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Linguistic Landscapes, Multilingualism and Social Change

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Christine Hélot, Monica Barni, Rudi Janssens and Carla Bagna

The study of linguistic landscapes, the analysis and interpretation of the relationships between languages and spaces, is a blooming field in current sociolinguistics. In all their diversity, linguistic landscapes can be seen as the linguistic mirror of the dynamics of our globalised society. This book offers a selection of the best presentations given at the 3 rd International Linguistic Landscape Workshop, which took place at the University of Strasbourg in May 2010. The various contributions offer new perspectives on the mapping of multilingualism in different social contexts, and analyse how the linguistic landscape reflects social change. The book includes chapters in French and in English and provides a wide array of case studies dealing with language policy, political activism, art, advertising, religion, literacy, education and migration.

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DURK GORTER - Foreword: Signposts in the Linguistic Landscape

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DURK GORTER Foreword Signposts in the Linguistic Landscape “Where should I be able to go where I do not see one bit of advertising?” Morgan Spurlock asks in his documentary film the ‘Greatest Movie Ever Sold’. Consumer activist Ralph Nader answers him: “to sleep”. The film demonstrates how advertis- ing, marketing and product placement have penetrated our world. Brand names and advertisements are everywhere. We live in visual times and it is difficult to walk down a shopping street in almost any city around in the world and not notice the abundant use of commercial signage. Written language is an important part of these multimodal messages. Investiga- tions of the written language used on signs in public space, including non-com- mercial and official signage, go under the name of ‘Linguistic Landscape’ studies. It is a blooming field and the current volume adds to its momentum. The chapters here demonstrate several of the many possibilities for pertinent Linguistic Landscape studies that excite the curiosity of researchers with different disciplinary back- grounds. This new collection provides evidence to the steady progress researchers make in this subject area with an increasing number of studies across all continents. Although the geographic focus of most chapters is on Europe, it does have a global reach. The book itself also chooses a multilingual approach: although most chapters are written in English, some are also in French. In this Foreword I cannot do more than setting out some of the signposts. Tech- nological innovations have a direct...

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