2019 | 33 | 209-230
Article title

Tracing linguistic changes on shop signs in Malaysia: a diachronic examination of George Town, Penang

Title variants
Badanie zmian językowych na szyldach sklepów w Malezji: studium diachroniczne w George Town w stanie Penang
Languages of publication
According to Pavlenko (2010), linguistic landscape (LL ) studies cannot be fully understood without considering the past. Consistent with this idea is conceptualising LL research as a diachronic process. In this study, we explore the LL of George Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Penang in Malaysia, which is filled with evidence of historical changes from the past until its current state. A unique characteristic of George Town is its blend of different languages, which are displayed on shop signs and can be traced back to the late 18th century. To understand the social and historical changes that have taken place in George Town, data was gathered from several resources, including personal narratives by shop owners and historical artefacts such as postcards, books, and brochures obtained from the heritage centre. A geosemiotic approach is adopted to categorise, analyse, and interpret the subsequent collection of shop signs. In terms of the materiality of signs and their linguistic content, the findings reveal that old shop signs from the British colonial period were engraved on wooden boards and mostly written in Chinese or English. After Malaysia gained independence, metal signboards and non-standard Malay were used. In 1975, several Malay terms were changed, and shop owners started using Modern Standard Malay on signs. Currently, shop signs are more multi-modal, colourful, and most likely made of polycarbonate. More recent signs also light up at night. Through a diachronic examination of the LL , we reflect on how phenomena such as globalisation and technological innovation are having an impact on the nature of George Town’s shop signs, and the materiality of these signs.
Według Pavlenki (2010) badania krajobrazu językowego (KJ ) nie mogą być w pełni zrozumiałe bez znajomości przeszłości. Rozwinięciem tej idei jest traktowanie badań KJ jako procesu diachronicznego. W artykule analizujemy KJ George Town (obiekt z Listy Światowego Dziedzictwa UNESCO ) w stanie Penang w Malezji, gdzie istnieje wiele świadectw dokumentujących zmiany zachodzące w czasie. Za wyjątkową cechę George Town należy uznać mieszankę języków pojawiającą się na szyldach sklepów, wśród nich znajdują się egzemplarze pochodzące jeszcze z końca XVIII wieku. W celu zrozumienia zmian społecznych i historycznych, jakie zachodziły w George Town, zebrano dane z wielu źródeł, były to opowieści właścicieli sklepów, informacje z obiektów historycznych (np. kartek pocztowych i książek) i broszury dostępne w centrum historycznym. Do analizy, kategoryzowania i interpretowania szyldów zastosowano podejście geosemiotyczne. Z badań szyldów i ich treści wynika, że stare szyldy z okresu brytyjskiej kolonizacji były wykonane z drewna a napisy były w większości pisane po chińsku i angielsku. Po uzyskaniu niepodległości przez Malezję zaczęto używać metalu i niestandardowej odmiany języka malajskiego. W roku 1975 zmieniono kilka malajskich zwrotów i właściciele sklepów zaczęli używać standardowego malajskiego. Współczesne szyldy są kolorowe, multimodalne i w większości z tworzyw sztucznych. Najnowocześniejsze z nich także świecą w nocy. Diachroniczne badanie KJ skłania autorów do refleksji, w jaki sposób globalizacja i postęp technologiczny wpływają na treść i wygląd szyldów sklepowych w George Town.
Physical description
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