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

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


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