Date of Award

6-18-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ben Rafoth, Ph. D.

Third Advisor

Kevin Patrick, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative ethnographic Linguistic Landscape (LL) study collected and analyzed ten individual "walking tour" interviews with residents of Memphis, Tennessee, exploring the personal thoughts and feelings about linguistic changes in the communities triggered by the LL. The researcher focused the participants‘ attention on multilingualism present on public signage and the emotional affects of the LL at the moment of seeing. The interviews were conducted in 2007 and 2008 and a follow-up was done in 2009. Multilingual and foreign language signs at the sites selected for the "walking tour" interviews were photographed and analyzed prior to the interviews. The interviews were tape recorded and later transcribed for analysis. This interactional sociolinguistic study examined the self-reported statements and discursive processes of the interaction and meaning making during the onsite interviews which were stimulated by focused attention and reference to the LL. Explicit statements were coded and tracked according to source of stimulation and then categorized for emotional or referential content. Responses and discourses were then categorized and examined within the discursive contexts of self-positioning and identity marking, empathy movements, and co-constructions of meanings. Contextualized meanings were discussed for each individual interview. The results showed Memphis in transition as evidenced by the LL which was never a neutral text but triggered a complex range of individual emotional responses.

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