Landscape as a Language Without Words

Reference work entry


From the perspective of everyday experience, landscape is like a sign language that has to be constantly deciphered merely to find our way around. But the usual idea of landscape is that it is a backdrop to life that can be regarded or analyzed with detachment, and it is from this perspective that it has been argued that landscape can be read like a book that provides clues to history and culture. This chapter considers the idea that landscape is language and reviews suggestions by geographers and others about ways to read landscape and to understand its grammar. The idea of landscape has coincided with the so-called mechanical age of print and rationalism that has prevailed for four centuries which is now being displaced by electronic communications and social media that favor feeling and participation over contemplation and careful reading. A consequence of this displacement is that the language of landscape is shifting from something that was once reasonably coherent and decipherable to something that is increasingly heterotopic and constantly changing and requires new ways of understanding.


Landscape Language Reading Grammar Electronic media 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoONCanada

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