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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 13, 2019

Linguistic Landscape and Authenticity in a Japanese Supermarket in Singapore

  • Keri Matwick EMAIL logo and Kelsi Matwick
From the journal Open Linguistics


This study examines the linguistic landscape of a Japanese supermarket in Singapore. Building on linguistic landscape research, this study focuses on cross-cultural, cross-linguistic, and cross-culinary exchanges that occur in food spaces. The analysis examines promotional signs and their image, text, typography, format, and the overall retail experience, allowing for a reading of “the semiotic landscape,” or how all the elements work together (Kress & Van Leeuwen 2006). What emerges is a dominant discourse of authenticity, identifiable by five types: original, natural, influential, referential, exceptional (Gilmore & Pine 2007), and we propose a sixth type of authenticity: health, which is particularly relevant to food. Health authenticity draws on science to inform consumers of nutrition but is made relatable to shoppers through folklore and local Singapore recipes. The use of Japanese is informative for Japanese shoppers while symbolic for non-Japanese shoppers of a Japan that is pure, authentic, high-quality, and significantly, healthy.


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Received: 2019-01-02
Accepted: 2019-08-14
Published Online: 2019-12-13

© 2019 Keri Matwick et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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