Keep social distance: The linguistic landscape of the major malls in Jeddah amid the COVID-19 pandemic
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AbstractThis study examines the linguistic landscape of the two major malls in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through social distancing posters and signs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study draws on the conceptual framework of linguistic landscape theory, speech acts and semiotics to unveil language dominance, linguistic messages, image-text relations and poster elements that enforce social distancing. A survey questionnaire, primarily aimed at expats, was also administered to find out how they view and interpret the use of bilingual modes in disseminating the social distancing measures. The semiotic analysis reveals that Arabic and English are used in most of the posters, but Arabic remains the dominant language and the preferred medium of information dissemination. Speech acts analysis shows that representatives and directives facilitate implementation of social distancing. The findings also suggest that semiotic modes and signifiers (inscription and materiality) reinforce the effectiveness of the posters. Overall, the use of Arabic and English reflects the country’s stance on language policy and economic vision for Jeddah to be a truly global city amid the pandemic.
Journal titleTopics in Linguistics