Two lectures on toponyms and language policy

Alan Macniven, Senior Lecturer of Swedish, and Guy Puzey, Lecturer of Norwegian, both at the University of Edinburgh, will give two lectures on toponyms and language policy at the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages.

The lectures will take place on Tuesday 16 February at 4-5.15 pm in room 101 in Lögberg at the University of Iceland and will be delivered in English. All are welcome.

 

What’s in a Name? Viking Naming Strategies in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides

Dr Alan Macniven

Communities of Norse speakers arriving in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides during the Viking Age would have had two main choices when it came to naming their new environment. They could either adopt existing names, or create new ones. These two over-arching strategies can, moreover, be further broken down into a number of sub-categories. By looking more closely at the nature of the adopted and new material, it is possible to draw some intriguing conclusions on the nature of the Norse-native interface. This talk will explore the evidence for and significance of naming strategies in the Norse settlement of Islay.

 

Diversity in the Linguistic Landscape: Comparative Perspectives on Language Policy

Dr Guy Puzey 

Over the past decade, a growing body of interdisciplinary research has examined issues of language visibility and the interactions between different languages in public spaces. This research has most commonly been referred to as linguistic landscape studies. For those interested in exploring the socio-political economies of language, this focused approach allows for the in-depth exploration of many facets of language management, practices and beliefs. Investigating the ways in which different languages are made visible – or invisible – helps to see how language is used to mediate social and political relations in the material world, as well as to explore the symbolic construction of space.

 

This presentation will introduce this emerging field of study, demonstrating the value of linguistic landscapes as a source of research material and as an approach to understanding different components of language policy. Reflections will be included on linguistic landscape terminology and methodologies, including the term geosemiotics, which might serve better to describe of the significance of this whole approach. This analysis will be illustrated with empirical material from many different parts of the world, including Scotland, Norway, Italy, Australia, Canada, and South Africa. Finally, the presentation will conclude with a discussion of possible future directions for linguistic landscape research.

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