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Language Contact Around the Globe

Proceedings of the LCTG3 Conference


Edited By Amei Koll-Stobbe and Sebastian Knospe

The fifth volume in the series Language Competence and Language Awareness in Europe unites a collection of peer-reviewed papers delivered at the Third Conference on Language Contact in Times of Globalization (LCTG3) at the University of Greifswald in 2011. The papers are arranged in five thematic sections: Part I studies lexical and grammatical borrowing and pseudo-loans. Part II looks at code-switching and language intertwining in different contexts, while Part III is concerned with the power, political backup and use of different languages in multilingual settings. This is followed by Part IV which comprises three articles on the Linguistic Landscapes of different urban areas. Finally, Part V focuses on language choices in literature and institutional settings.
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Phattharathanit Srichomthong (Maejo University): Language globalization in Northern Thailand


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Language globalization in Northern Thailand

Phattharathanit Srichomthong


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.

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