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Linguistic Landscape

image of Linguistic Landscape
ISSN 2214-9953
E-ISSN 2214-9961

In this day and age languages surround us everywhere; languages appear in flashy advertisements and commercials, names of buildings, streets and shops, instructions and warning signs, graffiti and cyber space. The dynamic field of Linguistic Landscape (LL) attempts to understand the motives, uses, ideologies, language varieties and contestations of multiple forms of ‘languages’ as they are displayed in public spaces. The rapidly growing research in LL grants it increasing importance within the field of language studies. LL research is grounded in a variety of theories, from politics and sociology to linguistics, and education, geography, economics, and law. This peer reviewed journal publishes highly rigorous research anchored in a variety of disciplines. It is open to all research methodologies (e.g., qualitative, quantitative and others) and concerned with all domains and perspectives of LL. It will also include thematic issues around a given topic, book reviews and discussion forums.


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  • Making scents of the landscape
    • Authors: Alastair Pennycook, and Emi Otsuji
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 3, 2015, pages: 191 –212
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    • Moving away from logocentric studies of the linguistic landscape, this paper explores the relations between linguascapes and smellscapes. Often regarded as the least important of our senses, smell is an important means by which we relate to place. Based on an olfactory ethnography of a multicultural suburb in Sydney, we show how the intersection of people, objects, activities and senses make up the spatial repertoire of a place. We thus take a broad view of the semiotic landscape, including more than the visual and the intentional, and suggest that we are interpellated by smells as part of a broader relation to space and place. Understanding the semiotics of the urban smellscape in associational terms, we therefore argue not merely that smell has generally been overlooked in semiotic landscapes, nor that this can be rectified by an expanded inventory of sensory signs, but rather that the interpellative and associational roles of smells invite us towards an alternative semiotics of time and place.
  • Skinscapes
    • Authors: Amiena Peck, and Christopher Stroud
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 133 –151
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    • The paper argues for extending linguistic landscape studies to also encompass the body as a corporeal landscape, or ‘moving discursive locality’. We articulate this point within a narrative of a developing field of landscape studies that is increasingly attentive to the mobility and materiality of spatialized semiotics as performative, that is, as partially determining of how we come to understand ourselves ‘in place’. Taking Cape Town’s tattooing culture as an illustration, we unpack the idea of ‘the human subject as an entrepreneur of the self, as author of his or her being in the world’ (Comaroff & Comaroff, 2012: 23), by using a phenomenological methodology to explore the materiality of the body as a mobile and dynamic space of inscribed spatialized identities and historical power relations. Specifically, we focus on: how tattooed bodies sculpt future selves and imagined spaces, the imprint they leave behind in the lives of five participants in the study and ultimately the creation of bodies that matter in time and place. The paper will conclude with a discussion of what studies of corporeal landscapes may contribute to a broader field of linguistic landscape studies.
  • LL research as expanding language and language policy
    • Author: Elana Shohamy
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 152 –171
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    • The paper theorizes languages in public spaces in a broad framework consisting of multiple components beyond written texts in public spaces. These include among others, visuals, sounds, movements, gestures, history, politics, location, people, bodies, all embedded in the dimensions offered by Lefebvre (1991) of spaces as practiced, conceived and lived. Relating to Linguistic Landscape (LL) as a mechanism of Language Policy (LP), the paper frames LL within current theories of LP which focus on ‘engaged language policy’ (Davis, 2014) reflecting and cultivating language practice as used by communities. The paper shows how LL is instrumental in contributing to the broadening of the theory and practice of LP, a discipline that has been mostly overlooked by LP. The studies show how language in public space was used for the revival of Hebrew in Palestine, for documentation of multilingualism in specific areas where different groups reside, for realizing that LP in public spaces is broader than written language showing how multimodalities are essential for making meaning of spaces, for discovering the wealth of LL devices used for contestations in the city, and for examining local policies in neighborhoods. Finally, the engagement of high school students with documentation of LL in their neigborhoods was found to have a real impact on LP awareness and activism.
  • Opening spaces of learning in the linguistic landscape
    • Author: David Malinowski
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 95 –113
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    • In the context of increasing interest in the linguistic landscape as a site of language and literacy learning, this paper outlines a conceptual framework for joining recent innovations in LL theory and methodology with pedagogical practice in second and foreign language education. After a review of current approaches to teaching the linguistic forms, cultural messages, and political actions realized in the linguistic landscape, a spatialized perspective based upon the principle of thirdness is proposed as a way for learners to explore, contrast, and reflect upon multiple meanings in the LL. Specifically, the paper adapts methodological innovations in Trumper-Hecht (2010) and other recent research by reinterpreting Henri Lefebvre’s triadic paradigm of conceived, perceived, and lived spaces for the language classroom, such that teachers and learners can design nuanced, multilayered investigations of discourses in place. As qualitative methods cast new light on questions of subjectivity, materiality, and change in the linguistic landscape, it is argued, linguistic landscape research offers valuable tools for pedagogical application, even as language learners open up new interpretive spaces for research.
  • Translanguaging and linguistic landscapes
    • Authors: Durk Gorter, and Jasone Cenoz
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 54 –74
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    • In this article we discuss the concept of translanguaging in relation to a holistic view of linguistic landscapes that goes beyond the analysis of individual signs. On the one hand, we look at instances of multilingual signage as a combination of linguistic resources. On the other hand, at the neighborhood level the individual signs combine, alternate and mix to shape linguistic landscapes as a whole. We expand our “Focus on Multilingualism” approach from school settings to the multilingual cityscape. One bookshop and its surrounding neighborhoods in Donostia-San Sebastián illustrate how readers navigate between languages and go across linguistic borders. Through translanguaging we foreground the co-occurrence of different linguistic forms, signs and modalities. At the level of neighborhood emerges the space in which translanguaging goes outside the scope of single signs and separate languages. We conclude that translanguaging is an approach to linguistic landscapes that takes the study of multilingualism forward.
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