Material narration of nostalgia

The linguistic landscape of a rural township in Australia


  • Xiaofang Yao The University of Melbourne



linguistic landscape, affect, nostalgia, rural place, semiotic resources


The issue of affect in linguistic landscapes has rarely been addressed, especially regarding the material narration of nostalgia in the rural context. In this article, I present an investigation of the linguistic landscape of a rural township in Victoria, Australia to reveal how nostalgia is ordered, narrated and accomplished by means of situated material semiotic artefacts. The study is based on ethnographic data collected through photographs, interviews and fieldnotes. Results indicated ways in which affective regimes draw on multimodal resources to create nostalgic signage for imagination and for consumption. In this light, this study contributes to an understanding of the material aspect of nostalgic affect and, more generally, points to the evocative potential of linguistic landscapes.

Author Biography

Xiaofang Yao, The University of Melbourne

Xiaofang Yao is PhD candidate at the School of Linguistics and Languages, The University of Melbourne. Her research interests are linguistic landscape, social semiotics and digital media. Her doctoral dissertation explores linguistic landscapes of Chinese communities in Victoria, Australia, with a focus on issues of affect, power and identity.


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How to Cite

Yao, X. (2020). Material narration of nostalgia: The linguistic landscape of a rural township in Australia. Sociolinguistic Studies, 14(1-2), 7–31.