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Linguistic Landscape

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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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  • 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.
  • Linguistic landscapes in an era of multiple globalizations
    • Authors: Eliezer Ben-Rafael, and Miriam Ben-Rafael
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 19 –37
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    • This paper focuses on linguistic landscapes in present-day urban settings. These spaces consist of numberless establishments riddled with versatile texts or ‘LL items’. They are foci of both the development of globalization that conquers the world through commercial globe-encompassing networks, and of massive migrations from underprivileged countries to privileged ones. In each such city, one distinguishes major ‘downtowns’ and secondary ones in neighbourhoods, whose variety reflects a complex composition. LL investigations help understand how far and in what ways dissonant cleavages divide the public space. Chaos is the rule in this urban landscape, but where it illustrates some permanence and recurrence, it becomes familiar and the feeling of disorder may leave room for a notion of gestalt. Turning from here to the empirical investigation of LLs in Brussels, Berlin, and Tel-Aviv, we ask, as far as LLs can say: (1) if globalization causes the weakening of allegiances to all-societal symbols in favour of supra-national ones; (2) if migratory movements toward megapolises express themselves in the creation of segregated LLs or, on the contrary, indicate some ‘melting’ tendencies of the new populations into society’s mainstream; and (3) to what extent these questions elicit the same answers in different places or contribute to different configurations.
  • 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.
  • The critical turn in LL: New methodologies and new items in LL
    • Authors: Monica Barni, and Carla Bagna
    • Source: Linguistic Landscape, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, 2015, pages: 6 –18
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    • The present paper aims to reflect on the development of research in LL, to analyze its role and aims, and in particular to offer a critical discussion of the methods and tools used to collect and interpret data. Our analysis intends to highlight that LL studies have expanded since the flagship study by Landry and Bourhis (1997). The objects, methods, and tools of analysis in LL have changed in order to satisfy different research goals, to describe specific aspects of LL, and to interpret and understand the public space with different and often interdisciplinary approaches — semiotic, sociological, political, geographical, economic. Starting from our research on immigrant languages in Italy and from the existing literature, our objective here is to describe how both methodologies and objects of analysis have developed over the years.
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