Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Visual Communication in a Multilingual Context

Articoli su riviste scientifiche

Visual communication strives to transmit mediated messages from iconic and symbolic elements to a large audience and thereby modifies urban linguistic space significantly. Artefacts (signs, posters, etc.) do not necessarily result in communication, however. In fact, to communicate does not mean to transmit messages, but to transform the reality around us, so that others are able to produce acts of significance similar to those that we desire. In a multilingual context like the bus station of Bozen, where an initial session of fieldwork was carried out, the linguistic and communicative complexity is even higher than usual. The quantity and dissemination of notices and languages in use there allow us to analyse the characteristics of its linguistic landscape. While the institutional notices there are mostly bilingual, according to the guidelines of local linguistic policy, the so called "bottom-up" types of messages, which are almost exclusively linked to commercial activities, show a clear prevalence of monolingual signs in Italian. In addition, a further analysis revealed that in most bilingual signs encountered, readability is obstructed by a lack of distinction between the languages. Examples show how typographic differentiation in visual communication would enhance multilingual communication by separating the languages visually. This article gives an initial outline of an ongoing interdisciplinary study at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.


Autore: Dal Negro, S., Lensink, W., Upmeier, C., Volonté, P.

Collana: Lili. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik

Anno: 2007