„Metropolenzeichen“ : Vorkommen und Bewertung visueller Mehrsprachigkeit in der Metropole Ruhr

Das Projekt „Metropolenzeichen“ widmet sich visuellen Manifestationen von äußerer und innerer Mehrsprachigkeit, und zwar bezogen auf den öffentlichen Raum der Metropole Ruhr als bundesweit wichtigster Metropole für Arbeitsmigration. Neuartig ist die systematische Untersuchung einer Metropolregion, die nicht durch offizielle Mehrsprachigkeit, sondern durch Migration bedingte Mehrsprachigkeit gekennzeichnet ist.
The paper presents findings from the interdisciplinary research-project “Signs of the Metropolises: Visual multilingualism in the Ruhr-Area” (funded by MERCUR), which investigates the occurrence, regional distribution, function, production and perception of visual multilingualism in representative neighbourhoods of the cities Essen, Dortmund, Bochum and Duisburg. In a multi-method approach that combines data of visual multilingualism with metalinguistic data concerning language attitudes and language choices and urban sociological data on actual neighbourhood characteristics the following issues will be addressed:</br> • Does the diversity of visual multilingualism reflect the ethnic diversity in the investigated neighbourhoods?</br> • Which languages dominate in the linguistic landscape of the Ruhr Area?</br> • Which types of discourse display the highest occurrence of languages other than German?</br> • How are the languages perceived and evaluated by majority and minority groups?</br> The results indicate that</br> a) the greater the diversity of the population the greater the diversity of languages is, that </br>b) neighbourhoods to the north of the A40 motorway show more multilingualism than those south of the A40 and that </br>c) commercial and transgressive signs (e.g. graffiti and stickers) are more multilingual than infrastructural and regulatory signs. </br>Attitudes towards visual multilingualism reveal that informants with a positive attitude towards visual multilingualism most often draw on pragmatic arguments, while informants with a negative attitude towards visual multilingualism most often draw on normative arguments. Finally, regarding the prestige of languages, the data show that Polish and Arabic are very low valued languages in the Ruhr Area. This finding calls for action in order to increase the acceptance of these languages and their speakers.
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