Linguistic Landscapes is the first comprehensive approach to a largely
under-explored sociolinguistic phenomenon: language on signs. Based on an
up-to-date review of previous research from various places around the
world, the book develops an analytical framework for the systematic
analysis of linguistic landscape data. This framework is applied to a
sample of 2,444 signs collected in 28 survey areas in central Tokyo.
Analytical categories include the languages contained and their
combinations, differences between official and nonofficial signs,
geographic distribution, availability of translation or transliteration,
linguistic idiosyncrasies, and the comparison of older and newer signs,
among others. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods, the analysis
yields some unique insights about the writers of multilingual signs, their
readers, and the languages and scripts in contact. Linguistic Landscapes
thus demonstrates that the study of language on signs has much to
contribute to research into urban multilingualism, as well as the study of
language and society as a whole.