Graffiti Inside Jordanian Public Transport Vehicles

Keywords: category, graffiti, interpersonal, psycholinguistics, religion, self-concentration.


Purpose. The study reported here aims to investigate the commonest communicative categories and subcategories of graffiti written inside Jordanian public transport vehicles.

Method. The researchers collected 1,410 tokens of graffiti from six Jordanian cities, viz., Amman, Madaba, Irbid, Zarqa, Salt, and Jerash. The data which were collected from public transport vehicles included 1000 handwritten graffiti tokens and 410 custom-made stickers. Specifically, the data were collected from large and small buses as well as service and yellow taxis that lined up in main bus stations and bus stops available in front of hospitals, universities, malls and close to traffic circles. Then the categories and subcategories of graffiti were identified on the basis of their content.

Results. The analysis reveals eight communicative categories, viz., personal, interpersonal, philosophical, religious, offensive, political, humorous, and sports.

The analysis also reveals thirteen subcategories, viz., naming and self-identification, self-appraisal, love and familial relationships, philosophical perspectives, ethics of transport, decline of morals, expressions of Islamic faith, supplication, preaches, protection from the envious eye, territorial and tribal affiliation.

Conclusions The study concludes that a host of societal concerns and individuals’ feelings and thoughts are transmitted through the discourse of graffiti. The passengers and drivers have expressed their self-concentration, philosophical views, affiliation with territories and tribes, hostility and anger to individuals and groups, and allegiance to religion beliefs and traditions. The study also concludes that there are socio-psychological motives that drive writing graffiti, viz., identify oneself, release emotions, criticize individuals and groups, reveal pride and admiration, advertise goods and promote business, search for contacts, post messages for the public, express attachment to educational institutions, document the occurrence of a particular occasion. The study recommends that graffiti written inside public transport vehicles in other Arab countries be examined. Thus, one could examine to what extent the communicative categories and subcategories of graffiti along with its socio-psychological tend to show a pan-Arab base.


Download data is not yet available.


Abu Rabia, A. (2005). The evil eye and cultural beliefs among the Bedouin tribes of the Negev, Middle East. Folklore, 116, 241–254. Doi10.1080/

Akhter, N., & Munir, A. (2017). Hijab (veil): Protection for woman (Islamic perspective) international conference on Arabic studies and Islamic civilization. In E-Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Arabic Studies and Islamic Civilization 2017 (iCasic 2017) (27th – 28th March 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). (Vol. 4, pp. 9–17). URL:

Al Ali, M. (2006). Religious affiliations and masculine power in Jordanian wedding invitation genre. Discourse and Society, 17(6), 691–714.

Al Hassan, S., & Takash, H. (2011). Attributions and attitudes of mothers and fathers in Jordan. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11(2–3), 142–151.

Al Munajjid, Z. (2014), Reliance on Allah. Zad Group.

Alkurdi, K. (2016). A linguistic study of the graffiti written on the means of transportation in Jordan [Unpublished M.A Thesis]. Jadara University.

Asni, F. (2017). Analysis of the concept of two kalima shahadah al-tauhid and al-risalah according to the Qur’an and al-hadith. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 7(10), 374–353.

Aydin, H. (2013). Supplication, prayer and their [sic] inner peace they afford. The Journal of Rotterdam Islamic and Social Sciences, 4(1), 1–11.

Bamidele, O. (2001). Comedy: Essays and studies. Stirling-Horden Publishers Ltd.

Banikalef, A. (2019). The impact of culture and gender on the production of online speech acts among Jordanian facebook users. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 19(2), 399 – 414.

Blume, R. (1985). Graffiti. In T.A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse and literature: New approaches to the analysis of literary genres (pp. 137–148). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Case, C. (1992). Bumper stickers and car signs: Ideology and identity. Journal of Popular Culture, 26(3), 107–119.

D’Angelo, F. (1974). Sacred cows make great hamburgers: The rhetoric of graffiti. College Composition and Communication, 25(2), 173–180.

Darwish, I., & Al Rousan, R. (2019). Words on wheels: Investigating car inscriptions in Jordan. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 9(4), 128–137.

