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Genre and metacultural displays: the case of street-name signs

Journal article
Authors Johan Järlehed
Published in Linguistic Landscape. An international journal
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 286-305
ISSN 2214–9953
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Pages 286-305
Language en
Keywords affordances, Basque, cultural commodification, Galician, genre, linguistic and semiotic landscapes, place-branding, social semiotics, street-names
Subject categories Other languages, Linguistics


This paper argues that studies of the linguistic landscape (LL) could merit from a more detailed social semiotic examination of particular sign-genres. It describes genre as normative system open to hange, on the one hand, and as complex historical and cultural configurations of semiotic resources and affordances, on the other. Based on illustrative analysis of how the discursive interaction of ‘pride’ and ‘profit’ is affecting Galician and Basque street-name signing, the paper makes the following points: (1) genre depends on discourse, and discourse depends on genre; (2) particular materializations of a genre actualize distinct resources and highlight different affordances; (3) detailed and contextualized analysis of determined sign genres can reveal ideological layering in the LL; (4) when a genre is taken ‘out of place’ or is recontextualized, its typical repertoire of resources is rearranged and new affordances emerge.

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