Language options and the role of English on Finnish banks' websites


  • Judit Háhn


linguistic landscape, multilingualism, language policy, English


The websites of commercial banks may serve multiple functions, including the provision of promotional, informational and online transactional services. The choice of languages offered on the websites reflects the banks' communication and marketing strategy in targeting groups of clients. In addition, the way content is presented on multilingual sites can shed light on the financial institution's implicit language policy. In order to understand the role of English in Finnish banks' online representation, a linguistic landscape approach was applied and the multilingual pages of 10 commercial banks were analyzed. The first aim was to find out how design, content, structure and usability relate to the provision of languages. The second aim was to reveal the banks' implied language policies. Both in public and social media there is an on-going discourse about foreigners' banking problems in Finland. Investigation of the representation of languages on the various websites can provide further insights into this issue.