This study analyzes the linguistic landscape of post-Soviet Bishkek in order to understand the relationship among Kyrgyz, Russian, and English, and society in the city. The linguistic landscape is the visible language on public and private signs in a given territory. In Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, the linguistic landscape not only includes the two languages given elevated status through the state's official language policy, Russian and Kyrgyz, but also comprises the English language. My study is based on 104 photographed signs, 15 interviews with young residents of Bishkek, and 40 hours of participant observation. I argue that the status and function of Kyrgyz, Russian, and English in Bishkek society are closely tied to language ideologies resulting from globalization, social and linguistic hierarchies, and nationalistic and educational legacies of Soviet state-building. My findings have implications for the creation and adoption of multilingual nationalism in post-Soviet space.


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pp. 227-255
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