Exploring the Role of English in Shaping the Linguistic Landscape: A Case Study of the Metropolitan area of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sutinee Potisuwan, Phongsakorn Methitham, Apichai Rungrueng


This study investigated the role of English as represented in signs in urban Chiang Mai, and explored English as used by government and nongovernment establishments for communication purposes and examined the linguistic landscape (LL) functions in the targeted areas. Over 600 signs were initially counted from three groups of places in the city. The study employed quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. The research instrument was an LL Sign Analysis Form. The results showed that the majority of the bilingual signs were English-Thai. While, English-Chinese-Thai formed the majority of the multilingual signs. Both official and nonofficial signs were mostly English-Thai. The main LL functions are information transmission and commercial functions. The findings suggest that English is increasingly becoming part of public sign usage in Thailand. These signs are also important in the distribution of information and the transmission of commercial interests.

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