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Evolving Nature of the English Language

Studies in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

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Robert Kiełtyka and Agnieszka Uberman

This volume presents a collection of interdisciplinary papers pertaining to the most thought-provoking problems in the areas of both theoretical and applied linguistics. The contributors focus on contemporary developments in morphological, semantic and pragmatic theorizing. The contributions are also devoted to various aspects of the methodology of teaching English as well as some intricacies of translation.

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London’s Linguistic Capital in Urban Visual Signs (Guntars Dreijers)

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Guntars Dreijers

London’s Linguistic Capital in Urban Visual Signs

Abstract: The article deals with urban sociolinguistics. Visual written signs scattered all throughout the streets of London echo voices wielding informative, cultural, and corporate capital. All forms of the urban visual capital are part of linguistic capital – a term introduced by Pierre Bourdieu. It allows the establishment of interdisciplinary links between linguistic and economic factors manifested by urban signs in light of capital theories and sociolinguistic considerations. Written signs as a form of the city’s linguistic capital have several roles – guidance, information, education, and manipulation. The practical material explores the multimodal communication of a set of London’s visual signs that serve as intermediaries between those who wield the city’s linguistic capital and those who might benefit from it. Visual signs also reveal the urban self-identity, and act pragmatically as clues for navigating through the city. Visual written signs are viewed as an integral component in the urban multilingual melting pot. The degree of linguistic and paralinguistic creativity in signs often determines not only the viability of signs but also the success of their performative character.

Keywords: linguistic capital, advertising, visual literacy, signs

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