This paper reports on an ongoing research project investigating the language use of Chinese immigrants as heritage language users in Antwerp and Brussels. Specifically, we study the linguistic landscape of three ethnic Chinese neighborhoods, comparing these areas in terms of the different languages and dialects used, and their visual presence in the public space. We map out the geographical spread of different languages in each locale and focus on language dominance, mutual translation in multilingual signs, and the use of different scripts and transliteration systems. By comparing the three ethnic Chinese neighborhoods and by thus relating their different linguistic landscapes to their distinct migration histories and demographic profiles, we attempt to show how a linguistic landscape study can be used as a way of gaining insight into the linguistic practices of relatively small minority groups, such as the Chinese community in Belgium, who often remain invisible in larger-scale sociolinguistic surveys.
- Chinese as a heritage language
- linguistic landscape