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Spectacular language and creative marketing in a Singapore tailor shop

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-13, 10:22 authored by Francis M. Hult, Helen Kelly-Holmes
A tailor shop located in Singapore's Chinatown is explored as a case of creative linguistic marketing practice, examining how such practice can be understood in relation to the interaction of local and global forces on the linguistic landscape. The shop uses a range of Scandinavian semiotic resources (language and artefacts) which for us, coming upon the shop, seemed unexpected or, using Sweetland's term, spectacular. Following in the spirit of linguistic landscape analysis, we investigate one particular dimension of the visual semiosis of this shop, namely the signage. Drawing upon photographic and interview data, we trace the history of this semiosis, charting how its purpose and meaning has changed over time. What emerges from our study is that what seems idiosyncratic to researchers can have rich local meaning in context. What appears to be an outlier on the linguistic landscape can offer insight into situated experiences. In this light, our study of a shop and its semiotic landscape contributes to an understanding of the changing sociolinguistic patterns and creativity that occur in spaces like Singapore, and that reflect not just contemporary but also previous eras of globalisation and contact across historical, political and cultural borders.

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Publication

International Journal of Multilingualism;16 (1), pp. 79-93

Publisher

Taylor and Francis Ltd

Note

peer-reviewed

Language

English

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