The semiotic ecology of linguistic landscapes in rural Zambia

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • Abstract:

    In addressing the dearth in studies on linguistic/semiotic landscapes in oral-language dominant rural communities, we use the notion of repurposing to show how people from rural areas of Livingstone and Lusaka in Zambia (South-Central Africa) extend the repertoire of 'signs' to include faded and unscripted signboards, fauna and flora, mounds, dwellings, abandoned structures, skylines, and village and bush paths (with no written names) in narrations of place. We illustrate how they use the system of signage to transcend the limitations of the material conditions in the rural-scapes by redeploying memory, objects, artifacts and cultural materialities in place to new uses, and for extended meaning potentials. We conclude that focusing on the semiotic ecology in multimodal linguistic/ semiotic landscapes helps to accentuate the multisemiotic and diverse processual characteristics of meaning-making, even in areas that do not have scripted place and street names.