Mapping the linguistic landscapes of the Marshall Islands

Isabelle Buchstaller*, Seraphim Alvanides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines code choices in the written linguistic landscape of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Due to a history of language imposition, the Marshall Islanders have long been denied the opportunity to express their linguistic identity in the public domain. A recently proposed bilingual language policy, which requires all public signs to be Marshallese-English bilingual, aims to change this status quo. We map language choices in the linguistic landscape of the RMI at the cusp of this policy with an eye on the stakeholders, production processes, and audiences involved in the creation and reception of the linguistic landscape. State-of-the-art geographical and regression analyses model the factors that govern code choices in the linguistic landscape of the RMI. Our findings allow us to pinpoint niches—both geographical as well as social—where the Marshallese assert their linguistic identity in the public realm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-85
JournalJournal of Linguistic Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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