Background

The Republic of Lebanon is a small multi-confessional country located in the Eastern Mediterranean. Its capital city is Beirut/Beyrouth/بيروت with an estimated population of about 2 million in the Greater Beirut area.  Article 11 of the 1926 constitution establishes Arabic as the official language of the country, with a “law [that] determines the cases in which the French language may be used.”

The linguistic landscapes of the city are characterised by great heterogeneity extending beyond that early 20th-century Arabic-French official bilingualism.  The samples of written language curated here reflect the different global histories and identities of the city and its diasporas in the early 21st century as well as the varied literacy practices of its inhabitants.

Linguistic landscapes in our project include a large number of aspects of written communication (single languages, mixed languages, script systems, numeral systems, calligraphies).  The project is based on samples of written language situated across a continuum of state-created to vernacular language usage, as well as fixed to mobile, even ephemeral, supports.

The project uses interactive digital maps as a way of situating the findings in urban space.  The team members responsible for both the data collection and curation of the materials are acknowledged here. Contributions from the general public are welcome.