Materials and Methodological Solutions
English on the move: What’s beyond modernity and internationalism?
This article discusses the presence and prevalence of English in public spaces in one country which, in the Kachru’s (1985) paradigm, could be placed in the expanding circle.1 My observations are drawn from two field trips in Finland, a country in which the presence and importance of English has increased considerably during the past few decades as part of processes of linguistic globalization and mobility (Leppänen and Nikula 2007; Leppänen et al. 2011). The objective is to present evidence of how public signage with English are used in their context and of how such signs come to be locally interpreted in socially diverse contexts (Blommaert 2010: 2; Blommaert 2013: 118). The broad underlying aim of this article is to suggest areas for future studies on the presence of English in the expanding circle. In addition, focusing on the uses of English in public space means that this article approaches a widely-debated issue in the previous literature in linguistic landscape/signs in space studies. However, the objective here is move beyond the most obvious conclusions as to how English is used in advertisements and public signs as an index of modernity and internationalism; rather the objective is to present new ways of approaching English in sociolinguistic landscapes.2 The discussion here draws from the notions of semiotic landscapes, as suggested by Jaworski and Thurlow (2010), and from linguistic landscapes by Shohamy and Waksman (2009).
In their discussion of what actually constitutes linguistic landscape...
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