Publication details [#67704]

Stroud, Christopher and Sibonile Mpendukana. 2010. Multilingual signage: A multimodal approach to discourses of consumption in a South African township. Social Semiotics 20 (5) : 469–493.
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Article in journal
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The paper explores how global commercial discourses and the politics of aspiration in post-apartheid South Africa may be seen as contributing to the restructuring of spaces of multilingualism and the refiguring of indexical values of English and South African languages. The analysis takes its point of departure in how late-modern lifestyles, identities, aspirations and imaginations are represented across local and transnational commercial signage in the Western Cape township of Khayelitsha, focusing on how different languages are multimodally constituted and differentially represented in two different sub-genres of commercial billboards. The authors suggest that new late-modern multimodal representations of identity, and the way multilingual resources are configured into new repertoires and genres of subjectivity, may be one important factor in how social transformation is mediated in changing perceptions and practices of language, while simultaneously and paradoxically reinforcing traditional conceptions of cultural authenticity and self-representation.