The Research Centre for Multilingualism of the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (RIL-HAS) will organize a workshop conference on Theory and Practice of Linguistic Landscape research on East-Central European Minorities on 23 May 2013. The venue is RIL-HAS (1068 Budapest, Benczúr utca 33).

Linguistic Landscape

These days, sociolinguists do not just walk around the world carrying field notebooks and sound recording equipment; they also carry digital photo cameras with which they take snapshots of what has in the meantime become known as 'linguistic landscapes'. (Blommaert 2012: 5)

During the past decade, research on visual language use has grown to an emerging discipline under the term Linguistic Landscape (LL). Today, this term has a wide definition, including the widest variety of forms and modes of visual language use (e.g. Shohamy & Gorter 2009). For quantitative research, the term was first developed to study the ethnolinguistic vitality of French in Quebec (Laundry & Bourhis 1997). The groundbreaking book by Scollon and Scollon (2003) established the basic method for qualitative, geosemiotic research of inscriptions and signs. Since then, the analysis of multimodal signs as well as the emplacement of different codes in multilingual inscriptions has been in the focus of LL research.

The most elementary contribution of visual research to sociolinguistic description of a given community, area or city has been to ask how different minority languages are displayed and interpreted in the LL.

In the recent past, there has been an emerging body of LL related research on East-Central Europe, too. However, most often the focus has been on other issues and coordinated research on the region has yet not appeared.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The aim of the conference

The primary aim of this conference is to provide description and analysis of Hungarian paired minorities LL's in Hungary and beyond. We search for insights from both research in progress as well as related previous theoretical and practical ventures. Explorative ventures and new openings are most welcome both on theory and practice.

There is an urgent need for a concerted, theoretically robust and methodologically solid research due to recurrent local and international legal and political turmoil on visual use of minority languages in East-Central Europe since the fall of socialism in the region.

This conference is aimed to go beyond documentation, observation and cataloguing of the LL in order to provide avenues of systematic interpretation.

In line with previous LL research, we encourage interdisciplinary approaches. So far, the fields of linguistics, geography, history, anthropology, sociology and law have been engaged in investigations on the LL.

Both synchronic and historical viewpoints are welcomed. Explorations to language varieties in the LL, vernacular or dialectal LL, as well as unconventional visual literacies are among the desiderata. Presentations should include an analysis of concrete signs.


Blommaert, Jan 2012. Chronicles of complexity: Ethnography, superdiversity and linguistic landscapes. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies 29. Tilburg University.

Laihonen, Petteri 2012. Nyelvi tájkép egy csallóközi és egy mátyusföldi faluban. Fórum Társadalomtudományi Szemle 14/3: 27–49.

Landry, Rodrigue & Richard Bourhis 1997. Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16: 23–49.

Scollon, Ron & Suzie Wong Scollon 2003. Discourses in place: Language in the material world. London: Routledge.

Shohamy, Elana & Durk Gorter (eds.) 2009. Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery. London: Routledge.