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Dr Jackie Jia Lou

Lecturer in Sociolinguistics

BA (Hons) (City University of Hong Kong), MSc and PhD in Linguistics (Georgetown University)

Contact details

Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication
Birkbeck, University of London
26 Russell Square, 

Research interests

  • My main research interest is concerned with language and the city, especially how languages are used in transnational urban spaces like Chinatown and how such spaces are represented and reconstructed through discourse. This often entails an eclectic research design which integrates sociolinguistic and discourse analysis with social- and geo-semiotic analysis, ethnographic fieldwork, and more recently, mobile video ethnography. I particularly welcome opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers of shared interests as well as with writers, artists, and community groups.

Areas of Research Supervision

  • Language, space, and place; linguistic and semiotic landscapes; urban discourse; transnational migration; sociolinguistic ethnography.


  • I am currently teaching on the following modules:
  • • Language and Society (BA)
  • • Investigating Language (BA)
  • • Introduction to Applied Linguistics (MA)
  • • Empirical Skills Workshop (MA)
  • Before joining Birkbeck, I also taught a variety of classes in sociolinguistics at Queen Mary, University of London (2017), City University of Hong Kong (2009-2016), and Georgetown University (2008-2009).


  • Research Monograph
  • Lou, Jackie Jia. 2016. The Linguistic Landscape of Chinatown: A Sociolinguistic Ethnography. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Edited Volumes
  • Jenks, Christopher, Jackie Jia Lou, and Aditi Bhatia. 2015. The discourse of culture and identity in national and transnational contexts. London: Routledge.
  • King, Kendall, Natalie Schilling-Estes, Lyn Fogle, Jia Jackie Lou, and Barbara Soukup, eds. 2008. Sustaining Linguistic Diversity: Endangered and Minority Languages and Language Varieties. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  • Edited Special Journal Issues
  • Jenks, Christopher, Aditi Bhatia, and Jackie Jia Lou. 2013. The discourse of culture and identity in national and transnational contexts: A Special Issue of Language and Intercultural Communication.
  • Stockburger, Inge and Jackie Jia Lou, eds. 2010. A Special Issue in Honor of Ron Scollon. eVox: Georgetown Working Papers in Language, Discourse, Society 4 (1).
  • Journal Articles
  • Lou Jia Jackie. (2017). Spaces of consumption and senses of place: A geosemiotic analysis of three markets in Hong Kong. A special issue in the journal Social Semiotics on ‘Multilingual, multisensory, and multimodal repertoires in corner shops, streets, and markets’ edited by Zhu Hua, Emi Otsuj, and Alastair Pennycook.
  • Lou Jia Jackie. (2017). Shop sign as monument: the discourse trajectories of a neon sign in Hong Kong. Linguistic Landscapes: An International Journal.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie and Adam Jaworski. (2016). Itineraries of protest signage: Semiotic landscape and the mythologizing of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement. Journal of Language and Politics 15: 5. 612 - 645.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2012. Chinatown in Washington, DC: The bilingual landscape. World Englishes.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2012. Staging future event in history: The narrative shaping of Shanghai Expo 2010. Journal of Language and Linguistics, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2010. Chinatown transformed: Ideology, power, and resources in narrative place-making. Discourse Studies 12 (5): 1-23.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2010. How to do discourse analysis: Reflection on Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet, eVox: Georgetown Working Papers in Language, Discourse, and Society 4 (1), 50-52.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie and Stockburger, Inge. 2010. Dear Ron: Conversations with a Scholar, Teacher, Mentor and Friend, eVox: Georgetown Working Papers in Language, Discourse, and Society 4(1), 3-5.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2007. Revitalizing Chinatown into a heterotopia: A geosemiotic analysis of shop signs in Washington, DC’s Chinatown. Space and Culture 10 (2), 170-194.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2007. The implication of technology for language policy and practice: A case study of Pinyin Romanization in China. eVox: Georgetown Working Papers in Language, Discourse, & Society 1 (1), 16-30.
  • Book Chapters
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. (2017). Linguistic landscape and ethnographic fieldwork. In Christine Mallinson, Becky Childs, and Gerard Van Herk (eds) Data Collection in Sociolinguistics: Methods and Applications (2nd edition). London: Routledge.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2014. Locating the power of place in space: A geosemiotic approach to context. In John Flowerdew (ed) Discourse(s) in Context(s). London: Bloomsbury, pp. 205-223.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2014. The other side of the postcard: Navigating linguistics landscapes in Hong Kong. In Janel Curry and Paul Hanstedt (eds) Reading Hong Kong, Reading Ourselves. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2013. Representing and reconstructing Chinatown: A social semiotic analysis of place names in urban planning policies of Washington, DC. In Celine-Marie Pascale (ed) Inequality and the Politics of Representation: A Global Landscape. London: Sage.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2010. Chinese on the side: The marginalization of Chinese in the linguistic and social landscapes of Chinatown in Washington, DC. In Elana Shohamy, Monica
  • Barni, and Eliezer Ben-Rafael (eds) Linguistic Landscape in the City. Bristol, Buffalo, and Toronto: Multilingual Matters, pp. 96-114.
  • Book Reviews
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2016. Review of Jan Blommaert Ethnography, Superdiversity, and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of Complexity. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2013, 114 pp, for the journal Language in Society.
  • Lou, Jia Jackie. 2014. Review of Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow (eds) Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space. London and New York: Continuum, 2010, 321 pp, for the journal Pragmatics & Society.