Language Use in Aksum Linguistic Landscape

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Addis Ababa University


The purpose of the study is to examine the language use in Aksum linguistic landscape. In order to meet this purpose the required data are collected through photographing, observation, semi-structured interviews held with business owners and customers. The result of the study has been analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively to determine the order of languages, prominence of languages, translation, transliteration, mixing of languages, characteristics of multilingual signs and language choice in the government and private signs. According to the findings, Amharic and Tigrigna are the most prominent languages in the linguistic landscape. The distribution of these languages differs across government and private agencies in the language choice and categories on signs. In the government signs Tigrigna is more visible. This might be due to the language policy practices of the government agencies. Amharic is dominant in private signs. This is due to the objective of business owners to attract customers who come from different parts of Ethiopia. The findings also show that English is visible in the public space due to status as an international language and the fact that Aksum is a tourist destination. The study reveals that Tigrigna signs show structural variations in the position of heads in phrases. There is also code-mixing in translation of texts in signs. There are word for word translations and transliterations of texts in signs.



language use in Aksum linguistic landscape