|dc.description.abstract||Language landscape or linguistic landscape studies are a relatively new field of research within language sociology that has a specific interest in the public space (Shohamy, 2006:128). Linguistic landscape studies analyzes the use of language in the public and/or institutional sphere~ to determine the (instrumental or symbolical) value represented by the graphic representation of language, taking into account the relevant language policy (see also Gorter, 2007:5; Curtin, 2007:11).
The goal of this research is to test and empirically apply the theory of the developing international and national linguistic landscape research paradigm on the multilingual South African higher education landscape.
The design for this research consists of a theoretical and an empirical component. The aforementioned entails a thorough investigation of linguistic landscape studies and its development over the past couple of years.
The empirical component is done in three phases. Phase 1 involves an in-depth investigation regarding nine of the 12 South African universities whose language policies are available in the public domain. During Phase 2, these universities are visited and structured interviews are held with the language committee/language manager to determine what the situation is regarding policy and practice in the language landscape domain. In Phase 3, the data from the previous two phases is assessed and interpreted to make recommendations to South African universities as to how to overcome the possible mismatch.
This research found that the visibility of multilingualism in the South African higher education landscape is relatively low due to a mismatch between policy and practice. However, the mismatch is not caused by universities' lack of commitment to multilingualism. Deep-set causes, i.e. the processes involved with language planning, the lack of detailed language plans, and so forth, lead to this mismatch and the lack of visibility of multilingualism at South African universities.||