Observatory's linguistic landscape: semiotic appropriation and the reinvention of space

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 11
  • Abstract:

    Using a longitudinal ethnographic study of the linguistic landscape (LL) in Observatory's business corridor of Lower Main Road, the paper explores changes brought about by the influx of immigrant Africans, their artefacts and language practices. The paper uses the changes in the LL over time and the development of an "African Corner" within Lower Main Road, to illustrate the appropriation of space and the unpredictability, which comes along with highly mobile, technological and multicultural citizens. It is argued that changes in the LL are part of the act of claiming and appropriating space wherein space becomes summarily recontexualized and hence reinvented and "owned" by new actors. It is also argued that space ownership can be concealed through what we have called "brand anonymity" strategies in which the identity of the owner is deliberately concealed behind global brands. We conclude that space is pliable and mobile, and that, it is the people within space who carve out new social practices in their appropriated space.