Finnish and French public signs from commercial premises during the Covid-19 pandemic

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This paper studies 200 signs displayed in commercial premises during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Finland and in France. The data were collected through crowdsourcing via social media platforms and analysed from the perspective of cross-cultural pragmatics. The vast majority of Finnish and French directives were direct, but cross-cultural differences emerged in relation to perspective and mitigation. Specifically, French signs preferred an impersonal perspective, whereas Finnish signs favoured a hearer perspective, and Finnish signs were more often mitigated than French signs. The signs balanced between attracting customers and imposing safety measures on them through the justification of measures, the presentation of measures taken by businesses themselves, as well as by addressing clients and thanking them. The findings suggest that the directives in Covid-19 signs differ from directives in other data types.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPragmatics and society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)306-333
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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