Saturday, February 25, 2006


Following on from yeterday's post I have just read an interesting paper by Jan Blommaert, James Collins and Stef Slembrouck. (It came from here but is no longer available as has been published in Language and Communication.) It looks at

Spaces of Multilingualism.

One of the sentences that popped out at me, was where they say:

' in itself demands closer investigation if we intend to analyze the way in which multilingualism operates in and across societies nowadays. Every communicative event develops in a particular space, and this space may influence the event in non-arbitrary ways'.

Although this paper is about different languages being used in different ways in a world where travel and cultural exchange is more frequent, the way they talk about language as 'an ideologoical object' is relevant to me in looking at ways in which language is used in online spaces. It is about the idea of language being invested with social and cultural interests, not just a vehice for denotational, neutral meaning. I want to look at the way in which language is used in specific ways in online spaces, so that in a particular online space, meaning becomes imbued with specific cultural and social messages in that space. In this way the words beging to work differently in the space and help to define that space - so that words are both constitutive and agentive.

Spaces of multilingualism: Blommaert, J., Collins, J., Slembrouck, S. (2005)Language & Communication 25: 197-216

But if you think this is all a bit OTT this may be more up your street - about reading shop windows.

This is a nice illustration I found:

It is good to try, but


Kate said...

I love the spaces of multilingualism.
Jan said helpfully he woudl be writing a book with Stef and Jim in the summer which is a relief as frankly downloading pdf's is a bore.
I also love photographing signs and looking at how multilingual neighbourhoods' are realised in relation to language and space.

Bex said...

Dearest Dr Joolz - you have once again provided a breath of fresh air to my penned-in academic life. I've been to several lectures by Jan B and not really been able to connect. But you seem to float above and pick out all the really interesting bits. You're like an academic precious jewel detector. The article will be dead useful for teaching. Thank you! xx

Dr. Rob said...

Bah! Spaces of Multilingualism, my a%&e, come to my living room when the family are watching a Russian soap set in the Canaries dubbed into Ukrainian then you'd understand spaces of muliflaminglingualism! Or even an American film dubbed into Russian with a layer of Ukrainian over the top of that!

Why did I ever buy that satellite system!


Joolz said...

Wow that sounds fabulous DrRob. Bex and I want to come over. We would take notes on the film, on the Ukranian wife, on you and the interaction of all 3. Can we bring friends, notebooks and cameras??

Dr. Rob said...

Only if you bring the correct sort of Vodka and Bilinis

Joolz said...

Bloody excellent. I'm there mate.

About Me

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.