Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Jessica Grieser, Lisa King

Committee Members

Tanita Saenkhum, Derek Alderman


In the process of linguistic landscaping, spaces are transformed into textual and semiotic representations linked to particular social uses, cultural meanings, and historic narratives. Recently, digital technology has been used to create additional layers of semiotic representation in linguistic landscapes. This dissertation investigates multiple layers of digital and physical representation at six United States’ park spaces, with a particular focus on heritage tourism sites, and analyzes the social meaning and narratives of tourism constructed both by individual layers and within their relationships. Photo-based methods are used to collect data, both by documenting the representations of sites as filtered through the AR platform, Niantic’s Pokémon GO, as well as through photographing the physical sites in-person. This process of ground truthing revealed the erasure of Indigenous histories, as well as amplification of eurocentric histories, which was perpetuated by both the physical and digital layer. The results also revealed a simplification of representations via the digital layer, as well as the role of corporate mediation in regulating space representation. These results are significant in revealing the role of augmented reality in portraying a particular sanitized and gamified version of the spaces. This project also suggests a need within linguistic landscaping research for more engagement with the interdisciplinarity of landscape studies as a whole, particularly, in a US parks context, for gaining a more precise and holistic view of the complex histories and contexts that are obscured by both physical and digital representations.

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Linguistics Commons