Speaking Heritage: Language, Identity and Tourism

Lauren Hall-Lew, Alan A. Lew

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Research on language and tourism is in its infancy in both linguistics and tourism studies. Much of the research comes from within sociolinguistics, where scholars have considered how the particular social context of the tourism encounter reflects or challenges existing theories of language use (Cohen and Cooper, 1986; Heller, 2003; Boudreau and White, 2004; Manca, 2008; Jaworski, 2009). The most comprehensive text on language and tourism to date is probably Thurlow and Jaworski (2010; see also Jaworski and Pritchard, 2005), who conduct a discursive analysis of six different tourism contexts: three about language use (inflight magazines, trade signs and business cards, and holiday postcards) and three about language representation (newspaper travelogues, television holiday shows, and guidebook glossaries). Their aim is to set out a new field of “the sociolinguistics of tourism” (Thurlow and Jaworski, 2010: 1) and to “start mapping the globalizing processes and discursive strategies that underpin the symbolic economy and language ideologies of tourism more generally” (2010: 12), connecting work on language and tourism to broader discussions in linguistics about cultural change and global mobility. Other related work in sociolinguistics considers the role of language in the broader representation of cultural and other identities in tourism destinations (Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes, 2001; Coupland et al., 2005; Cos, 2006; Drozdzewski, 2011; Thurlow and Jaworski, 2011; Strand, 2012, 2013; Ploner, 2013). Perspectives such as these are somewhat more numerous than discussions about language in the tourism literature, where language has often been treated as a functional tool in (creating and then) overcoming cross-cultural barriers to communication (Cohen and Cooper, 1986; Yuan et al., 2006; Geoffroy, 2007; Gao, 2012). This more applied perspective is of fundamental importance in the tourism sector as service staff in tourism establishments must be able to effectively communicate with customers. The ease with which a host can communicate with tourists can have direct financial consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Tourism
EditorsAlan A. Lew, C Michael Hall, Allan M. Williams
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-47448-8
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Linguistics
  • Geography
  • Tourism
  • Sociolinguistics


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