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ERIC Number: EJ786524
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 22
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1086-296X
Reading Shop Windows in Globalized Neighborhoods: Multilingual Literacy Practices and Indexicality
Collins, James; Slembrouck, Stef
Journal of Literacy Research, v39 n3 p335-356 Oct 2007
Shop and cafe signs in multiple languages are familiar features of polyglot immigrant neighborhoods. This paper examines such signs, presenting photographic, observational, and interview data from a multisited ethnographic study of language contact in Ghent, an urban Belgian city. Drawing upon diverse ethnographic sources, especially the comparative readings of foreign, immigrant, and native adults, we analyze signs and notices in several immigrant neighborhoods as (a) literacy practices, attending to their contexts of use as well as to their interpretations, and as (b) examples of indexical orders and orders of discourse, asking what hierarchical frames of interpretation and evaluation are brought to bear on the reading of such signs. Our findings show that shop signs and notices are complex indexes of source, addressee, and community, which are manifest in different readers' interpretations. The overall argument addresses several general points: that the study of indexicality helps conceptualize and analyze the rich and unexpectedly broad frames of interpretation readers bring to situated multilingual texts; that concepts of indexical or discursive order contribute to our understanding of multilingual literacy practices in situations of globalized locality; and that, conversely, the study of literacy practices reveals unexpected dimensions of Late Modern discursive orders.
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium