The next phase of this project studies the linguistic landscape of Kingsford, NSW Sydney focusing on the domain of services. A linguistic landscape refers to a combination of the language of commercial shop signs, billboards, public road signs of a given region (Landry & Bourhis, 1997). Particularly, a multimodal discourse analysis (Kress, 2009) (van Leeuwen, 2006) will compare, contrast and analyze the signage found in the area to the figures collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A quick recap shows that the suburb has a high number of inhabitants from China and various Asian countries through the fact that Mandarin is the language most spoken at home. China is also found to have the largest percentage of ancestry in the area.
Crossing Barker street towards Kingsford from Kensington (UNSW campus), there is almost an immediate change in terms of the signage. The visibility of predominantly English signs disappears after the Fast-Food chain, McDonalds. From the small sample collected so far, it can be observed that local Government clinics/ dental clinics use signage in only English while some health centers such as physiotherapists/ optometrists have multimodal signage (English and Mandarin). Tempting to assume that the owners and authors of the latter are of Chinese ancestry.
Caption: a Multilingual sign of a Physiotherapy
Author: Assumed multilingual speaker
Languages: English and Standard Chinese
Domain: Physiotherapy: Service Delivery
The signage communicates the service offered in both English and Mandarin, however, the Mandarin sign is directly targeted to the speakers of that language. It does not provide a direct translation of the word physiotherapy but rather describes the massaging of the shoulders, neck, etc. Perhaps due to the idea that Mandarin may not have a direct translation of the word physiotherapy but can describe the actions involved. Information is purposefully coded to the speaker of the language created a private space for communication in a public landscape.
Caption: A sign for Kingsford medical Centre
Author: IPN Australian medical center
Domain: Health Centre
The Author of the sign is Australian which would explain the fact that the sign is in English. Though it may visually exclude speakers of another language; the sign communicates that the health services inside can be provided in a language that a consumer is comfortable in. This allows them to extend their services to include speakers of another language who make up the majority of the Residents in Kingsford.
Most service providers of restaurants had public signs up in only a language other than English. A restaurant in Kingsford put up the sign below:
Caption: A Temporary sign outside Restaurant
Languages: Standard Chinese
This sign aims to communicate the message that the shop would like to hire an employee. A conversation with the shop attendant provided information that the sign is in Mandarin because that is the language spoken by the majority of their customers. If the sign was in English or any other language, they may find it difficult to hire a person for the job that speaks the same language as the customer.
Caption: Old Sign present over a current signpost
Languages: Standard Chinese /English
Domain: Retail Shop
This public signage here is interesting because it appears the old sign of a French Bread Shop was left up when the new store below moved in. English, Mandarin and French culture are visually present in this space. English is predominantly the language of international communication, however, in Kingsford, we can observe a slow shift from predominantly English signs to those that are multilingual or only in a minority language. The reason could be related to the need to cater to the large population of minority language speakers in the area.
Caption: Law Firm public sign
Languages: Standard Chinese and English
Domain: Law firm
This sign is particularly interesting because though the author is Australian, he did not limit access to his services to only people that speak English. On an interview with the workers, it was found that the author speaks both English and Fluent Chinese and carries out immigration law mostly in Asia as well as buying and selling houses. This shows that he not only utilized his multilingualism to widen service delivery but also considered the environment (Kingsford) in which his business is based.
Caption: Sign on the door of Westpac
Author: Australian Government
Thus far, services ran/owned by local government/Government, in general, seem to have public signs only written in English. However, a larger sample would have to be taken to come to a conclusion of how inclusive/aware the Australian government is of the growing multilingual areas.
Conclusively and thus far, Kingsford reflects the visibility of languages in the area in terms of public signs. It is heavily dominated with Chinese followed by English and a range of other Asian languages/dialects.
Roberta Magoba z3492870
Australian Bureau of Statistics , 2018. 2016 Census Quick Stats. [Online]
Available at: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC12099?opendocument
[Accessed 12 March 2018].
Kress, G., 2009. Multimodality: A social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Abingdon: Routledge.
Landry, R. & Bourhis, R. Y., 1997. Linguistic Landscapes and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Volume 16, pp. 23-49.
van Leeuwen, T., 2006. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Abingdon: Routledge.