SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Linguistic Landscapes (LL) as a target of urban language planning in Taipei and other Asian cities

CTS-IMG-20180228-Henning Kloter Image 1
Speaker: Henning Klöter

Date: 1 March 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 1 March 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Talk


“Linguistic landscape” (LL) is a general term for language displayed on private, public and commercial signs (Shohamy, Ben-Rafael and Barni 2010, Shohamy and Gorter 2009). In the past two decades, LL have become an increasingly important area of research in the intersections of sociolinguistics, media studies, geography and semiotics. My analysis will be based on LL examples collected in Taipei which will be compared with data from Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, and Beijing. All these cities are predominantly inhabited by speakers of Sinitic languages. At the same time, however, they differ considerably in terms of coexistence of different Sinitic and non-Sinitic varieties. Looking at LL from the perspective of language planning, my presentation distinguishes formal and informal LL. A typical example of formal LL are street signs, the visual and linguistic contents of which follow guidelines of official language planning agencies, both in terms of language choice and design. Informal LL, on the other hand, include signs designed and written by individuals and put on display in shops, markets, coffee bars, public bulletin boards, etc. I will analyze to what extent informal LL can be analyzed as expressions of language attitudes and acts of unofficial language planning. The comparison will highlight differences in responses to language variation and language ideologies by official language planning agencies and individuals.

Shohamy, Elena, Eliezer Ben-Rafael and Monica Barni. 2010. Linguistic landscape in the city. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Shohamy, Elena and Durk Gorter. 2009. Linguistic landscape: Expanding the scenery. New York & London: Routledge.

Speaker Bio

CTS-IMG-20180228-Henning Kloter

Henning Klöter is Professor of Modern Chinese Languages and Literatures at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He has previously held positions at the universities of Göttingen, Mainz, Bochum and National Taiwan Normal University. His major publications are Written Taiwanese (Harrassowitz 2005) and The Language of the Sangleys: A Chinese vernacular in missionary documents of the seventeenth century (Brill 2011). His research interests include multilingualism, society and language planning in Greater China, the history of Chinese linguistics in Europe, Sinophone literature and Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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