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Last week, Modern Languages & Cultures hosted the Eighth Linguistic Landscape workshop, known as LL8. Dr Robert Blackwood, Dr Stefania Tufi, and Will Amos – a postgraduate student on the department’s sociolinguistics programme – organised the event which has been two years in the planning. LL8 in Liverpool follows on from previous workshops in Tel Aviv, Siena, Strasbourg, Addis Ababa, Namur (in Belgium), Cape Town, and Berkeley.

Delegates in the University of Liverpool's Foresight Centre

Delegates in the University of Liverpool’s Foresight Centre

The workshop saw over 60 delegates from 25 countries travel to Liverpool for two and a half days of academic exchanges, discussions, and lively debates. The geographic spread of the topics tackled reflected the diversity of the participants, ranging from rural Mauritius, deepest Arkansas, and Zambia’s Victoria Falls through to downtown Hong Kong, central Montreal, and suburbs of Brussels. At the same time, participants drew on a range of disciplines, including sociolinguistics, sociology, cultural studies, human geography, and literary criticism.

Elizabeth Lanza, Robert Blackwood, Stefania Tufi, Elana Shohamy, and Eliezer Ben-Rafael launch their outputs

Elizabeth Lanza, Robert Blackwood, Stefania Tufi, Elana Shohamy, and Eliezer Ben-Rafael launch their outputs

The conference was also the occasion for the launch of the journal Linguistic Landscape, with a wine reception sponsored by the publisher John Benjamins. The first issue of the second volume of the journal will appear this month, and LL8 was an ideal opportunity for the journal’s editors, Professor Elana Shohamy (Tel Aviv University) and Emeritus Professor Eliezer Ben-Rafael (also of Tel Aviv University) to highlight the work and reach of the journal. At the same reception, two other recent publications in linguistic landscape research were celebrated: Professor Elizabeth Lanza (University of Oslo) presented the volume that emerged after LL4 in Addis Ababa, whilst Dr Tufi discussed the new monograph on the linguistic landscape of the Mediterranean that she co-authored with Dr Blackwood.

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The conference dinner in the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum

In addition to the intellectual debates, the delegates were able to see parts of Liverpool, including and beyond the campus. The conference dinner was held in the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum whilst the second day of the conference took place in Liverpool’s Bluecoat Chambers, in the city centre. Those who stayed on for a day after the conference were treated to some great spring weather, and having taken a ferry across the Mersey, explored first Port Sunlight and then Crosby beach, and the Anthony Gormley installation there.

Linguistic Landscapers on the beach in Crosby

Linguistic Landscapers on the beach in Crosby

Photo credits for the top two pictures: Andrew Abrahamson

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