Date-Bah, E. (1980). The inscriptions on the vehicles of Ghanaian commercial drivers: A sociological analysis. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 18(3), 525–531.

Divsalar, F., & Nemati, A. (2012). Social pathology of trust in car written manuscripts. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 3(3), 363–372.

Durmuller, U. (1988). Research on mural spray scripts (Graffiti). In A.R. Thomas (Ed.), Methods in Dialectology (pp. 278–284). Multilingual Matters Ltd.

El-Nashar, M., & Nayef, H. (2016). Discourse on the go: Thematic analysis of vehicle graffiti on the roads of Egypt. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 7(5), 227–239.

Elo, S., & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115.

Encyclopedia Britannica (n.d.). URL:

Faniran, O., Ikotun, R., & Oloyede, A. (2019). The utilitarian functions and the nature of vehicle inscriptions and stickers in Southwestern Nigeria. Journal of Language and Literature, 19(2), 108–125.

Fraser, B. (1980). Meta-Graffiti. Maledicta: The International Journal of Verbal Aggression, 4, 258–260.

Geels, A. (1996). A note on the psychology of dhikr: The halveti-jerrahi order of dervishes in Istanbul. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 6(4), 229–251.

Gleitman, L., & Papafragou, A. (2005). Language and thought. In K.J. Holyoak, & R.G. Morrison (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (pp. 633–661). Cambridge University Press.

Hafez, O. (2020). Moving discourse: Egyptian bumper stickers as a communicative event. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 3(9), 26–40.

Hasrati, M., Street, B., & Habibi, S. (2016). Vehicle writings in an Iranian context: The interplay of habitus and field. Iranian Studies, 49(1), 1–27.

Hazaymeh, W. (2007). A sociolinguistic study of written expressions on vehicles in Jordan [Unpublished M.A Thesis]. Yarmouk University.

Husin, S. (2014). The importance and roles of linguistics in Islamic studies: Integration of linguistics with religious studies. Khazanah, 12(1), 28–37.

Jaradat, A. (2016). Content-based analysis of bumper stickers in Jordan. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 7(6), 253–261.

Knight, B. (1982). Identity and territory: Geographical perspectives on nationalism and regionalism. Annals of the Association of the American Geographers, 72(4), 514–531.

Lapidus, I. (1997). Islamic revival and modernity: The contemporary movements and the historical paradigms. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 40(4), 444–460.

Lapyai, S. (2003). Scratching protest: A study of graffiti as communication in universities in Thailand [Unpublished Doctoral Thesis]. Edith Cowan University.

Lynch, O. (2002). Humorous communication: Finding a place for humor in communication research. Communication Theory, 12(4), 423–445.

MacGillivray, L., & Curwen, M. (2007). Tagging as a social literacy practice. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 50(5), 354–369.

Meyer, J. (2000). Humor as a double-edged sword: Four functions of humor in communication. Communication Theory, 10(3), 310–331.

Mostafa, R. (2018). Online newspapers portrayal of Arab female athletes in Rio 2016 Olympics: A multimodal critical discourse analysis. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 18, 49–70.

Oladipo, O., & Akinsanya, P. (2006). Philosophy and Logic. Hope Publications Ltd.

Palma, A. (1991). Philosophizing. Philosophy, 66(255), 41–51.

Schmitter, A. (1994). Representation, self-representation, and the passions in Descartes. The Review of Metaphysics, 48(2), 331–357.

Sechrest, L., & Flores, L. (1969). Homosexuality in the Philippines and the United States: The handwriting on the wall. The Journal of Social Psychology, 79(1), 3–12.

Stern, B., & Solomon, M. (1992).Have you kissed your professor today? Bumper stickers and consumer self-statements. Advances in Consumer Research, 19, 169–173.

Taylor, C. (1999). Organizational graffiti: A different approach to uncovering issues. Journal of Management Education, 23(3), 290–296.

Wardhaugh, R. (2006). An introduction to sociolinguistics. (6th ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Abstract views: 1072
PDF Downloads: 145
How to Cite
Al Karazoun, G., & Hamdan , J. M. (2021). Graffiti Inside Jordanian Public Transport Vehicles. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 30(2), 104-133.