Typographic landscape in urban space: a sociolinguistic approach
This paper suggests a sociolinguistic approach to typographic landscape analysis. Typography is discussed as a semiotic resource with meaning-making potential. The paper argues that typographic variation provides dynamic indexical links to social practice. It obtains its ‘social voice’ and becomes an integral part of the social context in which it is perceived as typical and able to generate particular socially loaded meanings. This research is in line with contemporary social semiotics, interactional linguistics, and discourse studies and is based on typographic meaning as a key notion providing the basis for social actors’ ideological ascriptions. Typography and typographic meaning formation are discussed within modern Russian urban space. It is argued that urban area enables addressing agency and interaction aspects of social communication. The city space provides access points for observing, shaping and interpreting meanings in the social context. As cases in point, the paper discusses the typefaces such as Antiqua font used in pre-revolutionary Russia, lettering imitating the font of Soviet newspapers, Handwriting font, and Stencil font and their embeddedness in current socio-cultural practice. The analysis uses advertising, social and commercial texts. The findings indicate that typography should be considered as a social meaning which results from indexical connections of a sign and the context it is used in. Semiotification of space allows observing stronger reflexivity and, therefore, metapragmatic activity of communicants.
Agha, A., 2007. Language and Social Relations. Ser.: Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language. Vol. 24. Cambridge.
Avanesov, S. S., 2014. What can be called visual semiotics? ΠΡΑΞΗΜΑ. Problemy vizual'noi semiotiki [Praxema], 1, pp. 10—22 (in Russ.).
Backhaus, P., 2007. Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Blommaert, J., 2013. Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of Complexity. Ser.: Critical Language and Literacy Studies. Vol. 18. Bristol; Buffalo and Toronto: Multilingual Matters,
Сhernyavskaya, V. E., 2020a. Metapragmatics: When the Author Brings Meaning and the Addressee Context. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser.: Yazyk i literatura [Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Language and Literature], 1 (17), pp. 135—147 (in Russ.).
Chernyavskaya, V., 2020b. Misplaced in contexts, lost in meaning. Context Change as a Cause for Social Misunderstandings: The Case of Kaliningrad and Königsberg. Zeitschrift für Slavistik, 65 (4), pp. 569—584.
Chernyavskaya, V. E., 2021. Social Meaning in the Mirror of Political Correctness. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser.: Yazyk i literatura [Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Language and Literature], 2 (18), pp. 383—399 (in Russ.).
Crystal, D., 1998. Toward a Typographical Linguistics. Type. A Journal of the Association Typographique Internationale, 2 (1), pp. 7—23.
Gorter, D., 2013. Linguistic landscapes in a multilingual world. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 33, pp. 190—212.
Jakobson, R., 2004. On linguistic aspects of translation. In: L. Venuti, ed. The Translation Studies Reader. New York; London: Routledge, pp. 138—143.
Järlehed, J. and Jaworski, A., 2015. Typographic landscaping: creativity, ideology, movement. Social Semiotics, 25 (2), pp. 117—125.
Kirsanov, D. M., 2007. Istoriko-morfologicheskaya model' razvitiya russkogo nabornogo shrifta. Vzaimosvyaz' ob"ektivnykh i sub"ektivnykh faktorov [Historical and morphological model of the development of the Russian typesetting font. The relationship between objective and subjective factors]. PhD Dissertation. Moscow (in Russ.).
Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T., 1996 1st ed.; 2006 2nd ed. Reading images. The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.
Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T., 2001. Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Hodder Education.
Kress, G., 2010. Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Markov, A. K., 2011. Towards Urban Anthropology: the City as a Place of Ideas. Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie [New Literary Review], 110, pp. 329—332 (in Russ.).
Molodychenko, E., 2020. Metasemiotic projects and lifestyle media: Formulating commodities as resources for identity enactment. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 24 (1). 117—136. doi: 10.22363/2687-0088-2020-24-1-117-136.
Molodychenko, E. N. and Chernyavskaya, V. E., 2022. Representing the social through language: Theory and practice of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser.: Yazyk i literatura [Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Language and Literature], 1 (21), pp. 103—124 (in Russ.).
Spitzmüller, J., 2015. Graphic Variation and Graphic Ideologies: A Metapragmatic Approach. Social Semiotic, 25 (2), pp. 126—141.
Stepanyan, A. A. and Simyan, S. T., 2012. Yerevan as a semiotic text (experience of reconstruction of the “beginning” and “end” of Mashtots Avenue). Kritika i semiotika [Critique and Semiotics], 16, pp. 6—16 (in Russ.).
Stöckl, H., 2005. Typography: Body and Dress of a Text — a Signing Mode Between Language and Image. Visual Communication, 4 (2), pp. 204—214.
Stöckl, H., 2009. The language-image-text — Theoretical and analytical inroads into semiotic complexity. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 34 (2), pp. 203—226.
van Leeuwen, T., 2005. Typographic Meaning. Visual Communication, 4 (2), pp. 137—143.
van Leeuwen, T., 2006. Towards a Semiotics of Typography. Information Design Journal, 14 (2), pp. 139—155.
Walker, S., 2001. Typography and Language in Everyday Life: Prescriptions and Practices. Ser.: Language in Social Life Series. London: Longman.
Wirth, L., 2016. Urbanizm kak obraz zhizni [Urbanism as a way of life]. Moscow (in Russ.).
Zubkova, E. Yu., 2019. Soviet life as a subject of historic reconstruction. Rossiiskaya istoriya [Russian History], 5, pp. 3—14 (in Russ.).