The Quality of Quantity
No z4w39, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science
The field of Linguistic Landscapes has grown significantly from its beginnings in quantitative approaches concerned with the counting of languages and signs in the attempt to gauge linguistic vitality to a discipline in its own right, concerned not only with the documentation of languages’ public presence, but the complex relationship between language, place and people. This expansion in scope has, for the most part, moved away from quantitative methods in favor of more in-depth ethnographic approaches, situating the optimal analysis of the LL within careful consideration of the context(s) in which a sign may occur and/or bring about as well as the fluidity of interpretation researchers must allow in their assessments of signs’ significance (Banda and Jimaima 2015; Jaworski and Thurlow 2010; Malinowski 2010; Kallen 2010). In the face of such shifts towards contextualization over context or process over product, quantitative-based approaches which tend to rely on the establishment of discrete categories may be seen as problematic (Gorter and Cenoz 2015; Gorter 2006). This chapter, however, will argue that if enacted with caution and precision, quantitative methods – particularly the use of inferential statistics – continue to offer significant insight for LL research.
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