NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1086159
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
English in the Japanese Linguistic Landscape: A Motive Analysis
Rowland, Luke
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v37 n1 p40-55 2016
Linguistic landscape (LL) research seeks to account for the visible displays of multilingualism on public signage. While surveys of signage in the LL produce quantitative descriptions of language contact in a given area, such analyses shed little light on people's interpretations of multilingual signs. Moreover, even within more qualitative inquiries, after eliciting people's stated understandings of linguistic phenomena, the analyst is faced with "interpreting the (participants') interpretations" of the roles and functions of languages on public display. As one means of achieving this in a principled and revealing way, this article discusses the discourse analytic method known as "motive analysis," developed by Kenneth Burke. Burke's concern was how and why people impute motives to human action through language use. By focusing on Japanese university students' perceptions of multilingual signage, this study outlines three distinct characterisations of the motivations behind English language use on signage in the Japanese LL. The students' interpretations draw upon discourses of commercialism, cultural essentialism, and globalisation, and accordingly project both materialist and idealist worldviews. The article concludes that motive analysis, used in conjunction with a folk linguistics approach, is a particularly apposite method for providing coherent and defensible analyses of people's interpretations of societal multilingualism.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A