This article discusses the research of the linguistic landscape in the 20th century.
The author concentrates on the research of the written texts in the public space.
He pays attention to the complexity of the discussed problems. This complexity
results from the processes of globalization and migration, that contribute to create
social structures with the great variety of used languages and with a heterogeneous
ethnic composition. These processes could have been observed in the fi rst place in
the great cities which offered the best job opportunities and attracted so the greatest
numbers of foreign workers or job seekers from other parts of the multinational
country, and presented non rarely linguistically mixed territories already from many
generations (for example Brussels or Montreal). This development contributed to
a visible change of the language presence in the public space and evoked from the
1970s the quickly growing interest of the researchers. The researchers described
not only the specifi c appearance of the given linguistic landscape but they analyzed
against the historical background also the complex relations between the social and
political importance of individual national groups on the one hand and the use of
their languages in the public space on the other.