Linguistic Landscape as a source for minority language studies. Case of Greko

Author: Karolina Gortych-Michalak (Adami Mickiewicz University, Poland)
Speaker: Karolina Gortych-Michalak
Topic: Language Documentation
COMELA 2020 General Session


Linguistic Landscape (LL) is a concept which is useful for minority languages studies (Marten et al. 2012). On the one hand the LL data for minority languages demonstrate presence of written minority language in social and/or official settings classified as top-down signs and on the other hand they demonstrate private signs existing in business expressed in minority language which are classifies as bottom-up signs (Gorter & Cenoz 2007).

Since gathering LL data relatively seems not to be complicated, it should be underlined it is a technique of linguistic tokens collecting (Gorter 2006). The LL data for minority languages can be a part of departure to investigate various issues like: local application of minority policy rules, strength and the activity of minority in local public and private sphere, codification of oral minority languages and problems connected with it etc. From this perspective there is a need to taxonomise the top-down and buttom-up signs aiming for reach source of LL data useful for various researches.

The proposed method of LL tokens taxonomy concerns Greko language which is (i) recognized as Southern Italian dialect of Greek language, (ii) is classified as language of Greek minority in Italy and (iii) classified as severely endangered language by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Even though the number of the Greko speakers is very small (ca. 300), there are some villages in Calabria where Greko language is visibly exposed in public sphere. Moreover, the Greko presence in top-down signs has some variants and co-exists with Modern Greek or/and Italian language. The LL tokens for Greko top-down signs are exploited to propose certain model of the LL data classification, annotation and exposition. Consequently some exemplary uses of proposed “LL tokens base” are discussed in the paper.


Gorter D. (2006). Introduction: The study of the Linguistic Landscape as a neww Appproach to Multilingualism. In D. Gorter (Chief Ed.) Linguistic Landscape: A New Approach to Multilingualism, (pp. 1-6). Multilingual Metterd Ltd. Clevedon.
Gorter, D., & Cenoz, J. (2007). Knowledge about language and linguistic landscape. In N. H. Hornberger (Chief Ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd revised edition, (pp. 1-13). Berlin: Springer Science.
Marten H.F., Van Mensel L., Gorter D. (2012) Studying Minority Languages in the Linguistic Landscape. In: Gorter D., Marten H.F., Van Mensel L. (eds) Minority Languages in the Linguistic Landscape. Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Keywords: minor languages, endangered languages, linguistic landscape, laanguage documentation, language revival, Greko language