmentalized linguistics ignore and obscure the way orthography interacts with register phenomena within a language.