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Concept

Beyond Signs in the City explores the linguistic landscape in urban settings with the objective to promote languages. City signs provide an easy, visual and clear way to promote language and culture while they also provide excellent material for language learning in ‘real life' situations and indeed for comparative linguistic analysis.

Material in 11 languages (incl. minority languages and languages in bilingual environment) were collected in urban environments and included: photos of symbols, signs and landscape of 10 cities and towns in Europe carefully selected based on a thematic typology, short videos and films in the same cities and towns, online games and printed publications (language learning and storytelling books). We have explored how the use of city signs and symbols (street signs, bar, restaurant, shop, banks, post office, graffiti and anything else ‘printed' as part of a city) can tell a lot more about the culture than history ever could and can also be used as a means for language learning and language comparison.

We have so far produced printed and online travel and language guides, photography exhibitions, films and an offline game for the following cities and languages:

  • Alcalá de Henares for Spanish
  • Bad Radkersburg & Gornja Radgona for German and Slovenian
  • Barcelona for Catalan
  • Birgu (Città Vittoriosa) for Maltese
  • Dobrich for Bulgarian
  • GdaƄsk for Polish
  • Izmir for Turkish
  • Miercurea Cuic (Csíkszereda) for Romanian and Hungarian
  • Nafplio for Greek

Our concept is simple: we selected a number of cities in European countries. We then photographed and collected information on several linguistic and cultural 'signs' of those cities. Signs included street signs to graffitti, writings in restaurants and bars, information on buildings and heritage places and famous and important incidents and people. We developed a linguistic and cultural guide book that teaches the language and a bit of the culture of the city to its visitors and guests. We filmed aspects of daily life in all cities concerned. And finally we developed an offline game that allows the user to navigate in all cities and learn a bit about their languages.

We hope you will enjoy learning a bit about the language a culture of the Beyond the Signs cities. We definitely enjoyed working on it!
Feel free to contact us!

Reneta Palova,
Project developer and coordinator
reneta.palova@gmail.com 
rpalova@cci.dobrich.net