English as the Lingua Franca in Visual Touristic Jordan: The Case of Petra

Omar Ibrahim Salameh Alomoush, Ghazi Khaleel Al-Na’imat


This article examines the linguistic landscape (LL henceforth) of a southern Jordanian town, Petra. It also attempts to display how English is used by both commercial shops and companies in the local tourist industry to construct and shape touristic visual Jordan. All linguistic signs were photographed by using a digital camera and coded according to function (e.g., government and commercial signage) and language (e.g., English, Arabic, French, Spanish, etc.). The current article has already taken into account ethnographic developments in LL methodology and directly involved with individuals from the foreign tourist population and local residents (e.g., shopkeepers, restaurant workers and owners, and so on) to identify how the English language has been negotiated and used as the lingua franca of the local and foreign tourist populations and a symbol of linguistic globalization in the LL of touristic Jordan. Although many languages have found a relatively long-lived niche in the LL of Jordanian cities in previous LL studies (Alomoush, 2015), the current study results indicate that the touristic public space is largely dominated and controlled by the English language in the sense that there is much higher vitality of English than other languages, including Arabic in the LL. This is closely associated with the reciprocal relationship between English and globalization, communicative and economic motivations, and the participants’ positive attitudes toward English.


English, Lingua Franca, Globalization, Linguistic Diversity, Linguistic Landscape, Petra, Touristic Jordan

Full Text:



Al-Naimat, G. (2006). The interaction of secondary stage students with English speaking tourists in the Petra district. Unpublished MA thesis, Mu'tah University, Al-Kerak, Jordan.

Al-Naimat, G. (2015). Brand names in the linguistic Landscape of Aqaba, Jordan. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Alomoush, O. & Al Fagara, W. (2010). ‘The adaptation of English loanwords into Jordanian Arabic’. Journal of Language & Literature, 2, 27-39.

Alomoush, O. & Matarneh, M. (2010). ‘The spread of code-switches into Jordanian social settings’. International Journal of Philosophy of Culture & Axiology, 7 (20), PP.223-233.

Alomoush, O. (2007). Jordanian students’ attitudes toward Anglicism: a sociolinguistic study. MA thesis. Yarmouk University.

Alomoush, O. (2015). Multilingualism in the linguistic landscape of urban Jordan. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Backhaus, P. (2007). Linguistic landscapes: A comparative study of urban multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Barton, D. & Hamilton, M. (1998). Local literacies: reading and writing in one community. London: Routledge.

Ben-Rafael, E. (2009). ‘A Sociological approach to the study of linguistic landscapes’. In E. Shohamy and D. Gorter (eds) Linguistic landscapes: Expanding the scenery. New York: Routledge.

Blackwood, R. & Tufi, S. (2012). ‘Policies vs. non-policies: Analysing regional languages and the national standard in the linguistic landscape of French and Italian Mediterranean cities’. In: Gorter, D. et al. eds. Minority languages in the linguistic landscape. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 109-126.

Blommaert, J (2010). The sociolinguistics of globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bolton, K. (2005). Where WE stand: approaches, issues, and debate in world Englishes. World Englishes, 24, 69-83.

Bolton, K. (2012). World Englishes and linguistic landscapes. World Englishes, 31(1), 30-33.

Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, M. (1999). Economic Interaction of linguistics. Madrid: Akal

Cenoz, J. & Gorter, D. (2006). ‘Linguistic Landscape and Minority Languages'. In D. Gorter (ed.) Linguistic Landscape: A new approach to multilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Coulmas, F. (1996). The Blackwell encyclopedia of writing systems. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Crystal, D. (1997). English as a global language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edelman, L. (2009). ‘What’s in a name? Classification of proper names by language. In: Shohamy, E. &Gorter, D. eds. Linguistic landscape: Expanding the scenery. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 141-154.

Fenyo, S.S. (2003). The Function of the English language in the European union. European Integration Studies, 2(2), pp. 53-64.

Ferguson, C. (1959). Diglossia. In: Giglioli, P. ed. Language and Social Context. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, pp. 232-51.

Fishman, J (1977). Advances in the creation and revision of writing systems. The Hague: Mouton

Google maps. Available from URL http://maps.google.com (Accessed 5 September 2017).

Gorter, D. (2006) ‘Further possibilities for linguistic landscape research’, in D. Gorter (ed.), Linguistic landscape: A new approach to multilingualism, pp. 1-9. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Grin, F. (2001). English as economic value: facts and fallacies. World Englishes, 20(1), pp. 65–78.

