Dr Robert Blackwood (French) and Dr Stefania Tufi (Italian), from the School’s Sociolinguistics Research Group, have recently participated in the Fourth Linguistic Landscape Workshop, held at Addis Ababa University.
This was the first occasion that the series of workshops has been to Africa, following meetings at Tel Aviv University in 2008, Università per Stranieri, Siena in 2009, and Strasbourg Universityin 2010. The workshop welcomed to Ethiopia researchers from across the world, including Israel, Italy, Singapore, Belgium, Germany, the USA, Sweden, and South Africa. The discussions covered bilingual winks in Brussels, brand names in Ethiopia, Asian restaurants in the Netherlands, and the beaches of Zanzibar.
Dr Blackwood’s paper examined the semiotic landscapes of the Corsican drinks industry, looking at languages, icons and images used in the labelling of Corsican bottled water, chestnut beer and wine. Dr Tufi discussed the Slovenian minority in north-east Italy, as part of her research into the linguistic landscapes of Mediterranean cities. Following the conference, Dr Blackwood will co-edit the next volume of linguistic landscape studies with Professor Elizabeth Lanza of the University of Oslo, and Dr Hirut Woldemariam, of Addis Ababa University.
Despite the packed conference schedule, Dr Blackwood and Dr Tufi were able to explore Ethiopia, and all the delegates were taken on an excursion to the Debre Libanos Monastery, and the Blue Nile Gorge, in northern Ethiopia. Trips around Addis Ababa were also arranged, and the conference banquet was held at the Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant. The Fifth Linguistic Landscape Workshop will take place in the spring of 2013, this time in Belgium, at the University of Namur.