Reflective Essay #2: Linguistic Landscape
For the past few days, we have been discussing linguistic landscapes and we were given the assignment to go out and take a few pictures of what we thought was to be a linguistic landscape. I went to Jackson Heights (74th Street) and took a picture of near a currency exchange place. Near that currency exchange place, there were two big and separate signs. Both were white and used relatively the same colors but the top sign was in English while the bottom sign was in Bangla. The top sign, in big, blue and all capital letters read “SUMAN” which I assumed to be apart of the currency exchange place’s name. There was also a circular symbol next to it and it looked like a stamping. Underneath “SUMAN”, in big and slight smaller letters, “Global Express Corp.” Then, underneath that, it had something in Bangla in a bit bigger than the “Global Express Corp” but smaller than “SUMAN.” Oh, and whatever was written in Bangla was in black letters. There was also a thin blue strip which had some writing in it which I couldn’t really see but I did see that it had white letters and that there was a lot of small writing in that thin blue strip. Under that, was a big box rectangle with the words “CURRENCY EXCHANGE” in all red. There was also a red arrow with some writing in it pointing towards the door. The bottom sign had something in Bangla and was big and blue. It had something in a thin red rectangle underneath with some small white writing which was again hard to see. There was some more writing in Bangla in the color blue and in big, bold and black letters, a phone number for what I assumed to be to be the currency exchange place’s.
Since this picture was taken in Jackson Heights, a lot can be learned about this linguistic landscape. First of all, there’s a lot of Bangla in both signs because Jackson Heights, 74th Street not 82nd, is mostly filled with South Asians. Since there are a lot of South Asians in Jackson Heights, there are not only signs in Bangla but in other languages as well such as Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu. This shows that the sign is mainly meant for those that are Bengali and may need to get their currency exchanged. You may be wondering if there are mostly South Asians in Jackson Heights, why isn’t the sign entirely in Bangla or why does the top sign have Bangla in black and blue in the bottom one? Well, I think the reason for the sign not being completely in Bangla is because there could be people that may speak Bangla but do not know how to read or write it. So, if the sign were to be completely in Bangla, those people wouldn’t be able to understand the sign and the service the place provides. Also, I think the reason the top sign has Bangla written in black because maybe black would stand out better against the white background and would be easily noticed by Bengalis. But what about the bottom sign? I think they chose to use blue to outline possibly the name of the place because it is easier to see since it was a bigger font than the top sign. Also, probably because a majority of the sign is hard to see from a distance. The big blue characters and the bolded telephone number would probably be the first things a person who could read Bangla would notice.
The linguistic landscape that I chose to take a picture of shows is an example of how signs vary in different locations. For example, while in Jackson Heights, you’ll find signs in English and either Hindi, Punjabi, Bangla or even Urdu, you won’t find these signs so much in Flushing. In Flushing, you’re more likely to find signs in Chinese or Korean. In these two locations mentioned, you’ll find the signs in different languages but there are locations that only have English. I guess this goes back to the point of how signs will vary in the presentation based on the area they are in.
- Is there anything I should add or remove because I think I answered the given questions but not completely.
- Did I explain the linguistic landscape good? Is it easy to understand what I’m trying to say?