Singapore’s Balancing Act, from the Perspective of the Linguistic Landscape

  title={Singapore’s Balancing Act, from the Perspective of the Linguistic Landscape},
  author={Peter K. W. Tan},
  journal={Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia},
  pages={438 - 466}
  • Peter K. W. Tan
  • Published 1 July 2014
  • Linguistics
  • Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
Messages displayed or exposed in public spaces have begun to receive attention from scholars, as they turn to the study of what has been referred to as the linguistic landscape or as geosemiotics — if we consider how the text interacts with the social and physical world. Like traditional media, these messages are also public communication, in that the designated audience is the general passer-by rather than specific individuals. In multilingual and multicultural areas of the world, the extent… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Linguistic landscaping in Singapore: multilingualism or the dominance of English and its dual identity in the local linguistic ecology?

ABSTRACT Although Singapore, a linguistically and ethnically diverse city–state, uses four official languages, namely Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English, which are supposed to enjoy equal status,

Linguistic landscape in Singapore: what shop names reveal about Singapore’s multilingualism

ABSTRACT The visibility and salience of specific languages in public spaces are important parameters of their ethnolinguistic vitality in a society. Drawing upon data from first-hand fieldwork, this

Bottom-up multilingualism in Singapore: Code choice on shop signs

Characterized by a politically censorious and highly regulated society, Singapore is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated authoritarian systems in history (Lee, 2005). As in many

Singapore hawker centres

  • C. Lee
  • Linguistics
    Journal of Asian Pacific Communication
  • 2022
This paper is a sociolinguistic study of the linguistic landscape of signboards in Singapore hawker centres. It examines the language(s) displayed on the signboards of 2,145 stalls in the 20

The Semiotics of Multilingual Desire in Hong Kong and Singapore’s Elite Foodscape

This article considers a form of marketing strategy among upmarket food and beverage establishments in Hong Kong and Singapore involving the use of Chinese text in their decor. Although the two

Spectacular language and creative marketing in a Singapore tailor shop

ABSTRACT A tailor shop located in Singapore’s Chinatown is explored as a case of creative linguistic marketing practice, examining how such practice can be understood in relation to the interaction

Linguistic Landscape and Authenticity in a Japanese Supermarket in Singapore

Abstract This study examines the linguistic landscape of a Japanese supermarket in Singapore. Building on linguistic landscape research, this study focuses on cross-cultural, cross-linguistic, and

Unobvious and Hidden Parallels in Eurasian Legal and Cultural Space: Can Singaporean Experience Be Used in Russia?

Once Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Founding father of the modern State of Singapore, offered the Singapore’s political experience to Vladimir Putin during their meeting. He was not heard and Putin claimed that

Language Ideologies, Chinese Identities and Imagined Futures

Since independence in 1965, the Singapore government has established a strongly mandated education policy with an English-first and official mother tongue Mandarin-second bilingualism. A majority of

The languages of places of worship in the Kuala Lumpur area: A study on the “religious” linguistic landscape in Malaysia

This article presents the results of a piece of research on the languages used in places of worship carried out in the Kuala Lumpur area (Malaysia). Seven different places of worship were selected (a



The semiotics of language ideologies in Singapore1

As an ethnically and linguistically diverse society, Singapore has had to grapple with the problem of how to manage this diversity across a range of contexts, thus making it a particularly

The Incongruence of the Breton Linguistic Landscape for Young Speakers of Breton

Abstract Globalisation processes, often accused of imposing uniformity the world over, also open up opportunities for minorities (including linguistic ones) to exploit a variety of spaces for

Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality

Linguistic landscape refers to the visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in agiven territory or region. It is proposed that the linguistic landscape may serve important

Linguistic Landscape as Symbolic Construction of the Public Space: The Case of Israel

Linguistic landscape (LL) refers to linguistic objects that mark the public space. This paper compares patterns of LL in a variety of homogeneous and mixed Israeli cities, and in East Jerusalem. The

Linguistic landscape in the city

Introduction by Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Elana Shohamy, Monica BarniPart I: LL multilingualisms 1. Monica Barni and Carla Bagna: Linguistic Landscapes and language vitality 2. Jeffrey L. Kallen and Esther

New Research Directions in Toponomastics and Linguistic Landscapes

The emerging interdisciplinary field of linguistic landscape studies concentrates specifically on the use of language in public spaces, for example on road/street signs, on shop signs, building signs

Individual agency in language planning: Chinese script reform as a case study

The literature of language policy and planning (LPP) focuses predominantly on the process of policy formulation and planning programs for implementation, i.e., to use Cooper’s terms, on ‘why’, ‘what’

From Statistical to Geolinguistic Data: Mapping and Measuring Linguistic Diversity

A new methodology for mapping and measuring linguistic diversity in a territory, in which each point surveyed identifies the languages spoken and the various linguistic manifestations is described.

Linguistic landscape : a new approach to multilingualism

Contents 1. Introduction: The Study of the Linguistic Landscape as a New Approach to Multilingualism - Durk Gorter (Fryske Akademy, Universiteit van Amsterdam) 2. Linguistic Landscape as Symbolic

Linguistic landscape: expanding the scenery

Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery Elana Shohamy and Durk Gorter eds. Introduction Elana Shohamy and Durk Gorter Part I: Theoretical Perspectives Linguistic Landscaping and the Seed of the