Header menu link for other important links

The convergence of policy, commerce, and identity in the linguistic landscape of an Indian city

Published in Taylor & Francis

This study investigates the complex interplay between language policy and linguistic landscape (LL) in the city of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. It highlights how local governmental policy advocating for Tamil prominence in public signage interfaces with the sociolinguistic realities of the city. Despite the policy directives emphasising Tamil, English retains a dominant role, suggesting an ongoing negotiation between language policy and practical language needs, particularly in the commercial sphere. This scenario suggests the city's response to global realities while preserving regional linguistic diversity. The presence of regional languages such as Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, and Hindi in Vellore's LL also reflects the city's multicultural character. The incorporation of these languages not only points to an inclusive language policy accommodating diverse communities but also contributes to the city's multicultural identity. The differential language use in top-down government-sponsored signs and bottom-up community-driven signs reveals the complexities associated with policy formulation and implementation in multilingual, multiethnic contexts. In conclusion, the study underscores the value of LL analysis as an effective tool for assessing the ground-level impact of language policy, illuminating the power relations among languages, the status of various ethnolinguistic groups, and the effect of commercialisation on language use.

About the journal
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Open AccessNo