Special Issue - Applications of Linguistic Landscapes


Guest Editors

Corinne A. Seals, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Greg Niedt, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, USA

Understanding the way that we interact with the world around us through text and other symbolic means of conveying information has been the driving force behind research in linguistic landscapes (LL). LL studies have a long history of examining signs and objects in areas where multilingualism is the norm. This focus has led researchers to examine how, both individually and in the aggregate, these signs illustrate the dynamic interaction of different language communities in any given space. For the people inhabiting spaces where multilingualism occurs, physical expressions of linguistic diversity within the LL are key contact points where connection and tension, access and inequality, all become visible.

While work in the field has given us a multitude of case studies and shed considerable light on many of the structures that underlie the dynamics of these spaces, their application to effecting change in language policy and planning have not received as much attention. In this special issue, we will bring together a number of papers from a variety of multilingual contexts around the globe that provide direct, critical suggestions on how attention to the landscape can improve the quality of life for minority, Indigenous, and/or repressed language communities and speakers. We will show examples of how contributing positively to material surroundings that acknowledge, encourage, and highlight linguistic diversity can complement other efforts towards fostering multilingualism. This includes studies of how the LL can contribute to changes in language policy and planning through the lenses of schoolscapes, protest movements, public campaigns, interaction with local residents and businesses, and more.

By turning the theories about how the LL functions into concrete practices that benefit others, individuals' attitudes towards languages and their speakers can be broadened, creating a supportive discourse of multilingualism across contexts.


Linguistic landscapes; multilingualism; linguistic diversity; applied linguistics; language policy and planning; theory into practice