Linguascaping the City: A Framework for Multilingual Pedagogy

Oct 27, 2018 | 10:45 AM - 12:15 AM | Studio Theatre

Dejan Ivković, PhD  York University & New College/OISE, University of Toronto
Natasha Nguyen, Lurd Shamon, & Andrew Truong York University

Comics as a pedagogical tool for exploration of multilingual urban spaces

This paper reports on a collaborative enterprise of graduate students of Multilingual Education from York University, who examined multilingualism in the cityscapes of the Greater Toronto Area, and their professor, who provided the methodological and analytical framework. The thematic focus of the undergraduate seminar was on linguascaping (or language-shaping), which is meant to describe how we create our own, personal places with and through language (Ivković, Cupial, Arfin & Ceccato, in press). More specifically, the purpose of the comic book is to guide the student through a series of fieldwork steps, as well as analytical and writing assignments, to better understand linguistic and cultural complexity of their surroundings. As a result, the first draft of the comic book, entitled Linguascaping: A graphic guide to exploring multilingualism in cityscapes, was created, which the students presented with their professor in the final class. The comic book is divided into two sections. The first part introduces the concept and offers a methodological guide: psychogeographic narratives preparation protocol and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al., 2009). The rest is a compilation of two group projects conducted in the Greater Toronto Area: Malton and Little Manila in Toronto. The fieldwork portion of the project itself is comprised of the individual and group assignments. In the former, the students recorded their personal impressions of the space. In the latter, they compared, contrasted and negotiated the readings, thus creating and contrasting intersubjective ‘linguascapes,’ or psychogeographic narratives. Subsequently, the students describe their impressions about the project as well as learning benefits, resulting from this collaboration. It is suggested, the comic book guide is suitable for a similar linguascaping assignment not only for university and college-level courses in sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, educational linguistics, semiotics and human geography, to mention a few disciplines, but also for high school and elementary school students.

Dejan Ivković, York University/University of Toronto;
Jamie Arfin, M.Ed.  Humber College;  
Tiziana Seccato, MA  University of Guelph;
Violetta Cupial, M.Ed.  York University

Linguascaping as a Community of Practice: Shaping the linguistic landscape organically and collaboratively

This paper is a pedagogical extension of a phenomenological study of the linguistic landscape of Toronto’s Kensington Market and Chinatown, using the framework of ‘linguascaping’, which is meant to describe how linguistic places are co-created with and through language (Ivković, Cupial, Arfin & Seccato, in press). The current study delves into the realm of participatory pedagogy and community of practice (Wenger 1999). The collaborative inquiry presents the pedagogical apparatus and foregrounds the subjective accounts of three graduate students – who create and subsequently negotiate the readings. The analytical focus of the paper is on three key features of community of practice, applied to the linguascaping project: mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. More specifically, the paper will demonstrate how three originally graduate students, since taking a graduate course in educational sociolinguistics in Winter 2014, (a) continued to build collaborative relationships, mutually and with their professor, by working on an academic project (see; (b) created a shared understanding of what binds them together; and as part of the practices, produced a set of academic and educational resources in pursuit of their joint enterprise, culminating in a peer-reviewed journal article (Ivković, D., Cupial V., Arfin J., Cecatto T (in press).


Dejan Ivković, PhD

Dr. Dejan Ivković is a researcher and university lecturer from Toronto. Drawing in theory and method on sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, semiotics, discourse analysis, phenomenology, as well as variationist, computational and corpus linguistics, he explores linguistic diversity in both online and offline environments. His key contributions are conceptualization of the virtual linguistic landscape, a semiotic theory of multilingualism and in sociopragmatics of computer-mediated latinization in Serbian and Slavic. His current research concerns bialphabetism in Serbian and pedagogy of linguascaping focusing on multilingualism in the Greater Toronto Area. Dejan teaches literacy and sociolinguistics in the undergraduate and graduate programs at York University and the University of Toronto. 

Twitter. @linguascaping


Natasha Nguyen, BEd

Natasha Nguyen is a Core French teacher in the Peel District School Board focusing on French language acquisition for multilingual students in urban areas. She is currently completing her Master of Education at York University where she explores the intersecting effects of multiple language knowledge, language policies, and language attitudes on student identity and learning. She uses her education and classroom experience, coupled with her personal language experience growing up Ecuadorian and Vietnamese, to inform her current teaching practices and her research interests. In the future, she plans on creating a teaching resource for French Educators that addresses cultural and linguistic pluralism in the classroom.

Lurd Shamoon, BEd

Graduated from York University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts and Education. She is currently completing her second year of her master’s degree with an emphasis on language and literacy education. As an aspiring researcher and educator, she is interested in exploring how writing can be an expression of identity. She is currently focusing on the study and development of writing skills among students in transition from secondary education into postsecondary education. As an Iraqi-Canadian, and someone who is fluent in Assyrian, her experiences with language acquisition and multiculturalism have influenced both her aspirations and her plans for future research. 

James DeCristoforo, BEd 

A Master of Education student at York University specializing in Language and Literacy. His main research interests focus on education policy and knowledge mobilization, particularly in relation to pedagogical best practices for math and language education and the dissemination of this information to various educational stakeholders.

Jamie Arfin, MEd

Jame Arfin is an English professor at Humber College. Her research interests include adult and community education, additional language acquisition teaching and learning, arts in education in specific embodied learning and drama pedagogy, post-secondary education, and internationalization of higher education. As part of her Master’s degree in Education, she created a workshop based in drama pedagogy for adult immigrants and international students that aids in language acquisition and focuses on identity building and student empowerment. She is also currently involved in a project in which she is 'linguascaping' the city of Toronto which explores the agentive role language plays in place-making. 

Violetta Cupial, Med

An instructor at York University who primarily focuses on the development of International students' academic research and writing skills. As a researcher, she is interested in exploring the intersections between multiple language knowledge, migration experiences, and identity. As a Polish-Canadian woman who grew up in Poland, Germany, and finally migrated to Canada, her personal experiences with language learning and migration have had an impact on her graduate research. She continues to investigate the complexities and intersections of migratory experiences and linguistic identities of International students in the context of Canadian academia.