Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 30 (4) Dec. 2022 / JSSH-8486-2021


Diversity, Adversity, and Inclusiveness: Student Experiences of a Linguistic Landscape

Maneerat Chuaychoowong

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 30, Issue 4, December 2022

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.30.4.06

Keywords: Bilingual, diversity, linguistic landscape, monolingual, multilingual, signs, student experience, university

Published on: 15 December 2022

This study examines the display of languages on signs and how this has shaped student experiences of the linguistic landscape on campus. The research site is a Thai University that has conducted English medium of instruction (EMI). As a result of its English policy, the university has attracted students with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Two main questions are ‘What is the representation of languages on signs on campus?’ and ‘How have Thai and international students’ experiences been shaped by the linguistic landscape? Photos of linguistic tokens and semi-structured interviews were taken to gain insight into student experiences and perspectives. The analysis of 815 linguistic tokens revealed monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual signs. While Thai was the dominant language, English was indicated as a lingua franca on campus. The displays of different languages showed the diversity of university members. However, an adverse effect on international students was expressed when their language was solely displayed on signs. Although international students expressed opposition when their language was used in negative signs, bilingual and multilingual signs were generally well received by university members.

  • Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2006). Language and the experience of learning university physics in Sweden. European Journal of Physics, 27(3), 553-560. https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/27/3/009

  • Al-Athwary, A. A. H. (2014). Translating shop signs into English in Sana’a’s streets: A linguistic analysis. The International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(12), 140-156.

  • Alomoush, O. I. S., & Al-Naimat, G. K. (2020). English in the linguistic landscape of Jordanian shopping malls: Sociolinguistic variation and translanguaging. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 7(1), 101-115.

  • Backhaus, P. (2005). Signs of multilingualism in Tokyo: A diachronic look at the linguistic landscape. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 175, 103-121. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.2005.2005.175-176.103

  • Backhaus, P. (2007). Multilingualism in Tokyo: A look into the linguistic landscape. In D. Gorter (Ed.), Linguistic landscape: A new approach to multilingualism (pp. 52-66). Multilingual Matters.

  • Ben-Rafael, E. (2009). A sociological approach to the study of linguistic landscapes. In E. Shohamy & D. Gorter (Eds.), Linguistic landscapes: Expanding the scenery (pp. 40-54). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203930960-9

  • Ben-Rafael, E., Shohamy, E., Amara, M. H., & Trumper-Hecht, N. (2006). Linguistic landscape as symbolic construction of the public space: The case of Israel. International Journal of Multilingualism, 3(1), 67-80. https://doi.org/10.1080/14790710608668383

  • Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

  • Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2006). Linguistic landscape and minority languages. International Journal of Multilingualism, 3(1), 67-80. https://doi.org/10.1080/14790710608668386

  • Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2012). Language policy in education: Additional languages. In B. Spolsky (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of language policy (pp. 301-319). Cambridge University Press.

  • Choi, J., Tatar, B., & Kim, J. (2019). Bilingual signs at an ‘English only’ Korean university: Place-making and ‘global’ space in higher education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 24(9), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2019.1610353

  • Coleman, J. A. (2006). English-medium teaching in European higher education. Language Teaching, 39(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1017/s026144480600320x

  • Crystal, D. (2000). Language death (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.

  • Deakins, E. (2009). Helping students value cultural diversity through research-based teaching. Higher Education Research & Development, 28(2), 209-226. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360902725074

  • Division of Registrar. (2018). Students statistics. https://reg.mfu.ac.th/regpage/studentstat/studentstat.htm

  • Ferguson, G. (2012). English in language policy and management. In B. Spolsky (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of language policy (pp. 475-498). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511979026.029

  • Ferguson, G. (2016). Language planning and education. Edinburgh University Press.

  • Gaiser, L., & Matras, Y. (2016). The spatial construction of civic identities: A study of Manchester’s linguistic landscapes. http://mlm.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ManchesterLinguisticLandscapes.pdf

  • Gorter, D. (2006). Introduction: The study of the linguistic landscape as a new approach to multilingualism. In D. Gorter (Ed.), Linguistic landscape: A new approach to multilingualism (pp. 1-6). Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853599170-001

  • Gorter, D. (2007). The linguistic landscape in Rome: Aspects of multilingualism and diversity. IPRS.

  • Gorter, D., & Cenoz, J. (2015). Linguistic landscapes inside multilingual schools. In B. Spolsky, M. Tannenbaum & O. Inbar (Eds.), Challenges for language education and policy: Making space for people (pp. 151-169). Routledge.

