Sign language: interpreting the linguistic landscape of a Manitoba town

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Phillips, Cindy
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Linguistic Landscape refers to linguistic objects that mark the public space (Gorter, 2006). The focal point of this research project is to examine how the informational and symbolic messages conveyed through the Linguistic Landscape (LL) portray the personality, language attitudes, and culture of a rural town; Carman, Manitoba. Since people play an active role in designing the LL, this research project was designed to accurately describe a rural Manitoba town through analysis of the language and symbols found in the landscape as representative of it as a community. By implementing an ethnographic approach utilizing critical language study (CLS) (Fairclough, 2001) and a communication framework (Hymes, 1972) this paper argues that the language used in the public space cannot be ignored or taken for granted. The language that is used on signs in public spaces is evidence of this. It manifests itself in power of the language used for communication, capitalism, values and lifestyles, and inclusion and exclusion of the population.
linguistic landscape, critical language study