In linguistics, critical language awareness (CLA) refers to an understanding of social, political, and ideological aspects of language, linguistic variation, and discourse. It functions as a pedagogical application of a critical discourse analysis (CDA), which is a research approach that regards language as a social practice. Critical language awareness as a part of language education teaches students how to analyze the language that they and others use. More specifically, critical language awareness is a consideration of how features of language such as words, grammar, and discourse choices reproduce, reinforce, or challenge certain ideologies and struggles for power and dominance.
Regarding linguistic variation, Fairclough argued that it is insufficient to teach students to use "appropriate" language without considering why that language is preferred and who makes that decision (as well as the implications for speakers who do not use "appropriate language").
CLA generally includes