What the Signs Say
Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn
Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr, a sociolinguist and an anthropologist respectively, show how the beliefs and ideas that people take as truths about language and its speakers are deployed in these different sign types. They also present in-depth ethnographic case studies that reveal how gentrification and corporate redevelopment in Brooklyn are intimately connected to public communication, literacy practices, the transformation of motherhood and gender roles, notions of historical preservation, urban planning, and systems of privilege. Far from peripheral or irrelevant, shop signs say loud and clear that language displayed in public always matters.
This book is the recipient of the 2021 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize from Vanderbilt University Press for the best book in the area of art or medicine.