Assemblage and Semiotic Assemblages: Prospects and Possibilities as Analytical Frame for the Study of Linguistic Landscape

Author: Maria Rosario Yumul-Florendo (University of the Philippines Baguio)
Speaker: Maria Rosario Yumul-Florendo
Topic: Applied Sociolinguistics
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


More than two decades after Landry and Bourhis named and defined what language scholars have been doing in the field, the definition for linguistic landscape studies have evolved into what Pennycook (2017) has summarized from Shohamy and Ben-Rafael (2015) and Blommaert (2013);

…linguistic landscapes has moved from being a study of ‘the presence, representation, meanings and interpretation of languages displayed in public places’ to include ‘images, photos, sounds (soundscapes), movements, music, smells (smellscapes), graffiti, clothes, food, buildings, history, as well as people who are immersed and absorbed in spaces by interacting with the linguistic landscape in different ways.’ Linguistic landscape research has thus shifted its understanding of language from a focus on enumerable languages on signs in the public domain to include greater contextual (ethnographic) and historical.

understanding of texts in the landscape—who put them there, how they are interpreted, and what role they play in relation to space, migration and mobility. (Pennycook 2017, p. 270)

My goal for this paper is to explore a novel analytical tool (frame) and text for analysis in the study of linguistic landscape, in particular, that of the Philippine jeepney. The study of linguistic landscapes in the last two decades has opened up the field to researchers like myself to focus on previously unexplored combinations of objects of study and analytical frameworks, specifically the concept of assemblage and semiotic assemblage. In this paper, I will discuss articles about language which have applied assemblage theory as framework for analysis. This will be followed by a review of literature discussing assemblage as a concept or theory as originally proposed by Deleuze and Guattari (1987) and interpreted, analyzed, and reconfigured by Nail (2017), Buchanan (2017), Delanda (2016), and Marcus and Saka (2006). Finally, I will examine how assemblage and semiotic assemblage may be useful analytical tools for the study of sociolinguistics, in particular, linguistic landscape using the Philippine jeepneys in Baguio City, Philippines as key text.

Keywords: Assemblage, Semiotic Assemblages, Linguistic Landscape.