Maps: Signage and Advertising

Map 2: All Signage

This map “All Signage” shows all the signage collected by the class. 869 / 2133, about half of all the data points collected, have to do with signage. Signage is ubiquitous, covering different categories: directions, names of places, notices, and warning signs.

Map 3: Languages for Signage

This map “Languages for Signage” illustrates the different languages used for signage that I have collected. The main areas where the data was collected were Clemenceau, Wadi Bou Jmil, Tarik El-Jdide, and Achrafieh. It becomes apparent that regardless of area, most signage that has to do with directions are in Arabic and French, to the exclusion of English.

Map 4: Languages for Advertisement

This map “Languages for Advertisement” demonstrates a sharp contrast. It displays the different languages used for advertisements (collected by the class). All combinations of languages are used: Arabic only, English only, French only, Arabic and English, Arabic and French, English and French, and all three together. However, the dominant combination is Arabic and English. Apparently, in Beirut, although the dominant languages for signage, mostly involving directions and names of places, is in Arabic and French, advertisements are printed in Arabic and English.

It seems that separate influences have resulted in this effect. The French mandate for Lebanon had an impact in shaping the use of Arabic, the native language in Lebanon, and French, the language of the mandate, together in signage. Modern Western influence, the companies that advertise in Lebanon, having been founded outside of Lebanon, are of countries where English is the dominant language, or, at least, the language chosen for advertising. As for local companies, they resort to emulating the dominant companies in the area in their similar use of both Arabic and English in their advertisements.

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