Thursday, 2019/05/09, 16:15
Over the recent years, participative research has gained more and more attention in the humanities. Be it as part of crowdsourcing activities or in the context of citizen-science initiatives, an increasing number of projects and scholars engage in participative research. Lately, the German-speaking area has seen a couple of linguistic projects that make use of mobile applications for data collection, public engagement, and linguistic analysis. In this context, the combination of a participatory approach, crowdsourcing techniques, and mobile app technology enables new approaches to the study of language and its socio-cultural grounding in practice.
Using the example of the project “Lingscape”, I will discuss the scientific potential as well as potential shortcomings of a citizen-science approach to the study of linguistic landscapes. The exploration of social semiotics, e.g., the structure and dynamics of public signage in multilingual communities, has become an innovative branch of sociolinguistics in recent years. The project "Lingscape" combines the survey of such linguistic landscapes with a participatory research approach that extents to all aspects of project work, starting from data collection over app development to the dissemination of results. Each of the three methodological pillars of the project (linguistic landscaping, citizen science, digital humanities) brings with it its own challenges and opportunities, which will be discussed in the lecture and illustrated with examples.