The Settler Colonial Linguistic Landscapes of Northern Sweden
In this paper, I visit settler colonial linguistic landscapes in Swedish Sápmi, in the 19th century and today, illuminating the importance of historical depth for sense of place, and entangling some of the “elimination” mechanisms of linguistic landscapes in settler colonial process. Although the focus lies on place-names, various kinds of narratives of place are included in the discussion, as well as a discussion of the discursive landscapes of settler colonialism.
Appropriating multilingual spaces in the peripheral linguistic landscape
In my PhD-project I want to explore the multi-layered linguistic diversity in a sparsely populated area in the north of Sweden. This is a geographical space that is only seldomly part of public discourse and research on multilingualism, despite being characterized by several intersecting historical trajectories of diverse language practices, as well as having experienced profound processes of social change related to globalization, migration and technological change during the last few decades.
By exploring the interactions between newly arrived high school students and the linguistic landscape in a peripheral small town, I want to take the linguistic diversity of contemporary Swedish rural schools and communities not as a problem to be addressed by well-meaning pedagogues and researchers from above, but as a point of departure, from where unequal power relations can be explored and contested together with marginalized students and their educators. My view here is that the texts, images and other semiotic artefacts that more or less consciously have been placed in the public space manifest – despite their seemingly trivial character – social, political and ideological values, at the same time as they are rarely considered or discussed explicitly. They can therefore be said to form a sort of “hidden curriculum” in the school environment and its surrounding, influencing the possibilities for newly arrived students to learn languages, and sometimes counteracting official policies on multilingualism in society (cf. Laihonen & Szabó, 2018; Shohamy, 2015).
Keywords: Multilingualism, linguistic landscape, periphery, newly arrived students, hidden curriculum
Laihonen, P., & Szabó, T. P. (2018). Studying the visual and material dimensions of education and learning. Linguistics and Education, 44, 1.
Shohamy, E. (2015). LL research as expanding language and language policy. Linguistic Landscape, 1(1–2), 152–171. https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.1.1-2.09sho
Language ideologies in the content of public signage in Seychelles.
Through language, a person, not only conveys linguistic information, but also gives off information about the immediate settings in which they find themselves, and their relationship with the languages they employ or come into contact with, (Mesthrie et al. 2009). This presentation, which is part of an ongoing doctoral thesis, explores how historical, political and social ideologies influence the ways in which Seychellois, as a postcolonial and plurilingual nation, perceive and practice Seychelles Creole, English and French as their national languages.
It presents a partial quantitative exploration of language use in the public domain, of Seychelles, with a focus on public signage encountered on Mahé and Praslin, which constitute the most populated and most industrialised islands of the Seychelles archipelago. For data interpretation, I employ the Language Management Theory (Spolsky, 2009),through which I identify and subsequently quantify eight emergent domains of interaction, namely commercial, tourism, school /education, health and safety, public information, media and arts and entertainment. For deeper interpretation I conduct a qualitative analysis, using the Conditions model (Spolsky,1998), as employed in Language Management (2009), to extrapolate the pattern of language practices, as they emerge in the content of public signage and attempt to explain such practices in relation to the country’s colonial background and present social and political situation. The expectation (of the complete thesis) is to identify and understand the ideological underpinnings, which govern the language practices, of Seychelles and their implication to language management, politically, socially and individually.
Ashcroft, B. Griffith, G. Tiffin, H. (2002). The empire writes back. Theory and practice in postcolonial literature.(2.ed.) London & New York: Routledge
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Bollée A. 1977, Le Créole Français des Seychelles, Max Niemeyer Verlag Tübingen.
Chaudenson R. 1992, Des îles, des hommes, des langues, Paris, Didier Erudition.
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Mesthrie. R., Swann, J., Deumert, A., and Leap, W. (2009) Introducing sociolinguistics. 2nd Edt. Edinburgh University Press 22 George Square, Edinburgh
Republic of Seychelles, 1993, Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles.
Spolsky, B. (1991). The Languages of Jerusalem. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Spolsky, B. (2009). Language Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Spolsky, B. (1988). Bridging the Gap: A General Theory of Second Language Learning. TESOL, 22 (3) pp. 377-396. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3587285
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A Sociolinguistic Study on Attitudes towards Seychellois Creole. Berlin: Peter Lang.
