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LINGUIST List 16.2331

Fri Aug 05 2005

Diss: Socioling: Backhaus: 'Signs of Multilingualism...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <takolinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Peter Backhaus, Signs of Multilingualism in Tokyo: A linguistic landscape approach

Message 1: Signs of Multilingualism in Tokyo: A linguistic landscape approach
Date: 05-Aug-2005
From: Peter Backhaus <backhauphotmail.com>
Subject: Signs of Multilingualism in Tokyo: A linguistic landscape approach

Institution: University of Duisburg-Essen
Program: Modern Japanese Language, History and Culture
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Peter Backhaus

Dissertation Title: Signs of Multilingualism in Tokyo: A linguistic landscape approach

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Japanese (JPN)

Dissertation Director:
Ulrich Ammon
Florian Coulmas

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis examines recent tendencies of linguistic diversification in
Japan by focusing on language use on signs in the streets of Tokyo. The
study of written language in public space is a newly developing
sociolinguistic subfield now commonly referred to as linguistic landscape

Apart from a general introduction and a brief outline of the local setting
in chapters 1 and 2, the thesis consists of three major parts. Chapter 3
explores the semiotic properties of language use on signs and gives an
overview of previous approaches to the topic. Chapter 4 deals with the
administrative background to Tokyo's linguistic landscape, demonstrating
that the appearance of languages and scripts other than Japanese in the
streets of Tokyo to a considerable extent is the result of official
language planning activities. Chapter 5 discusses the findings of a
large-scale empirical survey about multilingual signs conducted in spring
2003 in the centre of Tokyo. It introduces ten categories for the
quantitative and qualitative analysis of a corpus of 2,444 signs recorded
by digital camera. The concluding chapter of the thesis summarises the main
findings about Tokyo's signs of multilingualism, their writers, their
readers, and the language contact situation as a whole.

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