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LRDG - 1001 images from Tahrir Square: Developing a quantitative approach to extract and analyse linguistic data from visual material

Date: 13 December 2011 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Mariam Aboelezz (Lancaster University):

The wave of pro-democracy protests which swept through the Arab world in 2011 has afforded a unique opportunity for researchers from a wide array of academic disciplines including linguistics. During the January 25 revolution in Egypt, the extensive media attention on Tahrir Square as the epicentre of anti-government protests has yielded a rich collection of images which capture the verbal expression of protesters' views through the messages they display. The interplay of features such as rhyme and humour, the multilingual presentation of many messages, and the linguistic and visual innovation in the display of protest signs provide data which is ripe for research.

This presentation explores how such data can be extracted and quantified for the purpose of linguistic research. Having collected 1000+ images of protest signs from Tahrir square, I discuss the pitfalls of relying on images that I have not taken myself, and how I address copyright issues. I also explain the various stages of data collection and analysis, from harvesting images to statistical analysis. Finally, I present the findings from my study of multilingualism and linguistic innovation in protest signs in Tahrir Square, placing great emphasis on the notion of geosemiotics - that signs must be understood in the context of how and where they are displayed.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Mark Sebba

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Literacies, Multilingualism


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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