Archiv der Kategorie: Posters

New perspectives on Italian migrants’ plurilingualism: a sociolinguistic, demographic and language planning overview

Maria Simoniello | Università degli studi Guglielmo Marconi – Rome
Vittorio Ganfi | Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

The increasing interest in language contact and variation, which has been determined by contemporary migration flows on a global scale, has resulted in significant studies in different linguistics subfields. Nevertheless, only limited attention has been paid to the construction of a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon. In particular, the relation between linguistic, socio-demographic and legal aspects of migration in Italy highlighting the innovative potential of migrants’ plurilingualism in the Italian linguistic repertoire (see Bagna et al. 2003, 2007; Barni/ Vedovelli 2009) would deserve further analysis.  

Such superdiversity (Vertovec 2007), clearly demands new theoretical and operational tools in order to be analytically represented and integrated in the Italian linguistic repertoire (Blommaert/Rampton 2011; Vedovelli 2013). 

Analyzing some of the most relevant linguistic repertoires of migrants’ communities, this work proposes a focus on some ongoing changes in the Italian linguistic space due to the widespread presence of migrants. The study aims at suggesting new interpretative perspectives on language policies devoted to the preservation of migrants’ linguistic diversity.  

The following factors have been observed:  

  • Demographic data: size of communities; migrants’ age and countries of origin.
  • Sociolinguistic data: quantity and position of different varieties in the individual and collective repertoire; prestige accorded to them by each migrants’ speech community; possible international spread of these languages (e.g. English, West African English, Arabic); presence/absence of a shared standard and its influence on language maintenance.
  • Language planning: analyses of language ideologies related to the laws preserving Italian historical minority languages; consideration of their inadequacy in managing Italian new plurilingualism (Vedovelli et al. 2007); study of the correlation between the absence of laws promoting plurilingualism and the loss of varieties in migrants’ repertoires.  

In conclusion, our analyses aims at: 1. Suggesting new forms of protection based on language specific sociolinguistic features in migration contexts; 2. Revealing the linguistic ideology underpinning policies related to Italian migrants’ plurilingualism. 

Selected references 

Bagna, Carla / Machetti, Sabrina / Vedovelli, Massimo (2003): Italiano e lingue immigrate. Verso un  plurilinguismo consapevole o verso varietà di contatto?, in: Valentini, Ada (ed.). Ecologia linguistica. Atti  del XXXVI Congresso internazionale di studi della Società di Linguistica Italiana (Bergamo, 26-28  settembre 2002), Roma, Bulzoni, 201-222.

Bagna, Carla / Barni, Monica / Vedovelli, Massimo (2007): Italiano in contatto con le lingue immigrate:  nuovi modelli e metodi per il neoplurilinguismo in Italia, in: Consani, Carlo / Desideri, Paola (ed.). Minoranze linguistiche. Prospettive, strumenti, territori. Atti del Convegno Pescara 6-8 aprile 2005, Roma,  Carocci, 270-290. 

Barni Monica / Vedovelli Massimo (2009): L’Italia plurilingue fra contatto e superdiversità, in: Palermo,  Massimo (ed.), Percorsi e strategie di apprendimento dell’italiano lingua seconda: sondaggi sull’ADIL 2. Collana del Centro di eccellenza della ricerca Osservatorio linguistico permanente dell’italiano diffuso fra  stranieri e delle lingue immigrate in Italia, n. 5, Perugia, Guerra, 29-47. 

Blommaert, Jan – Rampton, Ben (2011); Language and Superdiversities, in: Diversities, vol. 13, no. 2, 1- 22. 

Vedovelli, Massimo (ed.) (2013): La migrazione globale delle lingue. Lingue in (super-) contatto nei  contesti migratori del mondo globale, in Studi Emigrazione, no. 191, Centro Studi Emigrazione. 

Vertovec, Stephen (2007): Super-diversity and its implications, in: Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 30, no.  6, 1024-1054.

The linguistic discrimination towards creole languages as an imperious issue in today’s globalized and multicultural world

Daria Shaymuratova | Goldsmith University of London / Moscow State Pedagogical University

The question of the so-called linguistic discrimination or “glottophobia” has been attracting considerable interest due to its actuality in today’s globalized and multicultural world. 

The pervasive emergence of creole languages due to massive migration leads to both racial and identity conflicts and, consequently, to linguistic discrimination. Precisely, the creole languages that have been formed out of a mix of various forms of other languages stray from the “standard” versions of languages, though they have some similar traits. Hence, millions of people worldwide grow up speaking a creole as their native language. 

