Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1. March 2022 Pp.426-449
Linguistic Landscape of Bilingual Shop Signs in Saudi Arabia
Wafa Jeza Alotaibi
English Language Institute, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Deanship of Community Service and Continuous Education,
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Received: 12/29/2021 Accepted: 2/14/2022 Published:3/24/2022
Shop signs are a visible indication of the linguistic landscape of a place, hence the need for public policies to control, particularly, bottom-up signs in situations where there are issues, such ensuring consistency and correct representation in the second language. To investigate the linguistic landscape of bilingual shop signs in Saudi Arabia, this study examines the lettering in bilingual shop signs in shopping malls in Riyadh and Jeddah in terms of relative size, information, and the quality of English-Arabic (E-A) and Arabic-English (A-E) transliteration or translation. This was done in view of the national policy in Saudi Arabia which aims to ensure correct Arabisation when inconsistencies have been observed in the Arab world. Moreover, it gives an indication of the linguistic landscape, which is necessary given the need to prepare the kingdom for the Saudi 2030 Vision and cater to the growing number of international visitors. Altogether, 184 signboards were observed and categorised, of which 68 were shortlisted for further analysis. Of these, 54 were A-E signs and 17 were E-A signs, with two in both categories. The majority (83.3%) of signs were bilingual with slight variation in relative size and display of information. Same sized lettering was displayed in 66.7%, and the same information in 64.8%. Remedial suggestions are given for language policy-makers to address the issue found of a few inconsistent and erroneous transliterations and spellings, which together accounted for 9.3%. Overall, the case is not as bad in Saudi Arabia as noted in some other Arab countries.
Keywords: English- Arabic transliteration, English-Arabic translation, bilingual shop signs, language policy, linguistic landscape
Cite as: Alotaibi, W. J., & Alamri, O. (2022). Linguistic Landscape of Bilingual Shop Signs in Saudi Arabia
Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) 426-449
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