Skip to main content

English as the language of marketspeak: Reflections from the Linguistic Landscape of Turkey

  • Ali Fuad Selvi

The ubiquitous spread of English is vividly observed in local linguistic landscapes and urban spaces around the world, and Turkey is no exception. Emerging as a bona fide line of inquiry at the nexus of sociolinguistics, sociology, social psychology, geography and media studies (Sebba, 2010), linguistic landscaping examines the dynamic relationship of English vis-à-vis the local languages, and documents, analyzes and interprets the attributes, patterns, characteristics, meanings and the creative uses of English in such domains as advertising (Kelly-Holmes, 2005; Vettorel, 2013) and shop signs (MacGregor, 2003; Ong, Ghesquière & Serwe, 2013; Schlick, 2002). These studies provide contextualized accounts of language contact situated in local sociolinguistic contexts and contribute to the representation of reflections from various parts of the world (e.g. see Backhaus (2007) and MacGregor (2003) for Japan; McArthur (2000) for Switzerland and Sweden; Griffin (2004) and Ross (1997) for Italy; Schlick (2002) for Austria, Italy and Slovenia; Dimova (2007) for Macedonia; Hasanova (2010) for Uzbekistan; Ong, Ghesquière & Serwe (2013) for Singapore; El-Yasin & Mahadin (1996) for Jordan; Wang (2013) for China; Ben Said (2010) for Tunisia; Schlick (2003) for Slovenia, Austria, Italy, and the UK; Stewart & Fawcett (2004) for Portugal; Thonus (1991) for Brazil; and Baumgardner (2006) for Mexico).

Corresponding author
Hide All
Aydoğan, B. 2001. ‘Türkçeye giren yabancı sözcükler ve otel adları [Foreign loanwords in Turkish and hotel names].’ Türk Dili, 596, 144–54.
Backhaus, P. 2007. Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Blommaert, J. 2013., Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of Complexity. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Blommaert, J. & Maly, I. 2014. Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis and social change: A case study. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies. Paper 100. Online at <> (accessed April 17, 2016).
Baumgardner, R. J. 2006. ‘The appeal of English in Mexican commerce.’ World Englishes, 25(2), 251–66.
Ben Said, S. 2010. ‘Urban street signs in the linguistic landscape of Tunisia: Tensions in policy, representation, and attitudes.’ Unpublished doctoral dissertation. State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University.
Boyraz, Ş. 2003. ‘İletişim açısından Sivas'ta ticari işletme adları [Business names in Sivas from the perspective of communication].’ Milli Folklor, 60, 141–60.
Danacı, G. 2005. ‘The foreign language influence in the process of shop naming.’ Ankara Üniversitesi Dil Dergisi (TÖMER), 129, 2333.
Demircan, Ö. 2001. İşyeri adlarında yabancılaşma [Foreignization in business names]. 14. Dilbilim Kurultayı Bildirileri, Adana: Çukurova Üniversitesi Basımevi.
Dimova, S. 2007. ‘English, the Internet and computer terminology in Macedonia.’ World Englishes, 26(3), 373–87.
Doğan, İ. 1999. Sokaktaki Yabancı İşyeri İsimlerine Yansıyan Kültürel Eğilimler [Cultural inclinations reflected in foreign named business names on the streets]. İstanbul: Sistem Yayınları.
EL-Yasin, M. & Mahadin, R. 1996. ‘On the pragmatics of shop signs in Jordan.’ Journal of Pragmatics, 26, 407–16.
Government Code of the Republic of Turkey. 1926. ‘İktisadi Müesseselerde Mecburi Türkçe Kullanılması Hakkında Kanun [The Law on the Mandatory Use of Turkish in Commercial Enterprises].’ Online at <> (accessed September 21, 2015).
Gözaydın, N. 2000. ‘Türkçe bilinci ve Karum [Awareness of Turkish and Karum].’ Türk Dili, 585, 227–31.
Griffin, J. L. 2004. ‘The presence of written English on the streets of Rome.’ English Today, 20(2), 38.
Hasanova, D. 2010. ‘English as a trademark of modernity and elitism.’ English Today, 26(1), 38.
Hult, F. M. 2010. ‘Scales of multilingualism: Towards multi-layered analysis of linguistic diversity.’ International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 202, 1130.
Kelly-Holmes, H. 2005. Advertising as Multilingual Communication. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
MacGregor, L. 2003. ‘The language of shop signs in Tokyo.’ English Today, 19(1), 1823.
McArthur, T. 2000. ‘Interanto: The global language of signs.’ English Today, 16(1), 3343.
Mengi, Z. 2010. ‘Business Turkish.’ Hurriyet IK Weekly, April 5. Online at <> (accessed September 21, 2015).
Ong, K. K. W., Ghesquière, J. F. & Serwe, S. K. 2013. ‘Frenglish shop signs in Singapore.’ English Today, 29(3), 1925.
Özyıldırım, I. 2001. ‘İş yeri levhaları: İşlevsel bir yaklaşım [Shop signs: A functional approach].’ Dil Dergisi, 103, 1019.
Ross, N. J. 1997. ‘Signs of international English.’ English Today, 13(2), 2933.
Said, E. 1993. Culture and Imperialism. London: Chatto & Windus.
Sebba, M. (2010). ‘Review of linguistic landscapes: A comparative study of urban multilingualism in Tokyo.’ Writing System Research, 2(1), 73.
Selvi, A. F. 2007. ‘A multifactorial sociolinguistic analysis of business naming practices in Turkey.’ Unpublished Master's thesis. Ankara, Turkey: Middle East Technical University.
Selvi, A. F. 2011. ‘World Englishes in the Turkish sociolinguistic context.’ World Englishes, 30(2), 182–99.
Şeyda, A. 2010. ‘Dil açısından Kars'taki iş yeri isimleri [Business names in Kars from a linguistic perspective].’ Atatürk Üniversitesi Kâzım Karabekir Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 12, 7788.
Schlick, M. 2002. ‘The English of shop signs in Europe.’ English Today, 18(2), 37.
Schlick, M. 2003. ‘The English of shop signs in Europe: A case study of the language in the store fronts of eight town centers.’ English Today, 19(1), 317.
Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. W. (2003). Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World. London: Routledge.
Stewart, P. & Fawcett, R. 2004. ‘Shop signs in some small towns in northern Portugal.’ English Today, 20(1), 5658.
Thonus, T. 1991. ‘Englishization of business names in Brazil.’ World Englishes, 10(1), 6574.
Üstünova, M., Aydın, H., Çetinoğlu Berberoğlu, G., Üstünova, K., Akkök, M. & Akgün, N. 2010. ‘İş yeri adlarında Türkçenin kullanımı [The use of Turkish in business naming].’ In Turkish Studies, 5(1), 1390–419.
Vettorel, P. 2013. ‘English in Italian advertising.’ World Englishes, 32(2), 261–78.
Wang, J. 2013. ‘Linguistic landscape of China: A case study of shop signs in Beijing.’ Studies in Literature and Language, 6(1), 40–7.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed