This article analyzes how under conditions of crisis certain social actors shift the metasemiotic frames through which minority languages may be approached in order to suit place-branding purposes and to make them more widely accessible for business usage. In the cases we investigate in Shetland and Western Ireland, the new meanings associated with language are connected with how crises are framed and constructed in discourse. We thus examine two types of crises in which certain social actors view language as part of the solution to ward off specific trouble: economic recession (Ireland) and depopulation (Shetland). With the branding potential of these languages then positioned as part of the solutions to “crises,” new indexical alignments exemplify the neoliberal metasemiotic framework through which all elements of social and cultural life may be strategically made marketable—in this case on the intra- and international markets on which people themselves are vied for.
Brennan, S. C., & Wilson, J. C. (2016). The Indexical Reordering of Language in Times of Crisis: Nation, Region, and the Rebranding of Place in Shetland and Western Ireland. Signs and Society, 4(S1), S106-S137. https://doi.org/10.1086/684680