Nevertheless, there is a prejudicial view over those whose first language is not a “standard” one and are labelled as uneducated or barbarian. Notably, the question of racial discrimination, which is mostly concerned with ethnic identity, skin colour and other sets of characteristics, tightly intertwines with the issue of so-called language discrimination.

The current paper aims at an in-depth analysis of Louisiana creole and Belizean creole as one of the striking examples of binary racial identities and the intolerant position towards these creoles. Therefore, the research sets the following tasks: conduct an in-depth corpus analysis of the previous research works dedicated to the question, give a detailed description of the phenomenon under study (linguistic discrimination based on the creole languages such as Louisiana creole and Belizean creole), identify typical means of verbal manifestation of identity, and justify the value of creole languages as the means of cultural and ethnic manifestation.

Non-active voice in Greek Heritage speakers’ repertoire

Vasiliki Rizou & Artemis Alexiadou | Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Modern Greek has two sets of Voice forms, active vs. non-active voice (NAct). NAct is used with passives, reciprocals, reflexives and certain anticausatives as well as in deponent verbs (Embick, 1997; 1998; Alexiadou & Anagnostopoulou, 2004).

The approximate age of L1 NAct acquisition (beginning with short passives) is around 5 years old (Fotiadou and Tsimpli, 2010; Zombolou et al., 2010; Grey 2020). 

We aim to explore which verb categories bearing NAct voice are produced by two groups of Heritage Speakers (HSs) and whether these diverge from monolingual productions.

Methodology: In a production task, speakers narrated a fictional event (N=63 HSs in the US, Mean Age=23;0, N=47 HSs in Germany, Mean Age=22;4 and Ν=64 monolinguals, Mean Age=21;4) in two communicative situations (Wiese 2017). Number of tokens 65.746. 

Results: a) Both HSs groups produced less verbs bearing NAct than monolinguals in all four categories (Table 1). 

HSs in the USHSs in GermanyMonolinguals
Table 1: Appearances of verbs bearing NAct voice per group.

b) We observed seven non-target forms in our HSs groups (1-2), NAct appearing on verbs that don’t combine with NAct. This suggest that HSs generalize NAct as an intransitivity marker. This is unlike L1 acquisition, where Active is generalized (Zombolou et al., 2010).

1)den ihe ora na*stamatithi                                    Greek HS in Germany
didn’t have time tostop NAct 
Didn’t have time to stop
2)Ke to aftokinito aspro*spastiketo ble aftokinito Greek HS in the US
And the white carbroke NActthe blue car
The white car crashed into the blue car

The findings indicate a) quantitative differences between HSs and monolinguals as the former deviate from the latter; b) a re-analysis of NAct marking as an intransitivity marker.


Alexiadou, A. and Anagnostopoulou, E. (2004). Voice morphology in the causative- inchoative alternation: Evidence for a non-unified structural analysis of unaccusatives. In: Alexiadou, A., Anagnostopoulou, E., and Everaert, M., (eds.) The unaccusativity puzzle, pages 114–136. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Embick, D. (1997). Voice and the interfaces of syntax. PhD thesis, University of Pennsylvania.

Embick, D. (1998). Voice Systems and the Syntax/Morphology Interface. In The Proceedings of the Penn/MIT Workshop on Aspect, Argument Structure, and Events, May, pages 1–32. University of Pennsylvania.

Fotiadou, G. and Tsimpli, I. (2010). The acquisition of transitivity alternations in Greek: Does frequency count? Lingua, 120(11):2605–2626.

Grey, C. (2020). The acquisition of transitivity alternations by bilingual children. A comparative study. PhD thesis, Humboldt University of Berlin.

Wiese, H. (2017). Language Situations: A method for capturing variation within speakers’ repertoires. In: Yoshiyuki A. (ed.) Methods in Dialectology XVI. Bamberg Studies in English Linguistics. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang.

Zombolou, K., Varlokosta, S., and Alexiadou, A. (2010). Acquiring Anticausatives versus Passives in Greek. In Proceedings of the 34th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development 2009, vol. 2, pages 515–524, Somerville, MA. Cascadilla Press.

Exploring and archiving data from studies of Turkish/German bilingual children’s oral production

Carol W. Pfaff | Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

A flourishing tradition of research on Turkish/German bilingual children in Germany has developed since the 1970s. This paper discusses three early studies of oral production conducted 1978-1992 in Berlin with children some of whom themselves immigrated: others born in Berlin. The participants differed in the extent of interaction with age-peer speakers of German L1.

