Creative Language Forms on Signboards in Singapore and Malaysia

Selim Ben Said, Teresa Wai See Ong


The development of technology has created multilingual environments where digital communication and electronic devices have become an essential component in most people’s daily life. The omnipresence of hypertext and digitised interfaces have created new affordances for the combination of communicative and linguistic resources and the production of creative writing forms. This study presents a multimodal examination of ‘creative writing forms’ on signboards collected in Singapore and Malaysia. These creative forms are categorised into (1) objects stylised to represent letters, and (2) creative word play. The results reveal that creative language forms feature simplified and visually concise communicative conventions (often prevalent in electronic communication; e.g., chat, SMS, etc.), which are becoming more visible in the physical landscape of our everyday life. Through the results presented in this study, one can gain a deeper understanding of the contemporary linguistic landscape, the creative language forms witnessed—particularly in Asian countries—and the fast changes engendered by economic globalisation that are impacting literacy and language practices in modern urban environments.


Linguistic landscape, creative language forms, multimodality, Singapore, Malaysia

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Selim Ben Said, Ong Wai See Teresa

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved | Interface | ISSN: 2519-1268