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Chestnut beer, Corsica-Cola, and wine bottles: The commodification of Corsican in the linguistic and semiotic landscapes of the island’s drinks industry

Authors
  • Blackwood, Robert1
  • 1 University of Liverpool, UK , (Ukraine)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Feb 20, 2020
Volume
2020
Issue
261
Pages
103–118
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2019-2062
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Within sociolinguistics, work on the commodification of language has gathered pace in recent decades. Monica Heller, in “Globalisation, the new economy, and the commodification of language and identity”, published in 2003 in the Journal of Sociolinguistics, contends that in the new globalized economy, language is commodified as a measurable skill, an inalienable characteristic of group members, and a marker of authenticity. Whilst the ability to speak Corsican is a potential aspect of the commodification of the language on the island, this article will explore in particular the extent to which the Corsican language is a characteristic of Corsican-ness, as well as a marker of value and authenticity in the economic market on the island (see Monica Heller and Alexandre Duchêne, “Pride and profit: changing discourses of language, capital, and nation-state”, published in 2012 in Language in late capitalism: pride and profit). Based on a corpus of product labelling from Corsican soft and alcoholic drinks, I investigate the extent to which Corsican, as a named language, and other visual resources are used for meaning-making in the presentation of local products. In doing so, I consider here the unevenness in the use of Corsican in the labelling of drinks which reflects the contours of regional language revitalisation and the shifting cultural value attributed to both French and Corsican depending on the product that retailers are seeking to sell.

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