What is it about?

Many of the signs in Xichang (the capital of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China) have Nuosu script alongside Chinese characters. But the Nuosu writing may not be communicating linguistic messages on the surface. This study shows that there are other meanings.

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Why is it important?

The results of this ethnographic study make important contributions to our understanding of writing systems and linguistic landscapes. The uses and meanings of Nuosu script in Xichang illustrate how orthographies, language policies, and local language communities in multilingual and multicultural environments interact to negotiate and construct identities in broader political and social contexts.

Perspectives

I hope that reality-check material like this study can help give more empirical shape to the conversations about language policies, revitalization and literacy for minority languages.

Susan Gary Walters
SIL International

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This page is a summary of: Nuosu script in the linguistic landscape of Xichang, China: a sociocultural subtext, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, July 2022, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2022.2094388.
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