AbstractThis article closely examines how both linguistic and non-linguistic objects and inscriptions emplaced in the built environment transform the traditional residential-business street into a space of consumption for a new generation of Chinese tourists. The data consists of observation notes, photographs, and interviews obtained from an ethnographic fieldwork in Kathmandu, Nepal. The article makes three major arguments. First, the semiotic shift and the social practices that inhabit the space represent a key feature of a late capitalist society with a focus on the commodification of languages, cultures, and identities. Second, the practices index the global power of the Chinese language in challenging English and marginalizing other tourist languages. And third, these shifts urge us to understand the relation between semiotic and material resources in redefining traditionally West-oriented global tourism economies. The study overall provides new insights into how language and material goods can create a completely different kind of Chinatown, entailing a new interaction order between business owners and tourists, which use intertextuality, translanguaging, and multimodality, among others, as resources. These findings are starkly different from studies that have examined traditional Chinatowns in diasporic contexts.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 26, 2021