The Historical Sociolinguistics of Spelling
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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This paper discusses three processes relating to the social meaning of scripts and orthographies, all of which are potentially mediated by the role of script-as-image. One of these processes, iconisation, was introduced to the field by Irvine and Gal (2000) and is widely known. Attribution is a process which precedes iconisation, whereby a group of people associate a linguistic feature or language-related practice with a group of people who (supposedly) use that feature or engage in that practice. Orthographic branding involves a specific visual/graphical element of written language such as an alphabetic character. Through ‘branding,’ this element becomes an emblem of a group of people who use the element in question in their writing practices. Branding may involve iconisation, but the processes are distinct. This paper describes and distinguishes the three processes and provides examples from different languages and user communities.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): iconisation; literacy; multimodality; orthography; script
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