These studies have been the subject of collaborative work at the Humboldt University Berlin Department of German Language and Linguistics 2016-present, in which students are explore the linguistic corpora and prepare audio, transcript and concordance files for archiving in the HU Media Repository. 

  • German L2 of 26 Greek and 40 Turkish 8-14-year-olds
  • Turkish L1 and German L1 & L2 of 45 bilinguals and 28 monolinguals age 5-12.
  • Longitudinal development of Turkish L1 and German L2 of 2–8-year-olds who attended a Turkish/German bilingual day-care-center.

We investigate several major hypotheses about language development of bilingual children in migration settings:

  • cross-linguistic transfer between L1 and L2
  • parallel development in L1 and L2
  • universal cognitive processes independent of L1 or L2
  • sociolinguistic variation in L2 age-of-onset and extent of contact with German peers 

Oral production was elicited with psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic techniques adapted from crosslinguistic studies of monolingual acquisition (Slobin 1973, 1985), bilingual proficiency (Burt/Dulay/Hernández-Chavez 1973) and studies of variation in (non-standard) varieties (Labov 1972). 

In the present paper, we briefly summarize the status of the archiving project, then illustrate tendencies in the variable results for features and compare with later studies (Rehbein/Herkenrath/ Karakoç 2009; Backus/Jørgensen/& Pfaff 2010, Treffers-Daller/Sakel 2012, Schroeder/Wiese 2019, Jackson 2020).

  • vocabulary development, language mixing and colloquial expressions
  • morphosyntactic development,
    • syncretism in German: overgeneralization of case/gender marking
    • overgeneralization of irregular forms
    • pro-drop vs. non-pro-drop in Turkish and German.
    • singular/plural realization in quantified noun phrases.


Backus, A., J.N. Jørgensen & C. Pfaff (2010). “Linguistic effects of immigration: Language choice, codeswitching and change in Western European Turkish“. LINCOM Language and Linguistics Compass 4/7: 481–495.

Burt, M., H. Dulay & E. Hernández-Chavez (1973). Bilingual Syntax Measure. New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich.

Jackson, C. (2020). “Second language acquisition in Germanic languages”. In M.T. Putnam & B. R. Page (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic Patterns. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Rehbein, J., A. Herkenrath & B. Karakoç (2009). “Turkish in Germany. – On contact-induced change of an immigrant language in the multilingual landscape of Europe.”G. Ferraresi & E. Rinke (eds.) Multilingualism and universal principles of language change. STUF Language Typology and Universals. 62. 171-204.

Schroeder, C. & Wiese, H. (2019). “Kiez goes Uni – SchülerInnen untersuchen Sprachvariation und Mehrsprachigkeit mit MentorInnen der Universität“. In: A. Betz & A. Firstein (Hrsg.). Schülerinnen und Schülern Linguistik näher bringen. Perspektiven einer linguistischen Wissenschaftspropädeutik. Baltmannnsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, 216-234.

Slobin, D. I. (1973). Cognitive prerequisites for the development of grammar. In C. A. Ferguson & D. I. Slobin (eds.).Studies of child language development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 175-208.

Slobin, D. I. (ed.) (1985). The Crosslinguistic Study of Language Acquisition Vol 1: the Data. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Treffers-Daller, J. & J. Sakel (2012). “Why transfer is a key aspect of language use and processing in bilinguals and L2 users”. In J. Treffers-Daller & J. Sakel (eds.) New perspectives on transfer among bilinguals and L2 users. Special issue of the Special Issue of the  International Journal of Bilingualism, 16 (1), 3-10.

An Analysis of the Linguistic Phenomenon in Algiers: Code mixing and switching Vs Pidginization and Creolization

Mohammed Naoua | Université d’El Oued, Algeria

Algeria is a multilingual country par excellence. As far as local speech communities are concerned, mother tongues relevant to Arabic and Tamazight languages are largely used in everyday communication. However due to the extended contact between France and Algeria, which lasted for one century and thirty two years of colonization, French has become widely incorporated in daily interaction whether in the form of code mixing or code switching. This paper intends to conduct an empirical analysis to measure the extent to which lexical and morphological constituents of French interact with Arabic or Tamazight. The choice of Algiers as a site for this study is based on historical and geographical reasons. As a capital of Algeria, the location of the town on the southern coast of the Mediterranean made it the first place to encounter the French invaders and interact with them. The findings of the research will focus on determining whether this linguistic phenomenon is a matter of code mixing and switching, or whether it an issue of Pidginization or Creolization.


