Bir Dilsel Çevre İncelemesi: Van’ın Merkez İpekyolu İlçesine Bağlı Cumhuriyet CaddesiBilge Merve Karadağ
Dilsel çevre araştırmaları dilin kamusal alanda yazılı biçimde kullanılmasını incelemektedir. Dilin kamusal alanda görülmesi dilsel çevreyi belirlemekte ve incelenen bölgenin toplum dilbilimsel durumu hakkında veriler sunmaktadır. Herhangi bir dilin kamusal alanda görülme yoğunluğu onun önemi, gücü, statüsü, başka dillerle veya kişilerle olan ilişkisi hakkında sembolik mesajlar ortaya çıkarmaktadır. Mevcut araştırma Van’ın merkez İpekyolu ilçesine bağlı olan Cumhuriyet Caddesi üzerinde bulunan özel ve devlet işaretlerini dilsel çevre teorileri çerçevesinde analiz etmektedir.
A Linguistic Landscape Study: Cumhuriyet Street in the İpekyolu District of VanBilge Merve Karadağ
Linguistic landscape studies examine the use of language in the public sphere as the presence of language in a common physical field determines the linguistic landscape, and provides data on the sociolinguistic status of the region studied. This prevalence of language visibility in the public sphere offers symbolic messages about its importance, power, status, and its relationship with other languages or persons in that location. The present research analyzes the private and state owned signs on Cumhuriyet Avenue, which are connected to the central Ipekyolu district of Van, within the framework of linguistic landscape theories.
The term “linguistic landscape” has come to play a key role in a number of sciences due to the ongoing interest in multilingualism, globalization, and language ecology. The study and analysis of the linguistic environment function as a specific diagnosis of the state of the social, cultural, political, and economic structures of a society. A linguistic environment study can, for example, reflect the ideological conflicts among language communities that are part of a language policy in a specific region.
Questions related to the concept of the linguistic environment first came to the fore with applications that emerged in the field of language planning. Therefore, language planning authorities have included rules regarding the languages to be used in signage and signs in their language policies. The use and preference of different languages on signage reflect the relative power, status, and economic importance of the various languages used in a region. Therefore, regulations regarding the linguistic environment are generally in line with the language policy of a particular government regarding the use of languages in education, media, social and economic life, or other fields.
The linguistic environment has two functions: informative and symbolic. The former denotes the boundaries of the region of a linguistic group, i.e., it shows which languages predominately come to the fore in the communication or commercial fields. The latter, expresses the value and status of the specific language perceived by a language community in relation to other languages.
Linguistic environment analysis uses photography and visual analysis as its primary method. In this paper’s underlying research, signs on Cumhuriyet Street, the busiest and most crowded street in the central İpekyolu district of Van, were examined. A total of 331 signs have been identified on the specified route, categorized as either private or official state signs. The paper utilizes results from various sources, including reports of research and consultancy companies, those from the Turkish Statistical Institute, newspaper articles, and comments regarding linguistic landscapes found in previous research articles. Based on this research, this paper demonstrates how Turkiye’s official language policy is implemented from the bottom-up and top-down via individuals and institutions, whether there is a difference in official and private usage, and determines the Van’s prestige language.
Since the first Turkish censuses in 1927, questions about mother tongue and second language had been asked until the census of 1985. As of the 1970 census, the transcribed responses to the language questions were delivered only to state institutions such as the Presidency, Prime Ministry, and National Intelligence Organization.
A large number of the tourists coming to Van are from Iran, Iraq, and Syria, countries that border Turkiye, leading to an increase in the Arabic code preference in this city today. According to the statistics used in the Language Situation section in Van, the local population, whose mother tongue is Kurdish, constitutes the majority. Nonetheless, as a result of the examination of the bottom-up markings, this population prefers to use Turkish—the official language in commerce and daily life—followed by English, and Kurdish is only used in one sign. Bilingual usage in signs comprises mostly of Turkish and English or Turkish and Arabic combinations. In this case, clearly, the businesses in Van aim to reach non-Turkish speakers and thus, use English, the global prestige language in their signage. This could also be directed toward attracting the attention of local speakers.
Globally, several studies focus on the concept of linguistic environment; however, the research related to the linguistic environment in the Turkish language is quite sparse. Therefore, we hope that the current research will lead future scholars to conduct more detailed and intensive studies on this subject.