The Linguistic Landscape of Patna: An Empirical Study

Author: Nusrat Begum, Sweta Sinha (Indian Institute of Technology Patna)
Speaker: Nusrat Begum, Sweta Sinha
Topic: Language in real and virtual spaces
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Linguistic landscape (LL) refers to linguistic objects that mark public spaces. It can also be used as a tool to interpret language vitality in a given territory. This paper presents first empirical study of the linguistic landscapes of Patna, the capital city of Bihar, India. Bihar has a rich linguistic heritage where different languages like Hindi, Urdu, Angika, Bajjika, Magahi, Maithili and Bhojpuri are predominantly spoken. Santali and Oriya are also important languages spoken in Bihar whose speakers are spread across the State.

The research aims to find out the visibility of languages in the landscape of Patna and to see the differences between top down and bottom up signs. The data corpus compiled for the study comprised 70 signs, photographed at two shopping streets of Boring Road, Patna. Diversity or heterogeneity sampling method has been employed to collect data. Data has been analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively as well. The findings exhibit direct reflection of government policy on linguistic landscapes with no visibility of other Bihari languages. English, being the language of globalization along with Hindi which is the official language of Bihar dominate the linguistic landscape. In addition, Urdu, second official language of Bihar is also visible in top down signs. Also, emergence of script mixing phenomenon has been noted in public spaces of Patna.


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Keywords: Linguistic landscape, languages of Bihar, language and politics, linguistic sustainability