Colloquium am Sociolinguistics Symposium 22
Auckland, New Zealand  

Authenticity – locality – identity in tourism:
The role of linguistic repertoires in the negotiation of cultural, spatial and social categories

Organization: Monika Dannerer & Heike Ortner

Tourism entails the spatial mobility of tourists coming to places where tourees live. As a result, verbal interaction is often accompanied by language contact and multilingualism (Jaworski/Thurlow 2011). This turns touristic hotspots into places of seasonal or permanent superdiversity established by the different groups engaged in interaction: inhabitants, hosts, employees and tourists.

This colloquium will focus on the importance of mono- and multilingual as well as mono- and multivarietal  registers for indexing geographically fixed sites (Auer 2013: 8) that are bound to socially negotiated categories such as locality (Appadurai 1996), and identity (Buchholtz 2003). These categories are also used to stress authenticity, which is an important resource for branding and selling touristic sites (Pietikäinen/Kelly-Holmes 2011). In touristic contexts the unknown language/variety of the destination can become part of the experience of exoticism and an important commodification and sign of the authentic target region (Heller/Pujolar/Duchêne 2014). However, it can also imperil the illusion of a monolingual and monocultural life. Interaction in touristic contexts sheds light on processes of inclusion/exclusion, negotiating the prestige of languages/varieties and the importance of authentic experiences, thereby revealing political convictions about language as well as questions about ‘ownership’ and functions of place and space.

The presentations will illuminate our topic using manifold corpora (e.g. advertisements, blogs, interactions with tourists, interviews), perspectives (e.g. social identity, language ideology, marketing) and regions (Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, France, Italy and Switzerland).


Appadurai, Arjun (1996) The Production of Locality. In: Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. 178–199.

Auer, Peter (2013) The Geography of Language: Steps toward a New Approach. FRAGL: Freiburger Arbeitspapiere zur Germanistischen Linguistik 16:1–39.

Bucholtz, Mary (2003) Sociolinguistic nostalgia and the authentication of identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(3):398–416.

Heller, Monica/Pujolar, Joan/Duchêne, Alexandre (2014) Linguistic commodification in tourism. In: Journal of Sociolinguistics 18(4):539–566.

Jaworski, Adam/Thurlow, Crispin (2011) Tracing Place, Locating Self: Embodiment and Remediation In/Of Tourist Spaces. Visual Communication 10(3):349-366.

Pietikäinen, Sari/Kelly-Holmes, Helen (2011) The local political economy of languages in a Sámi tourism destination: Authenticity and mobility in the labelling of souvenirs. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(3):323–346.


  1. Social identity and knowledge display in guided tours: How tourist guides recipient-design their talk
    Elwys de Stefani (KU Leuven, Belgium)

  2. Voiceless Landscapes: erasing Zhuang language in tourism texts and sites in South China
    Alexandra Grey (Macquarie University Sydney, Australia)

  3. Marketing multilingualism or linguistic uniformity? The negotiation of linguistic boundaries in place-branding discourses of a multilingual tourism destination
    Larissa Semiramis Schedel (Universität Bonn, Deutschland)

  4.  Negotiating a global city: linguistic resource promotion in Marseille’s tourist sector
    Adam Wilson (Aix-Marseille Université, France)

  5.  “No worries, mate”: Australian English as a marker of authentic language learning among German-speaking backpackers in Australia
    Livia Gerber (Macquarie University Sydney, Australia)

  6. What a difference a dialect makes. Displaying locality and authentic identity by (not) using dialect and foreign languages
    Monika Dannerer (Universität Innsbruck, Österreich)
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