“50 Years of Pride”: English in Cologne’s Pride Parade
This presentation investigates transient public textuality of the 2019 pride parade in Cologne, addressing the intersection between queer studies and linguistic landscape (LL) research of mass-scale events (Seals 2015, Shiri 2015). The parade’s motto 50 Years of Pride. Viele. Gemeinsam. Stark! ‘Many. Together. Strong!’ creates a bilingual connection between contemporary conflicts of queer people in Germany and pride’s origin in the Stonewall riots.
Besides the motto, further English signs heavily contribute to the LL. An analysis of a corpus of 792 photos complemented by two interviews with key stakeholders revealed three main insights into participants’ language use explaining the prominence of English signs: Firstly, practical concerns favored English signs over German due to its brevity and function as a lingua franca. Secondly, English signs position participants within the (English-speaking)
international queer community and facilitate broader and more radical demands. Thirdly, the ample occurrence of English signs points to the lack of German queer vocabulary, resulting in what Minning (2004) termed “Lavender German”: the use of English vocabulary in otherwise German contexts to fill lexical gaps and construct a queer identity. This need of adopting expressions from Anglophone culture hints at a larger lack of representation of queer figures in German cultural contexts.