The Demystifying Language Project (DLP) is a social justice and research initiative to make scholarship on the politics of language available in public high schools, which typically teach only standard or “proper” language. The DLP believes that teachers and students should have access to what anthropologists of language know from their research: that standard language is not necessarily better; it just reflects the language of powerful institutions and people “in charge.” 

But to make this happen, anthropologists who study language have to learn from high school students, teachers, and undergraduates how to write in a way that speaks to teen lives. Teachers and students need access to tools that allow them to critique standard language and conduct research on the languages in their own lives. The DLP shows that anthropologists can learn from high school students, teachers, and undergraduates just as much as they can learn from anthropologists. Working together, we can form meaningful relationships and create scholarship that makes a difference in the world.

Language Toolkit

How can language be used to exclude or empower people? Read a brief introduction to help you dive into our articles on language and power.

DLP Research

Read what DLP Co-Directors and student collaborators have been publishing and presenting based on our DLP ethnographic research.

Read Our Articles

Go straight to the twelve articles published by DLP authors and co-authors.


“It’s exciting to be a part of something that’s thinking about how to produce our work in a new genre and modality for new audiences. …I felt like I was teaching and learning simultaneously in the collaboration with the students and that was fun.”


“I think the project is so cool. We’re going to have the opportunity to change academia and make this knowledge more accessible to high school students and just to a wider audience in general that isn’t so specialized in this field.”


“Being able to understand the article, to break it down into what was important, and then learn new terms and their meanings—I feel very proud of that. I could have easily given up, but instead I continued and tried to understand to the best of my ability.”