  • Guo, M. H., & Li, J. (2015). Errors in public sign translation and application of adaptation theory. English Language Teaching, 3(3), 1-6.

  • Huebner, T. (2006). Bangkok’s linguistic landscapes: Environmental print, codemixing, and language change. International Journal of Multilingualism, 3(1), 31-51. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853599170-003

  • Hynes, P. (2012). Welsh language policy: A study of the linguistic landscape at Cardiff University (Master’s thesis, Cardiff University). https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-artslaw/cels/essays/appliedlinguis tics/MACDCCDissertationPhilipHaynes.pdf

  • James, G., & Watt, N. (1992). The problems of overseas students in New Zealand universities. Many Voices: A Journal of New Settlers and Multicultural Education Issues, 3, 5-8.

  • Jing-Jing, W. A. N. G. (2015). Linguistic landscape on campus in Japan: A case study of signs in Kyushu University. Intercultural Communication Studies, 24(1), 123-144.

  • Kam, H. W. (2006). English language teaching in East Asia today: An overview. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 22(2), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/0218879020220203

  • Kim, K. R. (2011). Korean professor and student perceptions of the efficacy of English medium instruction. Linguistic Research, 28(3), 711-741.

  • Klaassen, R. G., & De Graaff, E. (2001). Facing innovation: Preparing lecturers for English medium instruction in a non-native context. European Journal of Engineering Education, 26(3), 281-289.

  • Kuteeva, M. (2020). Revisiting the ‘E’ in EMI: Students’ perceptions of standard English, lingua franca and translingual practices. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 23(3), 287-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2019.1637395

  • Landry, R., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1997). Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 16(1), 23-49.

  • Mae Fah Luang University. (2017). Vision and mission statement. https://www.mfu.ac.th/about-mfu/introduction-mfu/vision.html

  • Maffi, L. (2005). Linguistic, cultural and biological diversity. Annual Review of Anthropology, 34, 599-617. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.34.081804.120437

  • Mautner, G. (2014). Signs of the times: A discourse perspective on public signage, urban space and the law. In A. Jaworski, & N. Coupland (Eds.), The discourse reader (3rd ed., pp. 386-403). Routledge.

  • McCarty, T., & Chen, R. (2014). Linguistic diversity. Education. https://doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0116

  • Pehlivan, A. (2018). Medium of instruction policies: Turkish Cypriots and their reflections on instructional technologies. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.29333/ejmste/85107

  • Phillips, C. (2011). Sign language: Interpreting the linguistic landscape of a Manitoba town [Master’s thesis, University of Manitoba]. https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/ bitstream/handle/1993/5088/phillips_cindy.pdf? sequence=1

  • Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford University Press.

  • Ricento, T. (2015). Political economy and English as a “global” language. In T. Ricento (Ed.), Language and policy & political economy (pp. 27-47). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199363391.003.0002

  • Rose, H., & McKinley, J. (2017). Japan’s English-medium instruction initiatives and the globalization of higher education. Higher Education, 75(1), 111-129. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-017-0125-1

  • Rubdy, R. (2001). Creative destruction: Singapore’s speak good English movement. World Englishes, 20(3), 341-355. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-971X.00219

  • Shohamy, E., & Gorter, D. (2009). Introduction. In E. Shohamy & D. Gorter (Eds.), Linguistic landscape: Expanding the scenery (pp. 1-10). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203930960

  • Singhasiri, W. (2013, July 18-21). Linguistic landscape in the state railway station of Thailand: The analysis of the use of language. In The Inaugural European Conference on Language Learning 2013 (pp. 124-132). The International Academic Forum. http://papers.iafor.org/wp-content/uploads/conference-proceedings/ECLL/ECLL2013_proceedings.pdf

  • Siricharoen, A. (2016). Multilingualism in the linguistic landscape of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Manusya Journal of Humanities, 19(3), 12-24. https://doi.org/10.1163/26659077-01903002

  • Söderlundh, H. (2013). Applying transnational strategies locally: English as a medium of instruction in Swedish higher education. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 13(1), 113-132. https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.278

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2014, May 30). Multilingualism: A key to inclusive education [Press release]. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/member-states/single-view/news/multilingualism_a_key_to_inclusive_education/

  • Yavari, S. (2012). Linguistic landscape and language policies: A comparative study of Linköping University and ETH Zürich [Master’s thesis, Linköping University]. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:574524/FULLTEXT01.pdf

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Related Articles