Linguistic Choices in the Saudi Entrepreneurial Cyberspace

Mohammad Almoaily


Unlike physical linguistic landscapes, virtual linguistic landscapes (VLL) target speakers who are not confined to a geographical area. Hence, a linguistic landscape created in cyberspace is expected to be multilingual, not English monolingual, regardless of the geographical backgrounds of its creators. Yet, different entrepeneurs may have diverging linguistic preferences when creating a VLL. Hence, the current paper provides, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, a first report on the linguistic choices of Arabic-speaking enterpreneurs in a VLL. The study explores the linguistic choices of 400 randomly selected businesses of Saudi entrepreneurs, listed on a local business website (Maroof). Data from three fields, the business name, logo, and description, were classified as either Arabic monolingual, English monolingual, or multilingual. The multilingual signs were further classified following Reh (2004): duplicating, complementary, fragmentary, and overlapping. The results show that the polled sample had varying preferences depending on the genre of the text. Business names were mostly duplicating, while business logos were mostly English monolingual and business descriptions were predominantly written in Arabic only. Since the data showed a great deal of inconsistency across different text genres, the results call for more systematic analyses of VLLs that pay more attention to the genre of the text rather than to the linguistic backgrounds of those who created these landscapes.


Virtual Linguistic Landscape, Cyberspace, Multilingualism, Arabic, Saudi Arabia, Linguistic Landscape

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