JOPOL 2(2020)

Place, Pragmatics and Postcolonial Discourse

This special issue explores the ways in which “place” is construed and enacted in colonial and postcolonial discourses. “Place” is a key concept in human meaning-making and a core theme in the discourses of colonialism. From public deliberations about geopolitics to small-scale everyday interactions in the streets, the concept of place is prominent and salient. Speakers have built elaborate notions from it, such as countries and cities, ice caps and oceans, train stations and town squares. In different linguacultures speakers have coined, developed, and elaborated numerous culturally-specific concepts of “place”, many of which are locally prominent and difficult to translate. For these same reasons, meaning-making in specific places and about specific places is negotiable and often contested. With postcolonial pragmatic case studies from diverse settings, the contributors to this issue explore “place” from highly local sites, exploring a variety of topics, including the importance of country in Aboriginal Australia, the discourse of Buenos Aires as the París de Sudamérica ‘Paris of South America’, innovative use of deixis among former wage labourers of fincas in postcolonial Guatemala, fluid linguistic practices of young speakers in urban spaces of Maputo, stories told at a tavern in South Africa, and playful linguistic masquerades in the Bakuli neighbourhood of Kampala, Uganda.