Background and Purpose: Scripts have strong relationship with religion, culture, and identity. This research was conducted to analyze how choice of different language scripts indicates identity crisis by observing placement, size, and preference of one code over the other. Furthermore, it also demonstrates the existence of plurilingual practices on linguistic landscapes.


Methodology: The relationship of scripts with culture and religion was analyzed by following the theoretical framework of semiotics given by Scollon and Scollon (2003) and Huebner (2006). Data was collected through photographs of linguistic landscapes and passersby interviews. Altogether, a corpus of 1064 photographs was collected from three cities in Pakistan (i.e Rawalpindi, Islamabad & Wah Cantt) and 10 passersby were interviewed.


Findings: Data analysis reveals some distinctive linguistic modifications in shop signs and billboards; including deviation in spellings, transliteration, linguistic hybridity, vocabulary, visual representation of language, lack of knowledge of Urdu vocabulary, acceptance of English vocabulary as part of Urdu language and use of sub-standard English vocabulary.


Contribution: The research concludes that erroneous use of language and transliteration practices cause hybrid hybridity. Moreover, considering Urdu alternatives as an oddity, along with inability to retrieve Urdu vocabulary are major challenges for policy makers to promote and implement Urdu language policies.


Keywords: Linguistic landscape, plurilingualism, script and identity, transliteration, translanguaging, linguistic hybridity.


Cite as: Atta, A. (2021). Scripts on linguistic landscapes: A marker of hybrid identity in urban areas of Pakistan.  Journal of Nusantara Studies, 6(2), 58-96.

Author Biography

Aqsa Atta, University of Wah, Quaid Avenue, Wah, Rawalpindi, Punjab 47040, Pakistan.

Ms Aqsa Atta is working as a lecturer at Department of English, University of Wah, Wah Cantt Pakistan since March 2012. She is pursuing her PhD degree from Foundation University Islamabad under the supervision of Dr Swaleha Bano Naqvi. Earlier, she received her MS degree from Air University Islamabad, Pakistan. She received her master degrees in English Language Teaching (ELT) and English Literature from Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore and Punjab University, Lahore Pakistan respectively. Her areas of research include Applied Linguistics and ELT.


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