Latest Issue: Vol 15, No 2-4 (2021) RSS2 logo

Call for Papers / Crossing the urban-rural border: Linguistic landscapes in Asia and Oceania

Call for Papers: Crossing the urban-rural border: Linguistic landscapes in Asia and Oceania

Aim and Scope:

The study of linguistic landscape aims to understand the use of languages and other semiotic resources in the public space. As a new toolkit for sociolinguistics, linguistic landscape studies have focused on documenting multilingualism in urban centres and globalised cities. Although superdiverse city centres offer abundant multilingual and multimodal materials for analysis, this urban-centric focus in linguistic landscape research has been increasingly problematised by emerging studies of rural and remote communities.

This thematic issue therefore aims to address this unbalanced focus on superdiverse urban areas. It seeks to direct the much-needed attention to rural and peripheral sites where the sociolinguistic regimes are much less understood. It is believed that insights generated from these less explored contexts would shed new light on the structuration of linguistic landscapes and complement the perspectives gained from studies of the linguistic experience in cities. With no intention of drawing a clear line dividing urban and rural, we instead encourage contextualised approaches that may potentially increase the blurring of the urban-rural division, in the hope that the shift of analytical perspective would necessitate innovative approaches and theoretical frameworks. As a result, this issue will bring together original research that opens new terrain of linguistic landscape studies.

Submission Guidelines:

We invite contributions from scholars which broadly address the theme of crossing the urban-rural border in linguistic landscapes. We are particularly interested in original research from the Asia-Oceania context which seeks to problematise the urban and rural divide in linguistic landscape studies. We also welcome comparative studies which explore rural, marginal or peripheral areas vis-à-vis urban areas. Diverse and innovative approaches beyond linguistic focus are strongly encouraged, such as multimodal, multi-semiotic, ethnographic perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches.

Possible subthemes might include but are not limited to:

  • Language policy and language ideologies
  • Indigenous languages
  • Bi- and Multi-lingualism at the rural/urban landscape
  • Ethnic minorities in rural areas
  • Urbanisation and counter-urbanisation
  • Rural change under globalisation
  • Rural tourism and imagined rurality
  • Tradition versus modernity
  • Urban versus rural identities
  • Digital presence in urban- and rural-scapes
  • COVID discourse in linguistic landscape
  • Bilingual education and schoolscapes

Abstracts should be a maximum of 300 words (excluding references). We advise that you include the following information in your abstract submission:

  • Title of paper
  • Author name, position, affiliation and contact information
  • A short introductory statement which explains the background/significance of your research
  • A brief description of your methodology/theoretical framework(s)
  • A brief overview of the main findings of your research
  • A short concluding statement

Please submit your abstract in Word format to the guest editor, Xiaofang Yao (School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne) at, and the co-guest editor, Samantha Zhan Xu (Department of Chinese Studies, University of Sydney) at on or before May 30, 2021 for an initial review. We will notify all authors of the outcome by June 30, 2021 and advise next steps for submission of full papers.

Manuscript submissions should be original research papers and must not have been previously published in full or in part or under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Papers must be in English and should adhere to the submission guidelines of Sociolinguistic Studies ( The maximum word limit for the manuscript should be no more than 8,000 words. This limit includes tables, references, figure captions, footnotes and endnotes. All papers submitted will go through a rigorous double-blind peer review process. Acceptance of abstracts does not guarantee acceptance of the paper.

Important Dates:

March 1, 2021–May 30, 2021 – Call for papers (abstracts)
June 30, 2021 – Notification of acceptance of abstract
December 30, 2021 – Submission of manuscripts
January 1, 2022–August 30, 2022 – Review of manuscripts
October 2022 – Notification of acceptance of manuscripts
March 2023 – Publication

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