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Dimensions of Sociolinguistic Landscapes in Europe

Materials and Methodological Solutions

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Edited By Mikko Laitinen and Anastassia Zabrodskaja

The articles in this volume investigate everyday textual material of sociolinguistic landscapes in the early 21st century. Sociolinguistic landscapes reflect societal change, and they enable observers to map what linguistic resources are used in various contexts and to study how these resources interact and are interpreted. The articles present not only quantitative results of the presence of languages in signs but also look into how authors and designers make use of an endless pool of linguistic resources, how visible semiotic items contribute to create a sense of space, what types of mental processes are involved in the production, and how various audiences (residents, occasional passers-by, and language regulators) interpret and construct signs and sociolinguistic landscapes to form their own understanding of semiotic space.
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Dimensions and dynamics of sociolinguistic landscapes in Europe

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The articles in this volume investigate sociolinguistic landscapes, language and signs displayed in space, in Europe in the early 21st century. The common denominator is the object of study as the authors analyze everyday textual material which may consist of “any display of visible written language” (Gorter 2013: 190) and other discursive modalities related to written language, such as images and nonverbal communication (Jaworski and Thurlow 2010: 2). The articles approach the objects of study from a range of angles and theoretical perspectives. Some of them take a linguistic landscape approach which examines multilingual signs from the standpoint of societal multilingualism by focusing on how displays of language are regulated, how hierarchies of languages could be used to understand multilingual practices in context, and how code choice and preference become meaningful indicators of societal multilingualism. Others make use of the theoretical notions presented in Scollon and Scollon’s (2003) geosemiotic approach and in Jaworski and Thurlow’s (2010) semiotic landscape studies in which the focus falls on analyzing emerging social meanings which are related to placement of signs and to the discourses and actions that stem from their placement (cf. also Blommaert 2013). No matter what the theoretical orientation is, the articles present not only quantitative results of the presence of various languages, but they also investigate (a) how visible semiotic materials and semiotic aggregates contribute to creating a sense of place or a location, (b) how authors and designers of signs make use of an endless pool of linguistic...

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