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Patterns of discursive urban place-making in Brooklyn, New York

Beatrix Busse

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to conceptualise urban linguistic and semiotic patterns from an interdisciplinary perspective. Drawing on the example of multimodal discursive practices used in selected neighbourhoods of Brooklyn, New York, this paper shows how spaces are turned into meaningful places through various social semiotic moves and stylistic practices. These discursive processes of urban “place-making” (cf. Busse & Warnke 2015) create, construe and contest this specific urban Brooklynite place and identity and therewith mark - due to its speakers’ active role in positioning themselves in the social landscape (Silverstein 2003; Johnstone, Andrus, & Danielson 2006; Searle 1995) - the value of particular Brooklynite neighbourhoods. The paper chooses a mixed-methods approach which combines both a qualitative and a quantitative methodological framework as well as approaches from sociolinguistics, corpus linguistic methodologies as well as semiotic landscape studies.

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