Negotiating Public Space: The Post-Soviet Linguistic Landscape in Kazakhstan

By Irina Moore.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 20, 2014 $US5.00

The purpose of this article is to understand the extent to which language practices coincide with official language policy in urban Kazakhstan. It provides a review of language policies in Kazakhstan since the country gained independence from the USSR and analyses the current sociolinguistic situation. A linguistic landscape approach is used to investigate language practices in the capital, Astana. A collection of photographs of public signage was collected from the three main districts of the city. These were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively, in terms of the frequency of appearance of specific languages, the order of their appearance in multilingual signs, font size, colour, etc. The article reports on this investigation and finds a considerable difference between official policy and language practices. To date, only a few research projects have analysed post-Soviet linguistic landscape. Consequently, this article highlights potential contributions of such an approach to the study of language and identity politics and helps deeper understanding of language use in the post-Soviet space.

Keywords: Linguistic Landscape, Kazakhstan, Language Policy, Bilingualism, Kazakh, Russian

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.1-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 20, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.945MB)).

Dr. Irina Moore

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, TESOL and Russian, School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications, Division of Humanities, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK

Irina Moore received a BA Honours in Russian Language and Literature from Vilnius Pedagogical University, Lithuania, and a PhD in Psycholinguistics from Moscow State Regional University. Before coming to Wolverhampton University, she taught Russian at Vilnius Pedagogical University and in the West Midlands at Keele University (UK). Irina currently teaches undergraduate modules in Structural Linguistics, Language and the Mind, EFL Advanced and Russian. She is also an external member of the Post – Graduate Progression Board at the Research Institute of Information and Language Processing at the University of Wolverhampton. Her research interests are centred on sociolinguistics, comparative psycholinguistics, theory of translation and language teaching methodology.