The Language of Tourism: Linguistic Landscape of Tourist Attractions in Singapore


*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper explores the linguistic landscape of Singapore's tourist attractions by observing the languages present on signs at eight different tourist locations. By taking photographs of signs at the tourist attractions, this study aimed to investigate the languages present and whether the languages on signs reflect the nationality of tourists visiting them. Top-down and bottom-up signs were compared in terms of both languages present as well as code preference. This paper also explores the commodification of language in Singapore's tourist attractions. Results show that the languages on signs at a few tourist attractions reflect the nationality of tourists who visit them, but also that exclusion of languages does not mean that the number of tourists visiting from certain countries is low. A few differences between top-down and bottom-up signs are observed, including differences in code preference of signs in Chinatown and also the low percentage of Malay and Tamil on bottom-up signs, always in Chinatown, compared to top-down ones. Mandarin Chinese and Tamil can be seen to have been commodified in Chinatown and Little India respectively, in order to give tourists a more authentic experience of the two attractions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-114
Number of pages49
JournalReview of Historical Geography and Toponomastics
Issue number33-34
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2022


  • Tourism
  • Linguistic Landscape
  • Micro-place Names
  • Landmarks
  • Commodification of Places and Place Names


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