Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Linguistic Landscape 7 Workshop in Berkeley. Part 2

As promised in the first part of my Berkeley notes, I now share some of my perceptions about the town and the nearby metropolis, San Francisco. I was lucky that I could spend some time before and after the conference with sightseeing. The organizers were also very nice and organized a bus trip to the Muir Woods National Monument; there we could spend great time with a handful of participants. Of course my ears and eyes were wide open for linguistic experiences during my whole trip, especially because it was my first time ever in the States.

Golden Gate Bridge, the ultimate symbol of the Bay region – and probably the inspiration behind the LL7 logo.

Unfortunately I can't reproduce here the audible linguistic diversity that surrounded me, but I can share a couple of pictures about various languages, scripts and semiotic practices that were interesting for me. I also liked the nature, and meeting the Pacific Ocean was a stunning moment of my life. So, let's see the pics!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Linguistic Landscape 7 Workshop in Berkeley. Part 1

In May I had the pleasure to attend the 7th Linguistic Landscape Workshop at the University of California, Berkeley. Since I use the Linguistic Landscape (LL) approach extensively in my research on education-related ideologies, I was happy to learn about new developments in the field. Listening to the presentations, I found two recurring topics being especially relevant for my studies. First: what is the role of the researcher in the documentation and analysis of linguistic landscapes? As it is a field where thousands of photos and videos are analyzed day by day, the question emerges both in a practical sense (how to choose the angle, the scope, the format, etc. for the image we will analyze) and at a theoretical level (what frameworks and analytical methods are available and appropriate for our studies). Secondly, I think numerous contributions made very good points in connection with the relationship between the researchers and the researched communities, raising issues of ethics and social impact. Last but not least, since this was my first visit in the States ever, and I got excited of the cultural heterogeneity I experienced during this wonderful week (but more about this will come in the second part of this post).

Part of the Berkeley campus and the town as seen from the top of Sather Tower or Campanile, a symbol of the university. My image.

Instead of giving a full report, now I try to present some of the ideas that inspired me the most. As you could notice, the workshop was not yesterday, so I had time to think over a couple of issues in the past months.

The papers were presented in three parallel sessions, so it was impossible to listen to all of them. But, thanks to the organizers, you can read a lot about the papers and discussions on a collaborative writing space that contains even photos and handouts. You can also read all the abstracts online.