Crowdsourcing in the humanities. Experiences from two participatory projects in Luxembourg
Christoph Purschke, Université du Luxembourg
Crowdsourcing is a current trend in scholarly research. Building on digital technology and participatory methods, researchers are using crowdsourcing to collect, process, and visualize data from various domains, including historical documents, water quality, or public signage. In linguistics, crowdsourcing has seen a massive growth of interest in the last years, especially in projects that make use of mobile research applications to collect an analyze language variation and change. For example, such apps have been used to document regional variation in English and Frisian, voice quality and speech rate in Swiss German, or multilingualism in public signage. The use of crowdsourcing techniques brings about new possibilities for linguistic research in combining the participatory collection and computational processing of data. Some concerns have been raised, however, in respect of the composition, quality, and value of such data collections for academic research.
Against the backdrop of this, the talk will discuss experiences from two research projects hosted at the University of Luxembourg. One project focuses on the diversity of written language in the public sphere (Lingscape), the other project (Schnëssen) documents variation in present-day spoken Luxembourgish. Both projects are app-based and build on public participation in project work. The talk will briefly introduce the projects and their workflows, present some exemplary results, and discuss the potential and pitfalls of crowdsourcing for linguistic research, including the implementation of mobile research apps in educational settings.
Perspectives on the linguistic landscapes of bilingual Finland
Väinö Syrjälä, Södertörn University
The officially bilingual towns of Finland are an interesting starting point for studies of linguistic landscapes. In my doctoral thesis (University of Helsinki, 2018) I looked at both the proper names in the linguistic landscape and the perspectives of language users from a methodological perspective.
In this presentation, my aim is to paint the picture of the linguistic landscapes of bilingual Finland as seen from different perspectives. 1) Based on a questionnaire: what kind of perceptions do language users of the two bilingual towns Karis and Kauniainen have about the language use in public spaces? 2) What does the landscapes of these towns actually contain according to my own, systematic observations? 3) When tasked with observing the linguistic landscape of their own suburb in the Helsinki region, what catches the eye of teenagers with different linguistic backgrounds (Finnish- and Swedish-speaking respectively)? 4) Finally, based on my ongoing diachronic study of commercial signs in historical photographs: how does the linguistic landscape of Helsinki mirror political and sociolinguistic changes in the city?
Focus on the brief review of these case studies will be on some methodological notes, especially the challenges and possibilities that I faced when including the point of view of actual language users. In addition, I will comment on the bilingualism of Finland based on the linguistic landscape, mainly the status of Swedish. This can be summarised in todays linguistic landscape as two-fold: the Swedish language has a strong presence in the official language policy and is thus quite visible on some signs, but the lack of use in the commercial linguistic landscape still wakes questions about its vitality outside areas where it has a local majority position.
“World-class” segregation, or entrepreneurial place-making in Nya Hovås
Johan Järlehed, University of Gothenburg
This paper is part of an ongoing research project targeting the role of language in segregation and gentrification processes. The project aims to investigate how segregation and gentrification processes interact with each other, and how they are (re)produced in the linguistic landscape. We develop a multi-sited, embodied and mobile linguistic ethnography in order to examine the visibility of specific languages in four different neighbourhoods, explain how these languages are used for different functions, and how people’s lived experiences of language values and usage affect their actions and patterns of movement.
In this presentation we focus on one of the neighbourhoods. Along highway 158, some 13 km south of Gothenburg’s city centre, a new urban neighbourhood is being created: Nya Hovås. Until recently Nya (new) Hovås was a ‘non-place’, an unpopulated area around the highway exit, some 3 km south of the old fashionable high-end neighbourhood Hovås. In the last few years, Nya Hovås has become a complete neighbourhood. The construction has been accompanied by an extensive and expensive advertising campaign in both traditional and new media. In order to attract attention and interest, a large part of the campaign has focused on creating a unique identity based on the following values: newness (Hovås vs Nya Hovås); accessibility (both to the nearby coast and to the city centre); urban coolness (architectural resources such as a wooden amphitheatre and a rooftop school-yard are combined with textual references to hip international urban centres);creativity (adaptations of the iconic Hollywood sign and NY logo heart); and international flair (continuous choice of high status names and languages).
Drawing on Lefebvre’s (1978) dialectical account of the production of space, Harvey’s (1989) critical conceptualisation of urban entrepreneurialism, and a relational and scalar approach to place-making inspired by Tonkiss (2013) and Carr & Lempert (2016), we contend that the entrepreneurial place-making of Nya Hovås is both profiting on and contributing to urban polarization, where the financial and planning resources spent on this neighbourhood risk undermining the development of other, poorer, areas in the city. The “World-class mixed city” of the entrepreneur’s rhetoric risks being reduced to “World-class segregation”.