With the latest update, we have introduced an advanced annotation mode for uploaded photos to allow in-depth analyses of signs within the context of specialized sub-projects.

Annotation categories are partly based on established taxonomies from linguistic landscapes literature (see here for a list of pertinent publications) and partly new developments in response to the research interests of our project partners.

All taxonomies and individual categories can be activated manually in the administration menu for individual projects as described in the tutorial. New categories or taxonomies can be added upon request.

Currently, the platform supports the following taxonomies and categories for annotation:

Composition | DirectednessDiscourse | Distribution | Dominance | DynamicsForm | IntegrityLayering | LingualityMaterial | ModeModification | Name | Placement | Script | Size | Status | State | Supplement | TemporalityVariety


Description: allows you to capture the different kinds of content to be included in signs (text, images, symbols) in different combinations. The category “symbol” covers all visual elements that are neither texts nor classical images

  • image
  • image-symbol
  • image-symbol-text
  • image-text
  • symbol
  • symbol-text
  • text


Description: relates to the authorship for a sign, distinguishing between “official” (institutional or administrative) and “private” (basically everything else) authors; the category private subsumes a such disparate groups like companies or private persons. Plus, the scope of the distinction in linguistic landscapes literature varies between different researchers

  • bottom-up (private authors, including commercial communication)
  • top-down (institutional and/or administrative authors)


Description: indicates different socio-pragmatic domains of language use also referred to as “discourses”, e.g., artistic expression, signs of protest, public regulation, or information boards

  • artistic (e.g., graffiti and street art)
  • commemmorative (e.g., memorial plaques or inscriptions)
  • commercial (e.g., advertising and shop signage)
  • expressive (e.g., statements in relation to societal, cultural, or private facts)
  • folklore (e.g., signs thematizing traditions common to a particular culture, subculture or group, such as tales, myths, legends, poems, or jokes)
  • informatory (e.g., information about public events, such as holidays or elections)
  • infrastructural (e.g., information about public infrastructure, such as street signs or instructions on trashcans)
  • political (e.g., statements by political parties or private protest)
  • private (e.g., private messages in an apartment complex)
  • regulatory (e.g., information about the regulation of behavior in the public, such as prohibiton signs)
  • religious (e.g., signs referencing a specific religion, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism)
  • subcultural (e.g., signs addressing a specific subculture, such as Hip Hop or skating)
  • technical (e.g., signs indicating machinery or other technical infrastructure)
  • other


Description: describes the pragmatic organization of multilingualism on a a sign, i.e., the way information is distributed or translated in different languages (adapted and expanded from Reh 2004)

  • alternating (a message is presented in different alternating languages, e.g., instances of code-switching on word level)
  • complementary (parts of the sign content are presented in different languages without overlapping information)
  • duplicating (complete translation of a message in another language)
  • fragmentary (multilingual texts in which the full information is given only in one language, selected parts have been translated into another language)
  • mixing (a message is presented in different blended languages, e.g., “mish-mash” words that contain elements from different languages)
  • overlapping (part of a message is repeated in at least one more language, other parts of the text are in one language only)

Note: This taxonomy was formerly called “Translation”.


Description: indicates different forms of hierarchies in signs established by their visual, material or semiotic makeup

  • background
  • color
  • material
  • positioning
  • quantity
  • size
  • typeface
  • other


Description: captures the difference between aspects related to the durability and dynamics of signs; this can be related to either their placement (fixed vs. mobile) or their content (dynamic, interactive, static)

  • dynamic: signs with animated or otherwise dynamic content, e.g., advertisement boards or LED screens
  • fixed: a fixed sign that cannot be roved or removed without applying force
  • interactive: signs with dynamic content that changes upon interaction, e.g., ticket machines or info touch screens
  • mobile: a sign that is not fixed to an element in the linguistic landscape and can be easily moved
  • static: a sign that has no dynamic or interactive content


Description: describes the appearance or “type” of sign

  • display panel
  • graffiti
  • information sign
  • mural
  • neon sign
  • note
  • object (non-sign)
  • plaque
  • poster
  • stand
  • sticker
  • street sign
  • window
  • writing
  • other


Description: captures the material state of a sign, i.e., what is left or readable of the sign and content

  • complete
  • extended
  • leftovers
  • partially covered
  • partially removed
  • superimposed


Description: many signs show complex compositions of different elements, e.g., stickers on a street sign, code-switching, or old signs that are still visible underneath newer ones

  • conflictive (e.g., signs that show altering reactions to the original content, such as crossing or destruction)
  • cultural (e.g., signs that show evidence of cultural interference in translation, such as “wrong” English text on Chinese or Indian advertisements)
  • dialogic (e.g., signs that have the form of “visible dialogs” including comments, stickers or strikethrough)
  • historic (e.g., old signs that are still visible underneath newer ones)
  • linguistic (e.g., mixing of languages in signs, such as use of borrowings or code-switching)
  • material (e.g., different stickers on top of a street sign)
  • other


Description: captures different constellations of languages in signs

  • monolingual
  • bilingual
  • trilingual
  • quadrilingual
  • multilingual
  • translingual


