This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Language as material artifact




Inspired by Jan Blommaert give a talk about this, I decided to take a walk to my local post office and take pictures along the way.
Jan's point was that we need as ethnographers to start with the everyday, and lived experience so I decided to start with mine.
Living in Turkish North London, I focused on what I saw.
Jan said here that spaces create multilingual semiotic realisations and in multilingual neighbourhoods (like mine) they jostle together.
They are contested and complex.
I started with the Unitarian Church
where Mary Wollstoncraft once sat
followed by the French Pattisserie next door, where the cakes are fab and everyone speaks French.
Language is materially realised -look at this restaurant above and the sign.
And one can tell what kind of neighbourhood you live in by looking at what newspapers there are in the newsagents.


I love my neighbourhood for this. Tomorrow you get to see INSIDE the shops.

4 comments:

Joolz said...

This looks like a wicked place to live. That is 'wicked', as in 'cool'. That is 'cool' as in 'hot'.
Well to the jaybad unbad.
This is language as play.

Mary Plain said...

wow, well to the jay bad indeed.. I do not think I would get a range of papers like that in my paper shop. I shall look tomorrow morning..

Kate said...

I love it Dr Joolz. This is why I cannot move to Sheffield.

guy said...

Well I love my neighbourhood too and we get the papers and interesting shops and stuff. But let's not be too competitive, aren't new age academic nomads supposed to be going glocal?