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Linguistic landscape in the city of Isfahan in Iran: The representation of languages and identities in Julfa

  • Saeed Rezaei ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Maedeh Tadayyon
From the journal Multilingua


This paper reports on the diversity of languages displayed in the linguistic landscape of Julfa district, a largely Armenian dominated area, in the city of Isfahan in Iran. The data included a corpus of 323 photographs taken from the top-down and bottom-up signage in this quarter of the city. Ethnographic fieldwork was also conducted to reach a deeper understanding of the linguistic landscape in Julfa. The results of the analyses indicated that Julfa, as home to Armenians in diaspora and also a luxurious neighborhood frequented by more modern strata of the Isfahani society, is occupied more noticeably with Persian and English language and to a lesser extent with Armenian language. The findings further revealed that this neighborhood represents not only Iranian but also Armenian and Christian identities. The results are analyzed based on Bourdieu’s theory of language as a symbolic power. Furthermore, the collective identity and language ecology of Julfa in Isfahan are discussed. At the end, some lines of research for further studies in the LL of Iran are provided.


The researchers would first of all like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of the journal for their constructive comments. They would also like to thank Dariush Izadi and Robert J. Blackwood for their comments on the early draft of this paper. Thanks also to Yaghisa Zargarian who deciphered some of the Armenian signs for us. Finally, the Research Department at Sharif University of Technology should be acknowledged for providing part of the funding for this project.


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Published Online: 2018-02-02
Published in Print: 2018-10-25

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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