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Synopsis

This book presents a sociolinguistic ethnography of the linguistic landscape of Chinatown in Washington, DC. The book sheds a unique light on the impact of urban development on traditionally ethnic neighbourhoods and discusses the various historical, social and cultural factors that contribute to this area’s shifting linguistic landscape. Based on fieldwork, interviews with residents and visitors and analysis of community meetings and public policies, it provides an in-depth study of the production and consumption of linguistic landscape as a cultural text. Following a geosemiotic analysis of shop signs, it traces the multiple historical trajectories of discourse which shaped the bilingual landscape of the neighbourhood. Turning to the spatial contexts, it then compares and contrasts the situated meaning of the linguistic landscape for residents, community organisers and urban planners.

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