Advertisement Signs in the Multilingual City Scope of Addis Ababa

Rukya Hassen


Linguistic landscape is the study of written language as posted in different displays of public space. The approach serves as a useful tool to study language use in multilingual urban settings where the linguistic landscape often is a major means to display different realities of the society. In this paper the researcher explores the linguistic landscape of such a multilingual urban setting, Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Based on a corpus of advertisement posts that display written language, this paper explores the variety, functions, distribution and prominence of the country’s various languages and foreign languages in the city scope of Addis Ababa. Advertisement displays from Arat Kilo to Merkato (Gojam Berenda) were taken for analysis. The assumptions of language use and the functional domains of the languages displayed in the signs provide insights on the language use patterns influenced by the historical, political and cultural aspects of the country.

Keywords: linguistics, landscape, Addis Ababa, semiotic


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