Multiethnic but multilingual as well? The Linguistic Landscapes of Vilnius


  • Sebastian Muth



linguistic landscapes, multilingualism, Vilnius, Lithuania, DDC: 400 (Language, linguistics)


This paper focuses on the linguistic landscapes of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The aim of this analysis is to define which languages are visible in public sphere in four of the city's districts and constitute its linguistic landscape. Backed up by a corpus of 878 digital pictures of shop signs, placards, posters, graffiti and other displays of written language, the study determines the number of languages used on signs and the functions they fulfill in the given context. These findings are then compared with the number of speakers of different languages within the same area to find out if the linguistic landscape of Vilnius resembles the city's ethnolinguistic diversity. Furthermore, special attention is paid to the phenomenon of the spread of English.