Proceedings of the LCTG3 Conference
Phattharathanit Srichomthong (Maejo University): Language globalization in Northern Thailand
| 371 →
Language globalization in Northern Thailand
As in many parts of the world, linguistic practice in northern Thailand has been affected by globalization. One arena in which this is evident is in the mixing of various languages displayed in permanent and temporary signage. The data used in this study involve four pattern repertoires of roadside signage found in public spaces. Signs with mixed languages are found most frequently in multilingual settings. The three other types involve signs in Thai, signs in foreign languages, and signs in Kam Mueang (the language of northern Thailand). English written in both English and Thai script is found most prominently among the types of signs. Multilingual and multiscript signage in northern Thailand is thus a manifestation of language contact and change resulting from the interaction of global and local socio-cultural phenomena. For example, the extensive spread of English along with the minor incorporation of some other foreign languages highlights the process of globalism at work in northern Thailand. At the same time, however, local language and culture (i.e. Kam Mueang and national Thai) is reinvigorated by this injection of the use of global culture and languages.