A. Parameters applied

B. Photographs

C. Charts


author: Lorena Richter





A. Parameters applied to the data

Bottom-up approach

Hermannplatz is a consumption-oriented area (researching the Karstadt complex alone would prove to be a valuable mission in itself). Even the 'public' restroom is run by a private firm. Therefore, we only used commercial advertisements and shop-fronts for our data. Road signs were left out of the analysis as well.

Who is the author?

We indentify the authorship of a sign with the shop front itself.

How many languages are actually used?

Some shops offer various monolingual signs to communicate. In our case we found one example. This shop is bilingual, because it uses two monolingual signages. This seems to be obvious, but some photographs only show single-shots of signs, when in fact they belong to a multilingual set of signs relating to the shop.

What qualifies as German?

The word Halloumi is of greek origin. Börek is a turkish word. However, since both can be found in the most recent standard german dictionary (Duden:2018), we identify these words as German. Some signs turn into monolingual ones, even if they don't look like it at first.

GPS not included

On the day of our photo-shoot we didn't have a proper working GPS tracking system available for all of our cameras. This makes further diachronic research impossible, especially since we  shot photographs of moving shop-signages (there was a food-market happening that day). If we wanted to go on in this direction, we would have to do the photoshoot again.

B. Photographs

The photographs in the galleries are sorted according to the number of languages that can actually be seen on the landscape. However, for the study we chose to call a photograph monolingual if a shop was using one language, multilingual if a shop used more than two languages to reach out to its customer. The numbers of the results-graphics differ to the numbers of photographs in the galleries for this reason.

C. Charts

Study Results

The two charts seen above show the different languages found in our study and the frequency in which they appear as well as the frequency of monolingual, bilingual and multilingual signs. The most frequent language found is German, followed by English and Arabic as well as Turkish. Appearances of signs in Polish, Spanish, French and Greek were rather low. Furthermore, the German language was found twice as often on signs as English and almost three times more often than Arabic and Turkish.


The second chart shows the frequency of different types of signs, divided into monolingual, bilingual and multilingual signs. Bilingual signs are with 49% the most frequent ones found, mainly being in German and English. Second, monolingual signs (31%) followed by multilingual signs (20%).

All in all this shows, that shop front signs at Hermannplatz are mainly bilingual and written in German and English.


Click here to read about our assumptions and prospects.