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The presence of written English on the streets of Rome

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2004

JEFFREY L. GRIFFIN
Affiliation:
Associate professor of communication at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, USA

Abstract

ENGLISH is a juggernaut whose sweep across the globe is marked not only by the ever-swelling ranks of those who speak it as a second language, but also by its intrusion into other languages and cultures. While far from omnipresent, English is seen and heard in enough contexts in non-English-speaking countries that social scientists must carefully explore its role alongside indigenous languages. This study, which focused on the city of Rome, examines one dimension of English as an invader – its presence on street signs, on store fronts, in shop windows, outside commercial and public buildings, in billboards and other street advertisements, and in graffiti. It takes a more expansive and comprehensive approach than previous studies in examining the use of English in a foreign locale, in order to get a better sense of how widespread it is on the streets of a non-English-speaking country and in what contexts it appears.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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