Saturday, 28 June 2008

Urban Literacy

I am in Hong Kong for one night on my way to Adelaide and as it is my first visit, I am struck by the densely textual nature of the urban environment. This photograph is not untypical and, walking along the streets, one is met at eye level with a plethora of texts in a number of languages. There is also plenty of evidence of new literacy practices in operation - txting etc. - and so altogether I feel immersed in a literacy bubble, albeit one I cannot analyse in much depth in terms of juxtaposition of languages and scripts. Dong and Blommaert (2007), in paper 44 that can be downloaded from this page, suggest in their analysis of migrant identities and language in Beijing that:

'Spaces exist in relation to one another and are organised in a layered and stratified social system through scaling processes. The notion of scale emphasises the indexical nature of spaces that are ordered and organised in a vertical continuum, from local to translocal, to global.'

Things aren't just vertical, of course, there is plenty of horizontal glocalisation stuff going on in Hong Kong - it wasn't too long on my wanderings before I came across the phrase 'I'm lovin' it' surrounded by Chinese characters for example - but it would be great to examine in more detail how local texts relate to each other, how they are inflected by new technologies and then how they lock into/ transform globalised discourses. A project for a longer visit, I think!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie

I enjoyed your talk today at Magill.

There was a question about Inueit - here is her channel:
with interesting info.


Jackie Marsh said...

Hi Ian

Many thanks for that - so she is 12, we weren't far wrong. Sorry we didn't have time to chat, I might bump into you at Magill over the next few days!