Article published in:Multilingual Landscapes and the Construction of Community
Edited by Leonie Gaiser and Yaron Matras
[Linguistic Landscape 6:2] 2020
► pp. 155–182
Multilingual voices of unification in ‘No man’s land’
Evidence from the Linguistic Landscape of Nicosia’s UN-controlled buffer zone
The island of Cyprus and Nicosia, its capital, have been divided by a UN-controlled buffer zone since the 1974 war. The ease of movement restrictions in 2003 saw Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots crossing into each other’s area after 30 years of complete separation and increased mobility, especially through the UN-controlled buffer zone at the Ledras Street crossing-point in Nicosia, interjected a new dynamic in the area. The analysis of photographic data collected over a period of three years from the Linguistic Landscape of the buffer zone reveals that ephemeral signs in Greek, Turkish, and English are used to establish connections and strengthen social ties between the former enemies, and to project ideologies that go against popular nationalist narratives. By adopting new conceptualisations of the term ‘community’ (Blokland, 2017), this study discusses how a new, imagined community can emerge in conflict-ridden contexts through the display of written public signs in the Linguistic Landscape.
Keywords: community, conflict, border, buffer zone, Cyprus, mobility, Linguistic Landscape, ephemeral signs, ideologies, identity
Published online: 14 July 2020
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