Linguistic Landscape A New Approach to Multilingualism Edited by: Durk Gorter

Hardback - 96 pages
Related Formats:
26 Jul 2006
Multilingual Matters
248 x 168


Language is all around us as it is displayed in texts on shop windows, commercial signs, posters, official notices, etc. Given a multitude of languages there, it does not come as a surprise that an increasing number of researchers have taken a closer look at languages on signs in the public space. The book reports on studies of the linguistic landscape in cities in countries around the globe: Israel, Japan, Thailand, the Netherlands (Friesland) and Spain (the Basque Country). Their cultural, socio-economic and political circumstances are very divergent. Multimillion cities are included such as Bangkok and Tokyo, but also smaller cities such as Ljouwert-Leeuwarden and Donostia-San Sebastian. Multilingualism turns out to be an important dimension of the linguistic landscape everywhere, as well as the reflection of the process of globalisation, visible through the use of English. The study of the linguistic landscape is applied here as a means to increase our understanding of multilingualism and future directions are outlined.


This book is a welcome and useful addition to the study of language and space, particularly for its contribution of well needed empirical studies. The articles show how rich empirical data on linguistic landscapes and on the use of language on signs can be. They constitute original steps towards conceptualising their varied features and developing a methodological basis, but they show how much more work in these directions needs still to be done.

- Linguist List 18.1072 - Elke Laur

Author Biography:

Durk Gorter is head of the Social Sciences research group at the Fryske Akademy/Universiteit van Amsterdam and part-time professor of Frisian sociolinguistics at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. He has published on the sociolinguistics of Frisian, minority languages in Europe, trilingual education and language policy.The articles are written by experts on sociolinguistics and applied linguistics who are all involved in the study of multilingualism in its social context.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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