A Pragmatic Cultural Analysis of American English versus Vietnamese Use in Shop Signs

Linh Ngoc Truong Pham


Shop signs with English elements are becoming more and more frequent in Vietnam as a result of trade and globalization, requiring thorough investigations into various aspects of English and Vietnamese use in shop signs for further practice. Prior research mostly explores shop signs from the perspectives of linguistic landscape, linguistic transfer, and ADVERTISING discourse, in which the comparative culture and pragmatics are mentioned but remain insufficient to a large extent. This study tries to fill the gap by making a pragmatic cultural comparison of English and Vietnamese use in shop signs, applying the theoretical and analytical framework of cultural linguistics in relation to pragmatics by Sharifian (2017). More than 400 shop signs of each language have been randomly collected from many places in the US and Vietnam respectively for the contrastive analysis. The results show vast similarities in the knowledge of some situational contexts (pragmemes) underlying the same speech acts/events performed by the American English and Vietnamese shop signs associated with the pragmatic cultural schema of ADVERTISING. Many differences are highlighted in the pragmemes and practs (realizations of pragmemes) with the cultural conceptualizations relating to collective implications, signature objects, foreign elements, home-made origins, official origins, health commitment, establishment year, family references, and ethics. The study has finally made a positive contribution to the strategies of shop sign translation or creation with English (assumed from the American backgrounds) in monolingual, bilingual and hybrid contexts of Vietnam.


Shop Sign, Pragmatic Set, Cultural Conceptualization, ADVERTISING, Translation, American English, Vietnamese

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.10n.6p.26


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