Making Sense of the Noisy


  • Christiane M. Bongartz University of Cologne
  • Anne Storch University of Arizona


postcolony, noise, silence, literacy, tourism, language


Language ideologies that are intended to rationalize experiences of social injustice and linguistic inequality in the postcolony reflect notions of ruination, noise and silence. They are no simple metalinguistic statements, but performative and multimodal ways of expressing experiences of entanglement between Self and Other. In this essay, we take a look at language ideology and ideologized language practice in Jamaica, where we consider noise in tourism spaces, silences in waiting rooms, and the ways in which literacies reflect ideological concepts in a postcolonial setting. Rather than coming up with some kind of final analysis that explains away all the disruptions and inconsistencies of every-day life practices, we opt for an impressionistic, sometimes naive way of looking at ideological constructs of language, in order to make transparent our limited and subjective take on it, and the possibility of other voices.