Chambers J. K., & Trudgill, P. (2004). Dialectology (2ed ed). Cambridge:  CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Gibbons, G. (1987). Code-mixing and Code Choice: A Hong Kong Case Study. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters LTD

Holm, J. (2004). An introduction to pidgins and creoles. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press

Mesthrie, R. Ed. (2001). Concise Encyclopedia of sociolinguistics. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science Ltd.

Spolsky, B. (1998). Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wardhaugh, R. (2006). An Introduction to sociolinguistics (5th ed). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Social and linguistic mobility of unaccompanied minors: analyzing relationships and linguistic resources in migration through nominal forms of address

Malou Mestrinaro | Université d‘Orléans

Within the various categories of migrating people, the unaccompanied minors represent one that has drawn more and more attention on itself in literacy for the last decade. Either arriving by themselves on a new territory, or having been left after entering, these minors only have a few years – until their majority – to find a more stable situation in order to settle in a country. Settling then involves numerous challenges for the minors, including the discovery and acquisition of new sociocultural codes and creating their new social network.

Applying Kerbrat-Orecchioni’s model (2010, 2012, 2014) to a multicultural reception center, we aim to analyze how nominal forms of address (NFAs) may represent a linguistic resource for these minors to network in their current environment. Indeed, NFAs carry a relational meaning that differs according to the allocutary and the situation, which brings information on the relationship between the participants in a given interaction. Through interactional analysis we work out how the relational categories (social or affective) expressed by the NFAs constitute modalities of developing linguistic and social mobility, especially by the functions these resources fulfill in interaction.

The data on which the study is based is collected in a reception center for unaccompanied minors in France. There, they live and are guided until their majority by social workers who help them to quickly acquire new codes of living, both sociocultural and institutional, in order to ease the comprehension of the welcoming society. Recordings are made during the weekly cooking workshop, and in the ‘blank’ times between the preparation and diner, thus offering a large range of interactions between minors, and between minors and social workers.


Baumann, Richard ; Sherzer, Joel, « The Ethnography of speaking », Annual review of anthropology, vol. 4, 1975, pp.95-119.

Goffmann, Erving, La mise en scène de la vie quotidienne (2 tomes). 1. La présentation de soi, 2. Les relations en public, Ed. de Minuit, 1973 (1959).

Gumperz , John Joseph, “The linguistic bases of communicative competence”, in: Tannen Deborah (ed.), Georgetown University Round Table on Language and linguistics: Analyzing Discourse ‘texte and talk’, Georgetown University Press, Washington DC., 1982, pp.323-340.

Gumperz, John, Language in Social Groups. Essays, Stanford : Stanford University Press, 1971, 350p.

Kerbrat-Orecchionni, Catherine, « Pour une approche contrastive des formes nominales d’adresse », Journal of French Language Studies (Special Issue on Cross-cultural Pragmatics), 2010, 20-1, 3-15.

Kerbrat-Orecchionni, Catherine, , « L’approche comparative interculturelle en analyse des interactions : l’exemple des formes nominales d’adresse », in N. Auger, C. Béal et F. Demougins (éds) Interactions et interculturalité : variété des corpus et des approches, Berne, Peter Lang, 2012, 21-53.

Kerbrat-Orecchionni, Catherine, S’adresser à autrui. Vol. 2 : Les Formes Nominales d’Adresse dans une perspective interculturelle, Chambéry, Université de Savoie, 2014.

Ploog, Katja ; Calinon Anne-Sophie ; Thamin, Nathalie, Mobilité – Histoire et émergence d’un concept en sociolinguistique, Paris : L’Harmattan, 2020, 352p Traverso, Véronique, La conversation familière, Presses universitaires de Lyon, LʼHarmattan, 1993, 254 p.

Does emigration affect idiomatic knowledge in the native language?

Ferdy Hubers | Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Catia Cucchiarini | Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Union for the Dutch Language
Nicoline van der Sijs | Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Institute for the Dutch Language

A considerable body of research has investigated whether native speakers forget or lose their native language (L1) when they move to countries where another language (L2) is spoken. In the particular case of Dutch, this research has focused on the twentieth century Dutch emigrants who almost invariably set aside their L1 and concentrated on acquiring the L2. This was indeed the policy in both country of origin and country of arrival, as L2 learning was considered the best option for their future.

