Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Second Language Studies

First Advisor

Felice A. Coles

Second Advisor

Michael C. Raines

Third Advisor

Robyn Wright

Relational Format



This dissertation is the result of studies in two fields, the linguistic landscape (LL) and the economics of language (EL), and the relationship between them. In particular, this study concentrates on: (1) the analysis of the language used in public signs in two specific areas in the southern U.S., Ybor City and West Tampa, both located in the City of Tampa, Florida; and (2) the evaluation of the language skills and labor market performance of the agency involved in the public signs. The literature review focuses on the theories and methodologies more commonly used in previous LL research and language skills as an attribute of employees in previous studies of the EL. The definitions are synthesized to incorporate the connection among them. A mixed-method research approach is used to examine the LL and the EL in the target areas, consisting of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. U.S. Census data, historical documents, language policies, and laws and regulations regarding sign and education policies, direct observations, and units of analysis are examined. The database consists of 520 units of analysis, 260 from each site, obtained from the photographs taken in the two sites selected. The results suggest that: (1) the languages used on public signage in the LL of the two survey areas are primarily monolingual English, with a slight presence of signs in Spanish, and a much lower representation of the combination of those two languages and other Indo-European languages; (2) the strong symbolic function of the signs corresponds to the identities of the communities; (3) the relationship between the LL of the areas selected for the two case studies and their EL is that in the area of West Tampa, the linguistic attributes of the employees of several stores observed may have an impact on the earnings of those employees or the probabilities of employability. Therefore, the hypotheses initially presented are feasible.


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