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This chapter provides a critical review of the blossoming of Linguistic Landscape (LL) as a research field in the early 21st century. Arguing that the LL itself is at least as old as written language, the chapter examines the multiple sources of contemporary LL research in such fields as onomastics, the visual arts, language policy and planning, and examinations of the social and linguistic outcomes of multilingualism, globalisation, and population movement. The chapter argues that the field of LL research did not stem from any one source, but instead developed from bringing together researchers from different interests and parts of the world. The chapter reviews terminology in the field from English and French, and argues for the use of LL as one which is broad enough to include a wide range of modes of expressing meaning, but retains a focus on language that gives it a distinct conceptual identity.
This chapter argues that the Linguistic Landscape (LL) brings together orientations towards past, present, and future in complex ways which distinguish it from other forms of discourse and from language in the grammatical sense. In this analysis, every unit of the LL points to a past act of a sign instigator which is viewed in the framework of present relevance but which also points toward states and actions in a relative future. This complexity determines that each unit in the LL carries its own temporal frame of reference, which may include direct reference to time, time inflections that allow for stylistic means of invoking additional notions of time, and the unit time which follows as a consequence of the unit’s physical features. From this perspective, it is argued that there is no single present in the LL, but, rather, that the LL encompasses a flow of different – sometimes contradictory – temporal references. Fieldwork examples from six countries illustrate the operation in the LL of historical ghost signage and remnants, changes in street naming policies, tourism, nostalgia and repurposing, historical commemoration, and discourse features of political graffiti.
This chapter focuses on the spatial element in the Linguistic Landscape (LL). The public space is understood in terms of a twofold spatial metaphor, in which the LL can be contained by the public space, but in which the language display of the LL in fact creates the public space. The argument that the term landscape has long-standing links to denotations of social activity and organisation directly supports an understanding of the LL not as ‘a view of the land’, but as human activity that is engaged with the built and natural environment. The chapter thus proposes a model of spatial indexicality, in which units of the LL point not only to the space which they occupy, but to nearby spaces to which they refer, and potentially to other spaces which are far removed or which may be imaginary. Within this model, examples are analysed which illustrate the regulation of spatial divisions by signage, spatial and material properties of sign units, the use of metaphor to establish authenticity and to stake cultural claims, and references to imaginary spaces. The counter-balancing potential for units in the LL to express messages which are not anchored in spatial reference is also examined.
Building on the notions of markedness (which accounts for the special value attached to particular choices in language display) and affordances (which indicate what languages can be used for what purposes in specific contexts) in the Linguistic Landscape (LL), this chapter develops a social indexicality model to account for the role of language choices in pointing to communities of language users. These communities range from the local (such as graffiti crews or friendship groups) through various configurations of territory and community to the truly global. Language choices may make existential claims for marginalised social groups, and they allow for the status enhancement of local communities by enregisterment. Two case studies focus on territory and community. One presents a ‘village model’ in comparing the predominantly Protestant town of Kilkeel with the predominantly Catholic town of Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland, while the other examines ‘urban diversity’ with regard to displays of Greekness in Astoria (New York) and Greektown in Chicago. The chapter further examines the role of transient visitors and remote multinational organisations in shaping the LL.
Contrary to a view of the Linguistic Landscape (LL) as a collection of road and traffic signs, commercial signage, graffiti inscriptions, and other physical objects, this chapter treats the LL as discourse. In this approach, a visible unit of the LL is understood to mediate between a sign instigator and a sign viewer. The sign viewer is often a passing stranger whom the sign instigator will try to engage as an interlocutor. While the sign viewer’s reply is usually not articulated linguistically, it can be understood in light of the viewer’s subsequent behaviour, understanding, affect, or other modes of reply. The LL unit is seen as a performance which displays text in particular ways that are shaped by the pragmatic intentions of the sign instigator, discourse framing, and LL genre. This perspective argues against the restriction of the LL to written units. Urban diversity in the LL is thus understood in terms of a set of separate but interrelated discourses. In addition to examples of conversational maxims and speech acts at work, the chapter examines the overseas Irish pub as a complex LL genre, using data from New York, Chicago, Montreal, Liverpool, and Vienna.
This chapter presents a panoramic view of elements in the Linguistic Landscape (LL), using photographs from Ireland, North America, England, and continental Europe. The discussion focuses on the operation of language policies and language choices, the regulation of space in the landscape, discourse elements in graffiti and social protest, and the position of the LL in reflecting and commemorating history. The chapter argues that while language display is crucial to the LL, any written display of language also includes visual and spatial elements which are part of the LL. Some elements such as orthography, letter shape, and text colour, are close to the language system. Others include visual images, the physical medium and ground used for the message, and the size and placement of the message. The chapter takes an inclusive view of language, referring to a wide range of displays that involve lexical elements and copresent modes of expressing meaning. A focus on the LL as discourse shows that restricting the LL to written language is overly limited, and that oral tradition and discourse must also be taken into account.
In this chapter, language choices in the Linguistic Landscape (LL) are examined in relation to official language policy and personal language choices. Particularly significant are signage units which express messages using two or more languages or other linguistic codes. Different codes can express the same message, but they may display different messages which may be aimed at different audiences. Rather than simply putting messages into particular linguistic envelopes, units of the LL develop intricate communicative actions in the choices of size and placement for particular languages, and in the different ways in which languages make references to texts and cultural features which lie outside the signage itself. Using photographs from 11 countries, the chapter also shows that the LL provides a forum for language play, displays of elite language, cross-linguistic typographical effects, and the incorporation of visual images into writing systems.
This chapter understands the Linguistic Landscape (LL) as a flow of discourse in time. LL units are structured as texts, materials, and discourse, but the LL only unfolds when these units engage the sign instigator and the sign viewer in discourse in the public eye. Using the foodscape as a focal point, the boundaries between the LL and other social practices are examined. A review of LL research methodology examines the role of photographs and the photographer’s point of view, fieldwork approaches that include interviews and reflexive ethnography, and the position of quantitative analysis. The chapter discusses relationships between the material LL and online linguistic landscapes (OLL), examining language displays in the OLL and ways in which users transcend the apparent boundaries between the two. Pointing out the long history of representing the LL in literature, the chapter discusses James Joyce’s Ulysses for its portrayal of the outer forms of the LL and its representation of the inner world of characters who move through the LL. Recommendations are made for further expansion of the field geographically, temporally, materially, and ethnographically.
Visible language is widespread and familiar in everyday life. We find it in shop signs, advertising billboards, street and place name signs, commercial logos and slogans, and visual arts. The field of linguistic landscapes draws on insights from sociolinguistics, language policy and semiotics to show how these public forms of language relate to multiple issues in language policy, language rights, language and education, language and culture, and globalization. Stretching from the earliest stone inscriptions, to posters and street signs, and to today's electronic media, linguistic landscapes sit at the crossroads of language, society, geography, and visual communication. Written by one of the pioneers of the field, this is the first book-length synthesis of this exciting, rapidly-developing field. Using photographic evidence from across three continents, it demonstrates the methodology and approaches used, and summarises its findings and developments so far. It also seeks to answer common questions from its critics, and to suggest new directions for further study.