Pictures were taken of bottom-up signs that exhibited Hebrew and Yiddish
Surveys were conducted on local residents questioning the common language use in the area
The signs were examined and viewed the Hebrew/Yiddish and compared it to the English beside it
Using the pictures, the signs were identified to which language is most dominant in terms of size and quantity
Analyzed the data to determine which language was dominant on fliers and store signs.
The Linguistic Situation In Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Williamsburg is a very diverse neighborhood, typical of any other community in New York City. Once you hit Lee Avenue, however, you will find yourself surrounded by Yeshivas, Glatt Kosher Delis and Hacidic families dressed in traditional Jewish garb.
Between Division Avenue and Flushing avenue (North to South), and Marcy Avenue and Bedford Avenue (East to West), there is a sudden culture change to the Hacidic community. Along with this culture change comes a language shift: English and Spanish become Yiddish and Hebrew.
The Study The model we are following is Heubner’s Linguistic Landscape of Thailand. Heubner analyzed signs in 15 neighborhoods of Thailand and distinguished the dominance relationship of language on the signs . The signs can either be monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual. Every store sign had at least some English on it, while fliers and Privately posted notes were either soley in Hebrew or in Yiddish.
Bilingual Store Signs English is more prominent than Hebrew. Hebrew is not directly translated from English. The Hebrew reads “Minimarket plus.” Minimarket is not in Hebrew; it is phonetically spelled out in English.
Yiddish is More Prominent than English. Yiddish Print is the blue text, and Yiddish Script is the white text on the red background
Hebrew says “Pesach Store” phonetically spelled out in English
Spillman’s Fish Store is phonetically spelled out in Hebrew letters. If you didn’t speak English and only knew how to read and speak Hebrew, it would be gibberish; the Hebrew writing does not mean anything in the language
The dominant language on this sign is English, and the Hebrew just spell’s out the owner’s name: Kaufman. The owner put an apostrophe in the Hebrew to give possession to the name, but there is no such thing in Hebrew. There is a separate word to give possession in Hebrew. In Hebrew, it would say “Store shell Kaufman”
The sign is split in two: half in English and half in Hebrew. There was a shift in pronouncing the letter “ ת .” The letter (tav) today is pronounced with a “t” sound, however it was shifted from pronouncing it with an “s.” It is used as an s in this case, which suggests the creator of the sign is of an older generation
English and Yiddish are split in half. There is the same amount of text on each side, however the English “$25,000 Cash” sign is clearly more dominant in text-size.
Languages: Hebrew, Yiddish. Yiddish is more dominant in size. Some Yiddish is English in Yiddish letters. Languages: Hebrew, English. Hebrew is clearly more dominant in terms of size and amount of text. Williamsburgians
English is clearly used to promote sales. the only word in English on the signs is sale, nothing more. It is the most dominant in terms of text-size, but clearly not in terms of important information.
The bus ALONE has 3 languages On it: English, Yiddish and Hebrew. Most of the English, However, is Hebrew/Yiddish written out in English. Some Hebrew and Yiddish spell out English words, yet most of it is actual Yiddish and Hebrew.
These are the results from every bottom up sign within the area we have studied. These include store signs, fliers on the stores, billboards and walls, and other signs put up by local citizens.
Results of Bottom-Up signs that are monolingual.
Clearly, Yiddish and Hebrew have more text on the fliers. The English is only used to promote a sale or translate briefly what the flier is about. English may only be used to say, “Sale”, however it is the most dominant of almost all the bilingual fliers.
The store signs’ results unquestionably demonstrates English’s influence on the community. They may promote their culture, however we still live in America and they know English comes first. It is also to make a better profit; if the sign is in one language that an outside buyer may not know, they will not make any money. To make a better profit the store owners know English must be used so everyone will know exactly what the store has to offer.
RESULTS After reviewing the data, it is concluded that English is the most dominant language on store signs and on fliers. The English may have the largest font, however it is certainly not the most dominant in terms of quantity. The English is only used to promote a sale and give a quick definition to the store/flier. The Hasidim preserve their culture by spreading the Hebrew and Yiddish (a language very rarely used in today’s societies).