Thursday, October 29, 2009

Embassies: India and Canada

I find it interesting (whether here or traveling abroad) to see how nation-states with more than one official language choose to display those languages in public spaces.

The entrance to the Embassy of India here in DC seems to subvert an implicit linguistic hierarchy, placing the Hindi inscription (भारत का राजदूतावास) "above" the equivalent inscription in the colonial language of English.

The Canadians, on the other hand, seem to emphasize the "equal status" of two languages by positioning them both in a single line below the nation's seal (English on the left, French on the right).

P.S. Here's another version of Canadian bilingualism (over doorway). Once again English is on the right and French on the left, with the seal in the middle, slightly raised:

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