Linguistic landscape as an identifier of Ukrainian linguistic identity at the intersection of postcolonial and globalization processes

Author: Nataliia Mushyrovska (Rivne State Humanitarian University, Ukraine)
Speaker: Nataliia Mushyrovska
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2022 General Session


Linguistic identity is understood as a means of self-determination and self-identification in today’s globalized world. Especially relevant and interesting for the researcher is this problem in modern Ukraine, which remains a very dynamic community in the post-Soviet and European space. Identity has a direct connection with language, and language itself was a dominant element of Ukrainian identity, a manifestation of national and personal expression when there were no state factors. Nowadays Ukrainian language identity rid of signs of post-Soviet period and is facing the challenges of globalization.

In this paper we will try to find out how Ukrainian linguistic identity can be defined by analyzing the linguistic landscape of cities as the “visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory or region” (Landry and Bourhis 1997:23), i.e. in public space. Landry and Bourhis (1997) include in the “linguistic landscape” the following types of signs that may be the object of study: language of public road signs, advertising billboards, street names, place names, commercial shop signs, and public signs on government buildings combines to form the linguistic landscape of a given territory, region, or urban agglomeration. (Landry and Bourhis, 1997: 25). The correlation of languages in official inscriptions reflects the language policy top-down, and in commercial and informal inscriptions reflects bottom-up language practice, (Ben-Rafael et al. 2006, Backhaus 2007).

This work analyzes the functioning of Ukrainian and other languages in the urban language landscape, due to official and unofficial prerequisites, which are the result of the implementation of language policy, value processes (decommunization), the coexistence and commodification of languages in the context of globalization, the manifestation of language communities through the use of symbolic language systems and language errors.


Backhaus, P (2007): Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2007, 158.

Ben-Rafael, Е./ Shoami, Е./ Amara, М. / Hecht, N (2006): The symbolic construction of the public space: the case of Israel. International Journal of Multilingualism, 3/1, 7-28.
Gorter, D. (2006): Linguistic landscape: a new approach to multilingualism. Bristol : Multilingual Matters, 89.
Landry, R / R. Y. Bourhis. R.Y. (1997): Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology. Vol. 16. Iss. 1., 23-49.

Keywords: Keywords: linguistic landscape, sign, language, ethno-sociolinguistics, language policy, multilingualism, globalization