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Linguistic Landscape and Language Policies: A Comparative Study of Linköping University and ETH Zürich
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Language and Culture. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Examining the languages in the public space i.e. the linguistic landscape is an emerging field of sociolinguistics, and research focused on the relationship between the linguistic landscape (LL) and language policy has recently garnered particular interest.

This paper aims to study the linguistic landscapes of two different universities (Linköping University and ETH Zürich) in two different countries (Sweden and Switzerland, respectively) with rather different language policies. The aim is to ascertain some of the striking differences, as well as, the similarities between the two universities in terms of the public use of languages. Apart from the study of LL, the paper investigates the relationship between LL and language policy, and uncovers any contrasts which take place between top-down (posted by the university staff) and bottom-up (not inscribed by the university personnel) forces.

The study of LL in these two universities is particularly interesting; since they are home to many international students; it is thus quite likely that the national languages are not the only languages found in the linguistic landscape. Furthermore, as Sweden is a monolingual country (basically Swedish), and Switzerland is a multilingual country (German, French, Italian and Romansch), comparing the two could yield insightful results regarding the public use of different languages in these different linguistic settings. Moreover, because of the influence universities have on society, studying the university space is of importance.

This study tries to answer to the following research questions:

  1. What are the visible languages in the linguistic landscape of LiU and ETH? How are languages distributed in different areas? What is the status of English in proportion to other languages in bilingual signs? How are languages distributed in top-down and bottom-up signs? What kinds of multilingual signs are present? What is a clear classification scheme for signs found in the LL, and how are languages distributed in this scheme?
  2. What are the language policies of these two universities? Are there any policies regarding the languages written on signs? Are the language policies reflected in patterns of language use on signs, and are they reflected in top-down signs more visibly than in bottom-up signs?
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 64 p.
Keyword [en]
Linguistic landscape, language policy
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-86009ISRN: LIU-IKK/MPLCE-A--12/09--SEOAI: diva2:574524
Subject / course
Master's Programme in Language and Culture in Europe
2012-08-30, 4410, 08:00 (English)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-12-13 Created: 2012-12-05 Last updated: 2012-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Yavari, Sonia
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