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Linguistic Landscapes on Postcards: Tourist Mediation and the Sociolinguistic Communities of Contact

Issue: Vol 4 No. 3 (2010) Second strings and linguistic connections: bilingual and bilinguistic explorations. Dedicated to Professor Michel Blanc

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.v4i3.569


Alongside ‘iconic’ sights such as buildings, monuments, artworks, modes of transport, and so on, linguistic landscape is a prime semiotic resources for the tourist consumption of place. Apart from their referential function (naming or indexing places, buildings, institutions, products, etc.), written signs work as symbolic resources to create a ‘sense of place’ and as performative displays of identity for their producers and consumers. This paper examines the representation and production of linguistic landscapes on the seemingly banal yet one of the most ubiquitous and powerful of tourist genres – the postcard. I consider six types of interpretive frames for understanding the presence (or absence) of language as part of the postcard image: absence of text; caption; greeting; spectacle; language learning and teaching; tourist script. I conclude with some observations on the sociolinguistic reflexes of mediated tourist-host contact under globalisation.

Author: Adam Jaworski

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