Inclusion of The Minority Language on Public Signs: Multilingualism in the Deep South of Thailand

Authors

อ.ดร.อารี มโนสุทธิกิจ, นายพีระพงษ์ สวยกระโทก

Published

NIDA Journal of Language and Communication

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the linguistic landscape (LL) through signs seen in the southernmost communities of Thailand with a specific focus on Patani-Malay, a minority language, yet a mother tongue of the majority of people in the regions. Six streets of each central city of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat were this study’s research locale where a variety of text signs were collected as digital photos and were then coded based on: 1) the number of languages written on the signs (monolingual, bilingual or multilingual); and 2) the types of signs (official or private). The findings revealed that a number of languages (eg, Thai, English, Chinese, Bahasa Malay, Arabic, French, Japanese, and Patani-Malay) could be detected on the signs on which a single language was most apparent. More specifically, Patani-Malay is inclusively and mainly present on many multilingual public signs along with other languages. Furthermore, through the lens of the trend magnet model proposed by Lee (2015) and some other sociolinguistic aspects, concepts of globalization, regionalization, nationalism and localization should dictate that mentioned languages be placed on signs. This study on multilingualism could shed light on and serve as the foundation for LL studies in Thailand, especially in the southernmost contexts. Significantly, multilingual concepts should also be made to extend the use of Patani-Malay in wider range of domains of language use.