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Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Name: Risn Flynn I.D: 10128379 Course: Applied Languages (LM044) Module: Academic Literacies (AW4002)

Task: Conduct a linguistic landscape study of an area of your choice (e.g. UL, your home town, Limerick city). In your answer make reference to the patterns of multilingualism present in the area and outline to what extent each language carries a functional or emblematic use.

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Multilingualism In An Irish Linguistic Landscape


In todays modern society, with greater amounts of migration of people from one country to another, bringing along with them their own belief systems, culture, traditions and identity, one of the main attributes that can be transferred from one society to the next is language. The issue of multilingualism can be witnessed in all major cities worldwide, and to a lesser extent in larger and smaller towns. During the boom years of the Celtic Tiger Era (1990s-2000s), Irelands economy soared and as a result our shores were flooded with large numbers of immigrants, meaning that Irish society has since seen a major shift into a more ethnically diverse and complex civilisation. Although technically classified as a monolingual country, traditionally Ireland has always been bilingual, with the use of both Hiberno-English and Irish (Gaeilge), to a lesser extent. Irelands linguistic repertoire is historically rich and over the centuries Irish people have had to deal with the issue of multilingualism and the problems that arise as a result of the search for power and dominance in a society and trying to find ones place in a hierarchy, both politically and linguistically . The issue of multilingualism is not a new one for this society; however it is interesting to investigate which languages are thriving and which are facing obsolescence as a result of language shift and pressure to conform to use of the majority language(s). Over the course of this study, I will investigate and record the languages present in the linguistic landscape of the large town of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. I will compare and contrast the use of these languages based on functional and emblematic properties, taking into account letter font and format, i.e. the relative size of the font and whether the words are presented in bold, caps locks, italics etc. I will then discuss the perceptions of the language as a result of the way it is presented

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

to the public. I will also highlight the issue of lexical borrowing i.e. the direct borrowing, without translation, of terms and words from one language for use within another language, and how the use of certain languages can place added value on what is being communicated, i.e. the idea of prestige and grandeur in association with use of a particular language or dialect. The idea of a linguistic landscape is only a fairly recent area of investigation and study within sociolinguistics, i.e. the connection between language and society, and as my own study is only on a small scale, my findings are very limited and the results cannot be taken to be complete or final, meaning that this area is open to reinvestigation by other sources. Studies of the linguistic landscape are concerned with language in its written form, in the public sphere; language that is visible to all through texts such as billboards, advertisements, street signs, and other public signs. Although these linguistic tokens play a huge role in our everyday lives, they are often taken for granted and their significance in the shaping of our own perceptions of the society we live in tend to be overlooked. Every public sign has the potential to be ideological in nature, to act as symbolic markers of status and power and reinforce societal attitudes towards certain languages and the people who use these languages. With the presence of more than one language in a society, the symbolic struggle for space for a language always arises. This can be seen in campaigns of overpainting signs in both Wales, replacing English with Welsh, and in Gaeltacht regions in Ireland, replacing English with Irish (Gaeilge). Here it can be seen that the minority languages, i.e. feel threatened by the majority language, i.e. and in an effort to keep their language alive and to prevent language death, i.e the local people have placed their language in the public sphere, often through graffiti or vandalism of public signs. In these instances

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

the minority language can be seen to have an emblematic function, i.e. rather than help to provide people with information they are simply used in an attempt to give the language prestige and to place it in the public domain. The examples given above are examples of bottom-up initiatives, whereby however it is noted that the government can also play a role in this process with topdown initiatives, aimed at promoting the use of minority languages by giving it status within a society. This can be seen with the presence of Irish on every national road sign throughout the country, as seen in images 8, 10 and 11 below. It can clearly be seen that the English place names hold a greater amount of space on all three signs, being written in a larger font size and all in caps locks. This is because its role is functional in nature, i.e. as English is the majority language spoken its presence is to provide information and directions, allowing people to reach their desired destination or discover their present location with ease. Whereas the presence of Irish (Gaeilge) is purely emblematic and symbolic in nature, as the government place great emphasis on the importance of maintaining our mother tongue, i.e. they must follow through on this by placing it in the public sphere, and as a result while the language is present it is not afforded the same standing as the majority language and so is written in lower case, italics, making it less noticeable to the public. Similarly in Image 5, regarding opening times for the local Post Office, there can be seen the use of both English and Irish (Gaeilge), with obvious differences in the representation of both languages to the public. Although there are no variances in the font size or format, it can be seen that while English is presented in a prominent black colour, Irish (Gaeilge) is presented in a monotonous green colour, thus making the English words and sentences more visible to the public. Another interesting factor to note is that all the information is displayed English first, then followed by the Irish

