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The Effect of Ethnicity on the Linguistic Landscape of Utrecht

By M. Smits


In this study the linguistic landscape of three neighbourhoods in Utrecht, the Netherlands, is analysed to discover whether the languages found there reflect the languages spoken by the community, and to discover how the use of visual language can distinguish one neighbourhood from the other based on its ethnic makeup. In order to do this, three neighbourhoods in Utrecht were analysed: the multicultural inner city, the almost purely Dutch Wittevrouwen and the mostly immigrant Kanaleneiland. All of the text in these neighbourhoods was photographed and analysed. The results showed that Dutch and English were very frequent, and eighteen other languages appeared infrequently. The expected result, Arabic and Turkish being more frequent in Kanaleneiland, was not supported by the findings: the ethnic makeup of the neighbourhoods in Utrecht does not seem to be related to the visual language encountered in the linguistic landscape

Topics: linguistic landscape, sociolinguistics, TMM, Utrecht, Ethnicity
Year: 2013
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