chapter  2
Common Myths and Stereotypes Regarding Literacy and Language Diversity in the Multilingual United States
ByTERRENCE G. WILEY AND GERDA DE KLERK
Pages 21

A number of popular myths surround discussions of literacy and language diversity in the United States. To adequately discuss literacy, it is necessary to look also at dominant attitudes and beliefs about language diversity. Taken as a whole, these attitudes and beliefs are part of the dominant ideology about language and literacy in the United States, which is characterized by English monolingualism. Ideology refers to beliefs and convictions that dictate, direct, or influence policy and behavior. English monolingualism reflects an ideology that languages other than English must be aberrant and bilingualism must be unnatural (Ovando & Wiley, 2007; Ricento & Wiley, 2002; Wiley, 2004, 2007a). These assumptions underlie much of the public discussion about literacy and language diversity and shed light on much of the education research, policy, and practice directed at language and literacy issues.