Publication details [#61948]

Zhang, Hong. 2016. Plurilingual posters in a multilingual city: reader positioning and power negotiation. Language and Intercultural Communication 16 (4) : 588–609.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


Via the analysis of plurilingual posters for pop concerts, musical performances, sports events and other cultural and entertainment events, this study examines language status and functions, language choice motivations, discourse and social practice in three diverse institutional contexts, using the multilingual Chinese society of Macao as a case study. Language distribution and representation in posters reveals the changing power relations and shows the reader positioning in language contact situations between Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters, Portuguese, English, and written Cantonese. This study uses critical discourse analysis to investigate the realization of commercial, governmental and civic power via a varied and plurilingual discourse genre. Albeit governmental authority is still invested in the colonial Portuguese language, it is not immune to the marketization associated with the language of commercial capital, English. The plurilingualism evoked by governmental authority puts monolingual readers in formal and reverent positions pertaining to other languages, commercial ventures try to make a living by diverting readers less formally, and civic associations foster their readership in supple ways in accord with the community's target sector.