New Books in Language

Interviews with Scholars of Language about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/language

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episode 4: Language Makes the Place


Ingrid Piller speaks with Adam Jaworski about his research in language and mobility.

Adam is best known for his work on “linguascaping” – how languages, or bits of languages, are used to stylize a place. A welcome sign may index a tourist destination, artistic arrangements of word blocks like “love”, “peace”, or “joy” may index consumption and leisure spaces, multilingual signage may index a cosmopolitan space, and the absence of language may suggest the quiet luxury of the super-rich.

As these examples suggest, Adam’s focus, often in collaboration with his colleague Crispin Thurlow, has been on privileged mobilities: European tourists in West Africa, business class travelers, and those frequenting the consumption temples of our time, upmarket shopping malls.

Such research is vital to understanding the intersection between language and inequality, as Adam explains in our interview. Privilege is the other side of the inequality coin, and a side that sociolinguists have often neglected.

First published on January 17, 2022. 

“Chats in Linguistic Diversity” is a podcast about linguistic diversity in social life brought to you by the Language on the Move team. We explore multilingualism, language learning, and intercultural communication in the contexts of globalization and migration.

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 February 18, 2024  54m