Perceptions of invisible Zhuang minority language in Linguistic Landscapes of the People’s Republic of China and implications for language policy
The article presents data from a 2013–2019 ethnography of Zhuang language policy to support an analysis of implications for language policy research and scholarship of findings about the (in)visibility of publicly displayed Zhuang. The analysis challenges core assumptions of language policy-making, advocacy and scholarship and explicates the general implications of this challenge beyond China, particularly for minority languages. The most important assumption that this article interrogates is that a written language on display will be recognised as that language by its speakers. Further, it argues that literacy, script, and other language policies impact on display policies and must work together; they do not in the Zhuang case. In making a case for language policy informed by ethnographic research, this article reviews the foundations of socially-situated analyses of Linguistic Landscapes. To galvanise further such research and articulate it to policy-makers, the article employs the term ‘lived landscape approach’.
Keywords: language policy goals, ethnography, semiotic landscapes, mobility, lived landscape approach, subjectivity
Published online: 25 May 2021
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