Nowadays, Dutch citizens emigrate to a large variety of countries, but often they do not emigrate for good, only for a limited period (van Dalen & Henkens, 2008). In addition, our views on bilingualism have changed: L2 learning is no longer considered to threaten the L1 and fostering the L1 is no longer viewed as hampering L2 acquisition (Bhatia & Ritchie, 2006).

In order to get a clearer understanding of how emigration and consequent L2 immersion  affect L1 knowledge, we conducted a study on Dutch emigrants to several countries across the world to investigate whether emigration leads to reduced knowledge of idiomatic expressions, which are considered to be particularly rooted in the native language and culture (Boers et al., 2004; Kovecses & Szabó, 1996).

The results show that a) when effects of age are minimized, no significant differences in idiom knowledge emerge between emigrants and non-emigrants; b) idiom properties like familiarity and transparency positively affect idiom knowledge in both groups and c) age has a positive effect on idiom knowledge in non-emigrants, while for emigrants this effect might have been obscured by that of emigration length, which appears to have a negative effect on idiom knowledge. We discuss these results in the light of previous findings and suggest possible perspectives for future studies.

Jewish English Among Adjacencies of Non-Jews in Middle America

(Revised abstract for LIPP poster acceptance)

Jacqueline Hirsh Greene | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

A forthcoming paper by Sarah Bunin Benor, titled “Pastrami, Verklempt, and Tshoot-spa: Non-Jews’ Use of Jewish Language in the United States”, explores new findings on the use of Jewish language features among non-Jewish Americans. Among Benor’s key observations were that knowledge and usage of features such as Yiddish loanwords and Yiddish-influenced grammar are primarily attributed to social networks, and also that meanings of loanwords are subject to change when used enough by a non-Jewish mainstream. A majority of the 40,000 survey respondents identified as being predominantly adjacent to Jews. This current study seeks rather to understand the extent and from which modes of diffusion predominantly nonadjacent non-Jewish Americans use features of Jewish English, meaning non-Jews who do not live in densely-populated Jewish areas nor have much social contact with Jews.

A survey was distributed by way of a snowball sampling methodology (Dusek et al. 2015: 281) and yielded a total of 105 responses. Over half of respondents are from or live in the southwest region of the United States, most often from states such as New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. The predominant age-groups were 20-30 and 60-70.

Results echo some of Benor’s findings, such as that social-networking indeed seems to be the most relevant mode of diffusion for those Jewish-adjacent non-Jews, and as well that loanword meanings can shift when used often enough by an out-group. However, the results also indicate new patterns, such as that nonadjacent non-Jews have overall much less knowledge of Jewish features than Benor’s study would suggest. As well, because a social networking aspect is not present among nonadjacent respondents, the most common mode of diffusion seemed to be media sources. Thus there is a crucial gap in Jewish language usage between groups of non-Jewish speakers: those more adjacent and those less or nonadjacent to Jewish friends and communities.

Selected References

Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2009. “Do American Jews speak a ‘Jewish language’? A model of Jewish linguistic distinctiveness”. The Jewish Quarterly Review 99: 230–269.

Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2010. “Mensch, bentsh, and balagan: Variation in the American Jewish linguistic repertoire”. Language and Communication 31: 141–154.

Benor, Sarah Bunin. Forthcoming 2021. “Pastrami, Verklempt, and Tshoot-spa: Non-Jews’ Use of Jewish Language in the United States”. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Dusek, Gary A., Yuliva V. Yurova, and Cynthia P. Ruppel. 2015. “Using social media and targeted snowball sampling to survey a hard-to-reach population: A case study”. International Journal of Doctoral Studies 10: 279–299.

Eckert, Penelope. 2012. “Three waves of variation study: The emergence of meaning in the study of sociolinguistic variation”. Annual Review of Anthropology 41: 87–100.

