Street names and other names as part of the linguistic landscape:

Room D
Monday, 31 August 2015
15.15 – 17.00
linguistic landscape, street names

That which we may describe as the linguistic landscape of an area, a town or a neighborhood consists of various types of expressions. Most important are the place names, including names of streets and plazas. But also the names of houses, buildings, commercial and other enterprises disseminate their messages. When walking through an urban street one is bombarded by linguistic messages, not only street names, but even more by brand and fashion names, graphics, flashing signs, etc. Even the shape of the various buildings and skylines convey their messages, if not explicitly in language, so by their pure appearance, like churches, governmental buildings, and universities to mention a few.

Questions to be discussed in the paper are then: what constitutes a place in relation to space, what is the relationship between place and name? How do place names and commercial names interfere with each other, and how do they define urban space? Some answers will be given based on recent research.

In order to give local citizens a possibility to learn more about their linguistic landscape a walk was organized by the present lecturer through the main street of Oslo, Karl Johans gate. It turned out to be a quite successful way of disseminating understanding of names and other space related linguistic expressions.

Botolv Helleland
University of Norway - Language Council of Norway
botolv.helleland [at]

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