Hamdan, J.M & Abu Hatab, W.A. (2009). ‘English in the Jordanian Context’. World Englishes, 28 (3), pp. 394-405.

Harrison, W. et al. (1975). English-language policy survey of Jordan: A Case study in Language planning. Virginia: Centre for Applied Linguistics.

Jaworski, A, & Thurlow, C. eds. (2010a). Semiotic landscapes: Language, image, space, London: Continuum.

Jaworski, A., & Thurlow, C. (2010 b). ‘Introducing semiotic landscapes’. In: Jaworski, A. & Thurlow, C. eds., ‘Semiotic landscapes: Language, Image, Space’. London: Continuum, pp. 1-40.

Kachru, B. B. & Nelson, C. L. (2001). World Englishes. In: Burns, A. & Coffin, C. eds. Analysing English in a global context. London: Routledge, pp. 9-25.

Kachru, B. B. (1986). The alchemy of English: the spread, functions and models of non-native Englishes. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Kachru, B. B. (1992). Teaching world Englishes. In: Kachru, B. B. ed. The other tongue: English across cultures. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 355-365.

Kallen, J. (2009). ‘Tourism and representation in the Irish linguistic landscape’. In E. Shohamy & D. Gorter (eds) Linguistic landscape: Expanding the scenery. London: Routledge.

Kallen, J. (2010). ‘Changing landscapes: Language, space and policy in the Dublin linguistic landscape’. In: Jaworski, A. &Thurlow C. eds. Semiotic landscapes: language, image, space. London: Continuum, pp. 41-58.

Kallen, J. & Dhonnacha, E. (2010). ‘Language and inter-language in urban Irish and Japanese linguistic landscapes’. In Shohamy, E., Ben-Rafael, E. & Barni, M. (eds.), Linguistic landscape in the city, 19-36. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Lamarre, P. (2014). Bilingual winks and bilingual wordplay in Montreal's linguistic landscape, International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

Landry, R. & R. Y. Bourhis (1997) ‘Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study’. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 16, 23–49.

Lou, J. (2009). Situating linguistic landscape in time and space: A multidimensional study of the discursive construction of Washington, DC Chinatown. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Georgetown University.

Martinez, G. A. (2004). ‘Globalization, urban space, and the linguistic landscape along the Mexican-US border’. Geolinguistics, 30, 103-116.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan (2012). Available from http://www.mota.gov.jo/Documents/NTS_2011 2015_English.pdf (Accessed 27 December 2017).

Pennycook, A. (2001). ‘English in the world/The world in English’. In: Burns, A. and C. Coffin (eds.) 2001) Analyzing English in a global context. London: Routledge, 78-89.

Pennycook, A. (2006). Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. Routledge.

Pennycook, A. (2007). Global Englishes and transcultural flows. Abingdon: Routledge.

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (2009). Linguistic imperialism continued. New York: Routledge.

Phillipson, R. (2015). ‘English as threat or opportunity in European higher education’. In S. Dimova, A. K. Hultgren, & C. Jensen (eds.), English-medium instruction in higher education in Europe (pp. 19–42). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Phillipson, R. (2016). ‘Linguistic imperialism of and in the European Union’. In H. Behr & J. Stivachtis (eds.), Revisiting the European Union as an empire (pp. 134–163). London: Routledge.

Pieterse, N. J. (2009). ‘History and Hegemony: the United States and globalization’, in B. Turner & S. Bryan (eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Globalization Studies, pp. 114-154. London: Routledge.

Reh, M. (2004). ‘Multilingual writing: A reader-oriented typology –with examples from Lira municipality (Uganda)’. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 170, pp. 1-41.

Rubdy, R. & Saraceni, M. (2006). ‘Introduction’. In R. Rubdy & M. Saraceni (Eds.), English in the world: Global rules, global roles (5-16). London: Continuum.

Scollon, R. & S. Scollon (2003). Discourses in places: Language in the material world. London: Routledge.

Schlick, M. (2003). ‘The English of shop signs in Europe’. English Today, 19 (1), pp. 3-17.

Shoup, A. J. (2007). Culture and customs of Jordan. The United States of America: Greenwood Press.

Stavans, A & Hoffman, C. (2015). Multilingualism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Svetlana, S. et al. (2015). The role of English in shaping the linguistic landscape of Paris, Berlin and Kazan. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 199, pp. 453 – 458.

Tufi, S., & Blackwood, R. (2015). The Linguistic landscape of the Mediterranean: French and Italian coastal cities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yano, Y. (2001). World Englishes in 2000 and beyond. World Englishes, 20 (2), 119-31.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.4p.1


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2018 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.