Multilingualism in the Linguistic Landscape of Ibadan, Nigeria

  • Adeola Aminat Babayode-Lawal University of Ibadan/Simon Fraser University


Multilingualism is one of the features of language contact that characterises language use in the public spaces of cosmopolitan areas like Ibadan. Little attention has been paid to multilingualism on signs in the public spaces of Ibadan. This study was, therefore, designed to investigate how multilingualism is reflected in the linguistic landscape of Ibadan with a view to determining the languages used on signs, their patterns and statuses in relation to the sociolinguistic context of Ibadan.

Seven communities in Ibadan (Challenge, Dugbe, Mokola, Iwo Road, Sango, Olodo and Ring Road) were purposively selected because of the strategic presence of different signs in them. The signs were subjected to sociolinguistic and descriptive statistical analyses. 

Findings reveal that languages (English, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Arabic, French and Nigerian Pidgin) were used in various ways to show ethnolinguistic vitality, language hierarchy, dominance, distinctiveness and for economic motivation. Although monolingual language use had a high status in all the communities, there were also the pervasive use of English, visibility of French, Arabic and Nigerian Pidgin and the marginalisation of indigenous languages on the signs. These were due to the sign writers’ skill condition, the presumed readers’ condition and the symbolic value condition.

Keywords: Linguistic landscape; Language hierarchy; Ethnolinguistic vitality

Author Biography

Adeola Aminat Babayode-Lawal, University of Ibadan/Simon Fraser University

Adeola Aminat Babayode-Lawal conducts research at the University of Ibadan and Simon Fraser University. Her research interests relate to sociolinguistics, multilingualism and phonology.