Behind the presence of Chinese: the linguistic landscape of Box Hill
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2016 Xiaofang Yao
With the ongoing trend of globalisation, more attention has been paid to multilingual and multicultural communication in the urban area. Such growing interests have made linguistic landscape (LL) studies, which address languages on public signage, a popular approach to sociolinguistics and social semiotics in the past few years. Previous LL literature has been preoccupied with the spread of English in multilingual cities around the world with little attention to the role of Chinese in the Australian urban context. As such, the current study aims to conduct a LL study concerning the use of Chinese in Box Hill. To achieve this aim, I used photographs of signs, such as street signs, shop names and promotional signs, as the source of data. A multi-layered approach combining quantitative and qualitative analyses are employed to firstly give an overview of the language combinations in Box Hill and secondly dive deeper into the intentions and ideologies underlying linguistic and semiotic choices. Findings of this study show that different signs have their respective language choices and semiotic preferences, and these can be understood in relation to the social context and cultural knowledge. This study revealed the status of Chinese language in an English-dominant environment. It contributed to the field of LL by promoting a multimodal perspective of photographic data, and made an effort to extend multimodal theories to accounting for signs with a Chinese origin. The study has important implications for linguistic and visual literacy. It suggests that language learning should not be based solely on linguistic knowledge, but also include cultural understandings. In addition, visual literacy is as important as linguistic literacy and are key in deciphering the meaning of signs in the modern world.
Keywordslinguistic landscape; multilingualism; semiotic resources; Chinese; Australia
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