Fader, Ayala. 2009. Mitzvah Girls: Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Multilingual Practices and Identities of Syrian University Students in Turkey

Melissa B. Hauber-Özer | George Mason University, USA

Drawn from a critical ethnographic dissertation study, this presentation examines the multilingual practices and identities developed by a group of 11 Syrian young adults during forced displacement in Turkey. The larger study documents participants’ experiences overcoming linguistic, economic, and structural obstacles to higher education in pursuit of their personal and career goals. It engages a critical theory lens (Freire, 1972), sociocultural perspectives on language learning (Vygotsky, 1978, 1986), and Norton’s (2013) investment framework to turn the spotlight from barriers to the personal strengths and strategies refugee students employ. Multilingual data in Turkish, Arabic, and English were collected virtually in the spring and summer of 2020 through a questionnaire, in-depth, semi-structured interviews, and photovoice workshops (Wang & Burris, 1997) and then analyzed collaboratively with a Syrian key informant using meaning field analysis (Carspecken, 1996), open emic coding, and narrative portraiture (Smyth & McInerney, 2013).

This presentation focuses on how participants engage in multilingual practices to overcome academic and social barriers, participate in the host society, resist marginalization, and construct a sense of local or transnational belonging and future identity (Canagarajah & Silberstein, 2012; Marlowe, 2018; Norton & Toohey, 2011; Stevenson, 2019). Interview excerpts and photovoice products illustrate participants’ resourcefulness and dexterity in navigating challenges, developing multilingual identities, and engaging with broader debates about migration, language learning, and integration. These findings exemplify the “highly complex and socially situated process” of second language learning (Swain & Deters, 2007, p. 827) through young migrants’ processes of gaining cultural capital and engaging in self-advocacy (Bourdieu, 1977, 2004; Darvin & Norton, 2015). The presentation closes with implications for scholarship and practice in this area amidst an ongoing refugee crisis and xenophobic policy and rhetoric in migration contexts across Europe and North America. 


Bourdieu, P. (1977). The economics of linguistic exchanges. Social Science Information, 16, 645-668.

Bourdieu, P. (2004). The forms of capital. In S. Ball (Ed.), Reader in sociology of education (pp. 15–29). Routledge Falmer.

Canagarajah, S., & Silberstein, S. (2012). Introduction: Diaspora and identity. Journal of

Language, Identity and Education, 11, 81–84.

Carspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical ethnography in educational research: A theoretical and practical guide. Routledge.

Darvin, R., & Norton, B. (2015). Identity and a model of investment in applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, 36–56.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Herder and Herder.

Marlowe, J. (2018). Belonging and transnational refugee settlement: Unsettling the everyday and the extraordinary. Routledge.

From France to the States: Multilingualism in Protest Signs

Delin Deng | University of Florida, USA

Multilingual protest signs have attracted a lot of attention in the study of the linguistic landscape. (See, for example, Kasanga, 2014; Rojo, 2014; Shiri, 2015, etc.) Despite the numerous works done on protest signs, much of the focus has been placed on their meaning conveying. Not so much work has concentrated on the structure of the protest signs themselves. Meanwhile, most of the work examined one protest at a time. In contrast, a comparison between protests held by similar communities would provide us with more insights into the presence of multilingualism in protest signs.

In 2016, following the decease of a Chinese merchant Zhang Chaolin in Aubervilliers (93 arrondissement) in Paris in France, the Chinese community launched the protest #securitepourtous requesting the presence of more police force in the area to enforce their security. In 2021, after several hate crimes targeting Asians in the US, the Asian community initiated a mass protest #stopasianhate in America. These two movements are similar in that they both concerned the Asian community and are related to hate crimes. Therefore, it would be interesting to compare the multilingual signs the protestors used in these two movements.

In this article, by adopting the multimodal analytical model proposed by Sebba (2013), we see that the two movements differ significantly in their organization and sign-making due to their difference in their intended addressees. We demonstrate that nothing is randomly placed in protest signs. There is always some extra-linguistic information that the sign makers try to convey. At the same time, the signs can not only tell us about who the sign makers are but also who the addressees of the signs.

For future study, it might be interesting to compare protest signs in a cross-community way to see how communities differ from each other in their sign making.


Kasanga, L. A. (2014). The linguistic landscape: Mobile signs, code choice, symbolic meaning, and territoriality in the discourse of protest. International journal of the sociology of language, 2014(230), 19-44.

Rojo, L. M. (2014). Occupy: The spatial dynamics of discourse in global protest movements. Journal of Language and Politics, 13(4), 583-598.

Sebba, M. (2013). Multilingualism in written discourse: An approach to the analysis of multilingual texts. International Journal of Bilingualism, 17(1), 97-118.

Shiri, S. (2015). Co-constructing dissent in the transient linguistic landscape: Multilingual protest signs of the Tunisian revolution. In Conflict, exclusion and dissent in the linguistic landscape (pp. 239-259). Palgrave Macmillan, London.