Downtown Oaxaca

Oaxaca City, Photo by Roman Lopez on Unsplash

During the holidays, I will be visiting the city of Oaxaca de Juárez. In addition to visiting touristic places close to the city such as Hierve el Agua, El Árbol del Tule and the archeological sites of Monte Albán and Mitla, I also plan to systematically document the linguistic landscape of downtown Oaxaca. This is a project that I am most eager to start because one way of understanding the essence of a city is through the linguistic signs displayed on its public domain. Oaxaca City is a place where several cultures interact and this diversity is present in a mirad of cultural artifacts, including the presence of English.

Languages in the state of Oaxaca by SIL International [1]

A previous research paper by Sayer [2] analyzed the potential of harnessing linguistic landscape methodology. In his analysis of the uses of English in public displays around Oaxaca City, he discovered six different ways in which people in Oaxaca City used English to convey messages related to:

  • Advance and sophistication
  • Fashion
  • Being cool
  • Sex(y)(ness)
  • Expressions of love
  • Expressing subversive identities

According to my quick search on Google Maps, downtown Oaxaca has an extension of approximately 1.6 by 1.4 kms (around 1 x 0.9 miles), and it is comprised by some 180 blocks (15 x 12) for a total length of 24 kms. I am pretty sure that if I walk 5 kilometers per day, I will be able to document the whole downtown area in five days time. However, I need to remember to save some energy for all of the things I want to do in Oaxaca. Here is a small list of places one can visit around the city:

  • Andador Macedonio Alcalá
  • Ex Convento Betlemitas
  • Ex Convento de la Soledad
  • Iglesia de San Agustín
  • Iglesia del Carmen Bajo
  • Instituto de Artes Gráficas
  • Jardín Antonia Labastida
  • Jardín Sócrates
  • Mercado 20 de Noviembre
  • Mercado Benito Juárez
  • Mercado de Artesanías
  • Museo Casa Juárez
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca
  • Museo Regional de Oaxaca
  • Museo Rufino Tamayo
  • Palacio de Gobierno
  • Paseo Juárez
  • Plaza de la Danza
  • Plazuela del Carmen Alto
  • Teatro Macedonio
  • … and so on and so on..

In fact, I found a rather nice guide from Culture Trip on what to do in Oaxaca City which points out several cultural events, foods and places to visit. I fully recommend it if you are interested in the culture of Oaxaca, although I will write a comprehensive guide of my travel to the city later on in January.

The petrified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca, MX. Photo by analuisa gamboa on Unsplash

Resources

References

  • [1] Eberhard, David M., Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2019. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Twenty-second edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.ezproxy2.library.arizona.edu.
  • [2] Sayer, P. (2009). Using the linguistic landscape as a pedagogical resource. ELT journal64(2), 143-154.