Thursday, May 26, 2016

Linguistic Landscape of San Antonio

A linguistic landscape is visual languages that are used and seen in public places of a given region. I a looking at the linguistic landscape of San Antonio, TX. Hult went around multiple major highways in San Antonio and documented what languages are used in the visible signs. He went here because of the know powerful influence that Mexico has had in the region. These are the highways that were used to analyze and process.

For this study he only used billboard and business signs to analyze for practicality. Hult made a table of the results and these are his findings.

He found that there is clear English linguistic dominance in the LL of San Antonio. This is interesting when you compare it to census data that is given that take account Spanish speakers in the city. The sociolinguistic practices of the people who live in San Antonio are not being represented along the major highway systems that are commonly used by most of the cities population.

Hult, F. M. (2014). Drive-thru linguistic landscaping: Constructing a linguistically dominant place in a bilingual space. International Journal of Bilingualism18(5), 507-523.


  1. I find the concept of a "linguistic landscape" quite intriguing. Though Hult's method of recording languages in particular regions based on signage was interesting, I wonder if there is another way to determine the prominence of specific languages from region to region. For example, perhaps through looking at the categories of language use, English-speaking ability, and linguistic isolation on the U.S. census; I am curious if this would be more or less accurate/specific.

  2. The disparity between census data reports on Spanish speakers in San Antonio versus what was found by this study's highway sign data is an interesting occurrence. I wonder if the researchers expanded their data collection to other forms of advertising along the highway corridors with this difference in the data disappear. It may be possible that the billboard and business signs chosen for practicality purposes skewed the result of the study. There could be larger social conditions at play that are responsible for the under-representation of Spanish speakers in media displayed along highways.