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Multimodal-Linguistic Landscaping in Food Narratives: A Case Study of Indian Cookery Shows
Published in blogs.helsinki.fi
Pages: 10 - 10

Linguistic landscaping as a domain of study has been taking momentum slowly with scholars focusing on public signs from different settings and cultures. The requirement of such focus becomes relevant as through studying signs in the public space, a great deal of information can be inferred about a country. The term linguistic landscape was first time mentioned by R. Landry and R. Bourhis with the meaning “the language of public road signs, advertising billboards, street names, place names, commercial shop signs, and public signs on government buildings combines to form the LL of a given territory, region, or urban agglomeration” (1997, pp. 25). The study of newer forms of public signs in this age of digital media can lead to further clarity in the complexity presented by linguistic landscaping in a multilingual society like India.

This article draws on insight from linguistic landscaping and socio-pragmatics to explore how language data as used in the contemporary Indian Cookery Shows considering them as case study can illuminate the multilingual dimensions of alternative narrative created with the help of signs such as name of dishes, uses of spices etc. Alternative narrative can be broadly defined as an area of study wherein the story line of the narrative is represented through a non-literary medium. The study hypothesize that alternative narrative acts as sign within the linguistic landscape of current day India and serve both informational and symbolic functions.

A sample of successful Indian Cookery Shows are selected from television channels like Food Food, TLC or NDTV Good Times and analysed. The shows are conducted either in commonly used language, i.e. Hindi or in the second official language, English. Through synthesis of multilingualism as represented by discourse narratives created in these shows the paper postulates about the role of socio-cultural context in the design and processing of the discourse representations. ‘Socio-Cultural Context’ as represented during interactions in these Cookery Shows, is sometimes construed intratextually and at other times intertextually. By using a deeper rapprochement facilitated through socio-pragmatics and multilingual practices the study attempts to dispel the contextual complexities at hand and so improve our understanding of the forms and functions of multimodal linguistic landscaping.

The argument set forth is that narratives’ representations of discourse correspond to modes of encoding contexts-of-use into narrative form itself. The multimodal linguistic landscape represented in the Shows will reveal much about the Indian people, the languages spoken, what languages are valued, and what de facto language policies are in place in India. A detailed examination of the various discursive layers during the on-going interactions in the shows yield an enriched typology of represented socio-cultural discourse of the current day India. Thus, it is shown how a new sociocultural typology which includes both the recipes prepared as well as the way they are presented in turn suggests ways of ordering the different multimodal landscaping along a pragmatic continuum, stretching from context-backgrounding to context- foregrounding of alternative narrative representations.

About the journal
JournalContact-Driven Multilingual Practices
Open AccessNo
Concepts (1)
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