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

(Gaeilge) translation. This means that the reader must first read in the information in English before choosing to read it in Irish (Gaeilge), should they be native speakers of the countrys mother tongue and a translation is needed or for aesthetic personal reasons. Thus it is noted that English is given higher priority over Irish (Gaeilge) simply by its placement and allowing it to be the first language read by the public. Two more examples of the use of both English and Irish (Gaeilge) also appear throughout this study, those being Images 4 and 15 respectively. In Image 4 we can see the use of Irish (Gaeilge) in a purely emblematic manner. The use of the word Cuileoga meaning flies, i.e. the type of insect, is used in an attempt to add an air of prestige to the retail store, making it appear more upper class as a result. It ties in with the fact that the store provides and sells a range of outdoor products for camping and hunting, including fishing tackle or what some may call flies. This is a clever marketing scheme as naming a store after an insect that feeds off of the waste of other animals and human beings would not be very appealing to the public. However, with the use of the Irish term this becomes more acceptable and adds an air of sophistication to the store. It is also noted that the use of English in Image 4 is functional in nature, as it clearly states that the store provides outdoor supplies for shooting, camping and fishing, thus informing the public of what is in store. As mentioned in the introduction, it can clearly be seen that the use of Irish (Gaeilge) is used in an attempt to place added value and grandeur on what is being communicated, and this can be seen again in Image 15. The use of the Irish (Gaeilge) Bcs U Mighid is a translation of the English Hewitts Home Bakery and is an attempt to place an air of respect into the business. The name Hewitt is not a traditional Irish (Gaeilge) name, it is one that was introduced into the country after the British Normans invaded Ireland. By translating the name into Irish (Gaeilge),.

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

One of the most prominent languages present within the linguistic landscape studied was French. The use of French words and terms can be seen in a total of 6 of the Images below, most notably Images 1, 7, 9, 12 and 13. There is a distinct connection between the use of French in all of these images, as mentioned in the introduction the issue of lexical borrowing is one that the English language features prominently and this can be seen especially so in Images 1, 7 and 12. In Image 1 the use of the term Bureau de Change is purely functional in nature, as this term has been adopted in English to indicate that the bank provides a service for purchasing foreign currency. Similarly in Image 7, the use of the term En Suite has been adopted in English to indicate that there are rooms available with their own private bathrooms attached, and so the use of French in this context is also functional. Although the use of the French word Boutique in Image 12 can be seen as an example of lexical borrowing, it has both functional and emblematic properties. It is functional in nature because the term has been adopted in English to indicate that this is a store, usually one that sells clothing. However it is also emblematic in nature because the use of the term boutique also has connotations of a more sophisticated and upper class store, with more expensive products, and so the use of this term can also be in an attempt to add prestige and superiority to the business, and as a result attract a more refined and wealthy type of customer. The uses of the French terms above are examples of lexical borrowing and are as such almost entirely functional in nature. However the use of the French term Chemise in Image 13 is more emblematic in nature. The translation of chemise is the equivalent of cardigan or shirt in English and its use is similar to that of Image 4 and the use of Irish (Gaeilge), in that it indicates what is in store, i.e. clothes, but it also adds an chic, cultured and more fashioned air to the business. Similarily the

