Linguistic landscapes in der Innerschweiz: Dialekt, Toponyme und heraldische Zeichen als Ausdruck von Raumzugehörigkeit

Marina Petkova


This article explores the linguistic landscapes of four towns in Central Switzerland. The analysis focuses on linguistic features such as words written in dialect or toponyms and on some features from other semiotic codes like heraldic signs or arrangements in shop windows which include language, pictures, flags etc. The main interest lies in the way the mental concepts of “space” and “place” are displayed in the linguistic landscape. Which geographical categories are relevant? Which features tend to express a sense of belonging? The analysis shows that the linguistic landscape of the four towns contains features that represent several different mental concepts of “space” and “place”. The most significant ones are those that represent the close environment, i. e. the part of the world that tends to be felt as being a “place”. Thus, the linguistic landscape also reflects the effects of “place-making”-activities and at the same time visualizes the relationship between physical localities, mental concepts of “space” or “place” and human activities.