Milan Ferenčík – Abstract

Language within the tourist gaze: Managing multilingualism in a linguascape of travel and recreation

In tourist landscapes across the globe, different languages are spoken to be heard as much as written to be displayed, and so language signage placed for functional and symbolic reasons offers itself for visual consumption by visitors through their ʽvisual gazeʼ (Urry, 2005). The linguistic landscapes are the results of deliberate interventions on the part of different agents, whether official or private, who apply management policies to implement their primarily economic interests. In my lecture I discuss the presence of languages in the multilingual public space of a Slovakia´s major site of tourism, trace the agents involved in the management of its linguistic landscape and search for the patterns of discourse practices as well as for ideologies which motivate their decisions. Bearing in mind the focus of the conference on the language management processes, I aim at the identification of management cycles, actors and resources used within particular cases of organised and simple management. Some of my research questions regarding the dynamics of the management process include the following: How are language management processes manifested in the researched site and what are their agents? What language policies do agents implement within the adjustment design? What is the place of “English” in the multilingual environment and which English is it? Which beliefs and expectations are traceable in agents´ evaluations and how are they attended? In my search for the manifestations of languages I combine several types of qualitative data and suitable analytical methods such as the analysis of multimodal public signs, field-notes, interaction interviews, media texts, internet discussion boards, and commentaries on internet websites. Apart from the framework of ʽlanguage management theoryʼ (e.g. Nekvapil, 2016), in my research I also draw on ʽgeosemioticsʼ (Scollon & Scollon, 2003), ʽsociolinguistics of globalizationʼ (Blommaert, 2010) and ʽethnographic linguistic landscapingʼ (e.g. Blommaert, 2013).

Blommaert, Jan, 2010. The Sociolingusitics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Blommaert, Jan, 2013. Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes. Chronicles of Complexity. Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
Nekvapil, Jiří, 2016. Language Management Theory as one approach in Language Policy and Planning. Current Issues in Language Planning, 17 (1), 11–22.
Scollon, Ron & Scollon, Suzie W., 2003. Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World. London: Routledge.
Urry, John, 2005. The ʽConsuming of Placeʼ. In: A. Jaworski & A. Pritchard (eds.), Discourse, Communication and Tourism. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto: Channel Publications, pp. 19–27.