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

use of the French term Prmaman carries the exact same emblematic properties as the use of French in Image 13. The translation of this term is the equivalent of before motherhood or while pregnant and as such its use in this linguistic landscape is also to indicate that the store provides products for expecting mothers but mainly to add an air of prestige and sophistication to business. Image 2 presents us with both Polish and English; although it can be seen that Polish plays a more prominent role in this linguistic token. This is a store aimed specifically at the Polish population living in the area. As large numbers of Polish workers immigrated to Ireland during the Celtic Tiger, stores like these have become more common. They provide specific products that link in with the Polish culture and diet, so that they immigrant community can still feel connected to their home country. The use of Polish is therefore functional in nature, as it indicates to the immigrant community that this shop is there to suit their needs. The translation of the Polish term Zapraszamy into the English Welcome can be seen as either functional or emblematic in nature. It can be seen as functional, in that it indicates to the Irish population, speakers of the majority language (English) that they too are welcome to shop at this store. However, it can also be seen as emblematic in nature because it is clear that. Image 3 presents us with the languages Chinese and English, with the most prominent language being English. This is because it is functional in nature, it indicates to the public that this is a food store that provides a takeaway service, whereby the food is cooked for them in store and they can take it home with them to eat. The use of Chinese is purely emblematic in nature; it is used to indicate that the store provides and specialises in Chinese cuisine and to make the store appear more respectable and trustworthy to the public.

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 7 presents us with three languages, i.e. Spanish, English and French (as mentioned above). Paying particular attention to the use of the Spanish term casa meaning home, its use in this particular setting is more symbolic in nature. Although it indicates that the restaurant provides Mediterranean cuisine, it does so in a subconscious fashion and as such it can be seen as more symbolic than functional because its primary role is to create and image of a business that is luxury, trustworthy and more upper class in nature. Image 14 presents us with a menu for an Italian restaurant, using both Italian and English, with English having a functional role and Italian having both functional and emblematic roles. The English present is used to provide information on what each dish available contains in terms of ingredients; therefore it is functional in nature. However the Italian present may be considered emblematic in the same way that the Spanish in Image 7 is emblematic, or it may be considered functional because some of the terms present can be considered lexical borrowing and as such they are commonly used within the English language and by the majority language speakers, e.g. minestrone is a term meaning soup that has been adopted in English to indicate a certain type of soup with specific ingredients.

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Analysis of Photos and Languages Present


Image 1 AIB Bureau de Change (Lexical Borrowing from French) Functional Image 2 - Polish Shop, Polish (Functional) and English (Functional and Emblematic) Image 3 Chinese Takeaway, English (Functional) and Chinese (Emblematic) Image 4 Cuileoga, Irish (Emblematic, Prestige) and English (Functional) Image 5 Post Office, Irish (Emblematic) and English (Functional) Image 6 Graffiti Art, Multiple Languages, Emblematic Image 7 Spanish Restaurant, Spanish (Casa Emblematic, Prestige) and French (Functional,Lexical Borrowing)

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 8 & 10 Road Sign, Irish (Emblematic) and English (Functional) Image 9 - Prmaman Clothes Store, French (Emblematic, Prestige) Image 11 Street Sign, Irish (Emblematic) and English (Funtional) Image 12 Boutique Clothes Store, French (Emblematic, Prestige, lexical borrowing, functional?!) Image 13 Chemise Clothes Store, French (Emblematic, Prestige) Image 14 Italian Restaurant, Italian (Emblematic and Functional) and English (Functional) Image 15 Bakery, Irish (Emblematic) and English (Functional)

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 7

Image 8

Image 9

Image 10

Image 11

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 12

Image 13

Image 14

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Image 15

Name: Risn Flynn

25/07/2011

I.D: 10128379

Mind Map

Migration of people and languages Historically rich in languages Celtic Tiger - Ethnically diverse Traditionally bilingual Monolingualism versus bilingualism Prestige Language Planning Language Death and Revitalisation Hierarchical language Borrowing of words/terms from other languages, e.g. gastronomy Signage, i.e different types (advertising versus road signage) Letter font and format, i.e bold, italics, font size, caps lock Media, i.e. subconscious, influence in everyday life Definition functional Definition emblematic List of different languages found New area of development and research Definition linguistic landscape Definition multilingualism