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ERIC Number: EJ1150870
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
Language for Profit: Spanish-English Bilingualism in Lowe's Home Improvement
Hepford, Elizabeth A.
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v20 n6 p652-666 2017
The USA is commonly portrayed as a country dominated by the ideology of monolingualism [Dick, Hilary Parsons. 2011. "Language and Migration to the United States." "Annual Review of Anthropology" 40: 227-240; Silverstein, Michael. 1996. "Monoglot 'Standard' in America: Standardization and Metaphors of Linguistic Hegemony." Chap. 14 in "The Matrix of Language: Contemporary Linguistic Anthropology," edited by Donald Brenneis and Ronald K. S. Macauley, 284-306. Boulder: Westview], yet such a portrayal misses the recent changes in the marketplace brought on by globalization. DuchĂȘne [2009. "Marketing, Management and Performance: Multilingualism as Commodity in a Tourism Call Centre." Language Policy 8: 27-50] and Heller [2010. "The Commodification of Language." "Annual Review of Anthropology" 39: 101-114] argue that in the global economy, multilingualism has become a commodity adding value to the product and a business strategy opening up niche markets in an oversaturated marketplace. In the USA, Spanish has become such a commodity--on TV, in billboards, in ATMs, and in the Lowe's Home Improvement chain. The present paper discusses a case study of a business in a free market economy valorizing language for purely economic gain. Lowe's was the first home improvement chain to react to an increase in Hispanic home ownership implementing a nationwide English-Spanish packaging and signage policy in 2005 [Lowe's Company Inc. 2005. "What Does Lowe's Have in Common with This Home?: 2005 Annual Report." Mooresville, NC]. This study explains the company's motivation for the policy and reveals adjustments made at the local level in response to the local environment. The results show that English remains the dominant language at all levels and compliance to policy varies depending on the amount of corporate involvement, the intent of the policy, and the location of the store.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A