Overview: Language Revives Culture, and Stories Come to Life

Language and culture shape the physical environment in which we live and shapes our experiences of the world around us. The interdisciplinary field of Linguistic Landscape (LL), borrowing from such diverse fields as cultural geography, sociolinguistics, ethnography, applied linguistics, or cultural psychology, to name but a few, has shown how a given space can be conceived, lived, and experienced in vastly different ways depending on who the authors or the users or that passersby in that space. Indeed, the Linguistic Landscape of an area is a site of stories and histories that are emplaced, nested in each other, stories of “people in place” with their own language(s), their own culture(s), their own way of relating – and existing – to the place: the LL reflects our communities (e.g., street art or political signs in this electoral period), facilitates or constrains people’s movements (e.g., announcements in multiple languages in the Pittsburgh airport, catering to speakers of different languages vs. “no parking” or “no smoking” signs), make certain communities and their histories more or less visible in a given space. We would like to envision a project that questions the relationship between place, language, and culture.

We will create a game that:

● Based in, Linked to – and anchored in – Pittsburgh (Strip District)
● Uses AR technology.
● Participatory for all guests (especially college / university students who are interested in culture, language and history.)
● Ideally leverages one of the following modalities: gameplay, storytelling, interactive documentary.
● Focuses on communities that have traditionally been underrepresented and/or undervalued.
● Centers on and promote language and culture.

Come join us for a playtest! Have fun!