Description: describes the material the sign is made of

  • cardboard
  • chalk
  • fabric
  • flowers
  • glass
  • ink
  • metal
  • paint
  • paper
  • plastic
  • wood
  • other


Description: describes the production mode of a sign, i.e., the way it was “written”

  • carved
  • chiseled
  • embossed
  • enamaled
  • engraved
  • handwritten
  • photocopied
  • printed
  • scratched
  • sprayed
  • other


Description: indicates different forms of (mostly transgressive) alterations of signs, e.g., as part of dialogs or when an authority obliterates a graffiti on a public wall

  • clarification (e.g., explanatory or supplementary information, such as changed date of an event)
  • comment (e.g., direct reaction to a message, such as criticism or insult)
  • correction (e.g., improvement or correction of a message, such as misspellings
  • covering (e.g., paint over a message with color)
  • destruction (e.g., tearing off a poster from a wall)
  • extension (e.g., continuation of a message, often with change of meaning)
  • overwriting (e.g., partly or completely writing over a message with change of meaning)
  • removal (e.g., complete removed signs that are still visible as leftovers)
  • strikethrough (e.g., change or obliterate a message by strikethrough)
  • other


Description: used for different kinds of actors that appear in signs, be they authors or audience

  • artist
  • authority
  • business
  • club
  • event
  • festival
  • hospitality
  • institution
  • person
  • place
  • political agent
  • religious agent
  • other


Description: allows you to describe the spatial position of signs on or related to other objects

  • advertising pillar
  • (flower) bed
  • bench
  • bike stand
  • board
  • ceiling
  • chimney
  • display
  • door
  • drainage pipe
  • fence
  • fountain
  • furniture
  • gangway
  • garbage bin
  • gate
  • gutter
  • hut
  • lamp post
  • memorial
  • pavement
  • person
  • plaque
  • post
  • poster
  • public transport stop
  • railing
  • road
  • roof
  • screen
  • sign
  • sky
  • stairs
  • telephone booth
  • toilet
  • traffic light
  • tree
  • vehicle
  • vending machine
  • ventilation shaft
  • wall
  • window
  • other


Description: indicates the writing system or alphabet used on a sign. You can find a good overview map of the world’s major writing systems here

  • arabic
  • armenian
  • batak
  • bengali (Bangla)
  • berber (Tifinagh)
  • burmese
  • cherokee
  • chinese
  • cyrillic
  • devanagari
  • ethiopic (Ge’ez)
  • hebrew
  • georgian
  • glagolitic
  • greek
  • gujarati
  • gumurkhi
  • japanese
  • javanese (Carakan)
  • kannada
  • khmer
  • korean (Hangul)
  • lao
  • latin
  • lontara
  • malayalam
  • mongolian
  • oriya (Odia)
  • sinhala
  • syllabics (Canadian Aboriginal)
  • tamil
  • telugu
  • thaana
  • thai
  • tibetan
  • uyghur
  • yi
  • other


Description: indicates the sign size based on the Din A system

  •   ≤ A6
  • A6 – A5
  • A5 – A4
  • A4 – A3
  • A3 – 1m²
  • 1m² – 4m²
  • 4m² – 10m²
  • > 10m²


Description: describes the operational state of a sign, i.e., if it is still in use, outdated or gone

  • ghost (remnants of signs that have been removed)
  • operative (an active sign with an actual use or purpose)
  • retired (a sign that is still present in the landscape but has lost its purpose, actuality or use)
  • vanished (a sign that was present in the landscape at some point but has now been removed or been replaced)
  • other


Description: describes the authority attributed to a sign in regard of the issuing author, i.e., public authorities

  • authorized (issued by institutions or local authorities; also applies to owners of private space)
  • recognized (signs that were initially transgressive but become “officialized” by an authority (e.g., street art by Banksy)
  • transgressive (unauthorized signage for which the author has no permission by the authorities)


Description: allows the annotation of complementary or contextual material, e.g., historical photos or archivals, to add another layer of analytical depth to the corpus; note that supplements need geographical coordinates just as regular photos

  • archival
  • historiccal photo
  • post card


Description: captures aspect of sign placement related to temporal aspects (cf. Blommaert 2013)

  • ephemeral: signs that show up in a linguistic landscape for a very short time, e.g., advertisement on a passing van or letter-shaped reflections of sunlight in windows
  • event-related: signs that are operative/valid for a limited amount of time, indicating temporary discounts for products or a change in address, e.g., temporary shop signs , for-rent or for-sale signs, smaller announcements displayed publicly
  • noise: signs that end up in a given linguistic landscape by accident or for a very short period of time, e.g., packaging waste or readable objects left by passersby
  • permanent: signs that are operative/valid permanently, e.g., road signs, shop signs, permanent publicity signs, landmarks, graffiti
  • other


Description: offers the possibility to distinguish between different varieties of a language, e.g., standard vs. non-standard or different levels of regional binding

  • historic
  • local
  • national
  • non-standard
  • regional
  • standard
  • unclear
  • other