n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Surface and underneath : a linguistic landscape analysis of the Bosman neighbourhood in Pretoria




This article explores how the study of the linguistic landscape (LL), which is to say the texts visible in public space, allows for a rich and complex understanding of place. More specifically, the article studies the Bosman neighbourhood in Pretoria through a geosemiotic lens. Geosemiotics situates signs in the material world, approaching them as actualisations of a multimodal social semiotic and as a site of encounter of the cycles of habitus, interaction, place semiotics and visual analysis. Walking is adopted as a research methodology, a means of reading the city and also a praxeology with which to constitute place. Aspects of LL that are considered here are reading path, change over time, materials used, represented participants and local and global production. Themes discussed are the habitus of receivers and producers expressed in the LL and mediated practices such as literacy. Language domination, the differentiation in LL according to power and temporality, informal and transgressive texts and the narratives and lives of producers and receivers are also introduced. Bosman emerges as a site of entanglement where origins, aspiration, intimacy and vulnerability merge in unexpected ways.


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