According to a widely held view in sociolinguistic research, a standard language LVQHLWKHUDSDUWLFXODUYDULHW\QRUDZHOOGHƩQHGSURFHVVRUSUDFWLFH$V-DPHVDQG Lesley Milroy have argued:

A standard language, according to this view, is a mental construct, not an actual linguistic state or process. A standard language is a standard rather than a language. The obvious purpose of any set of standards is the ‘imposition of uniformity’ upon linguistic variety.2 Because absolute standardization can never be achieved, language uniformity exists only as an ideological rationalization. A standard language is a language perceived as standard. I wish to inquire into the methodological and theoretical implications of this DSSURDFKWRVWDQGDUGL]DWLRQ6LQFHFKDQJHVLQDVWDQGDUGODQJXDJHDUHE\GHƩQLWLRQ changes in ideological standards (that is, in the ways a language is perceived rather than the ways a language actually is), it should always be possible, in principle at least, to trace changes in standard languages through respective changes in language standards.