Drittes Symposion zur Ikonizität in Sprache und Literatur
Third Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature
29-31 March 2001 Jena
We should like to announce the third international and interdisciplinary symposium on iconicity in language and literature, which will be hosted by the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (Eastern Germany). The aim of this conference is to provide evidence for the pervasive presence of iconicity (i.e. form miming meaning) in language and literature. The symposium is a follow-up to the ones held in Zurich (1997) and Amsterdam (1999). Plenary speakers of the Jena symposium will include Sylvia Adamson (Manchester), Dines Johansen (Odense), and Wilhelm Pötters (Würzburg). Should you like to know more about what we understand by iconicity (we use the term primarily in a semiotic, Peircean sense), you may consult our homepage:
or the "Introduction" to Form Miming Meaning. Iconicity in Language and Literature, eds Max Nänny and Olga Fischer (Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1999. xv-xxxvi.This volume contains a selection of papers given at the Zurich conference, the Amsterdam papers will be published soon).
Call for Papers
Focusing on the Germanic and Romance languages, papers are expected to present detailed case studies of iconically used linguistic forms at all levels of language (sound, rhythm, vocabulary, syntax, narrative and poetic form), and in all varieties of language use (literary texts, historical texts, pidgins and creoles, advertising, children’s language, etc.).The form of iconicity may range from the more 'imagic' or concrete to the more abstract or diagrammatic.
We welcome proposals addressing any of these issues. Abstracts of no more than 500 words together with a brief c.v. should be sent (preferably by e-mail) to one of the addresses below before
1 November 2000
Prof. Wolfgang G. Müller, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik,
Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Ernst Abbe Platz 8, D-07743 Jena, Germany phone: +49-3641944510/44511; fax: +49-3641944512
Prof. Olga Fischer, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Olga. Fischer@hum.uva.nl; fax: +31-20-5253052
Prof. Max Nänny, Universität Zürich
firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: +41-1-6344908
Those interested in offering a paper concerning the Romance Languages should contact
Dr. Jill Albada Jelgersma
email@example.com; fax: +1-916-9333105
If you are interested in attending the conference, return this slip as soon as possible to:
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang G. Müller, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8, D-07743 Jena, Germany
Title (Prof., Dr., Mr., Ms):
[ ] Tick this box if you are interested in presenting a paper.
WEDNESDAY, 28 MARCH
17.00-19.30 Registration: University, Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3, HS 7
19.30 Conference Warming: Restaurant Rotonda, Steigenberger Esplanade Hotel
THURSDAY, 29 MARCH
Chair: Andreas Fischer
09.20-10.00 Richard Anderson: "'I did not have sexual relations with that woman <pause, gaze averted> Ms. Lewinsky': The Iconicity of Democratic Political Speech in English"
10.00-10.40 Piotr Sadowski: "From Signal to Symbol: Towards a Systems Typology of Linguistic Signs"
Chair: Richard Anderson
11.10-11.50 Rudolf Reinelt: "Social Iconicity in the Writing System: Speech Action Expression (SAX) Indicating Characters with SAY in Chinese as Social Icons?"
Chair: Bernhard Scholz
09.20-10.00 Masako K. Hiraga: "How Metaphor and Iconicity Are Entwined in Poetry: A Case in Haiku"
10.00-10.40 William J. Herlofsky: "WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Image, Diagram and Metaphor in the Visual Iconicity of Written and Signed Poetry: A Cognitive Poetic Approach"
Chair: Wolfgang G. Müller
11.10-11.50 Jürgen Schlaeger: "Nonsense or Nuisance: Iconicity in Lewis Carroll and Gertrude Stein"
Chair: Olga Fischer
11.50-12.50 Plenary Sylvia Adamson: "Styles of Metamorphosis: Language Change and Literary Representation"
Chair: Andreas Fischer
14.20-15.00 Jacques van der Elst: "Visual Images in Africaans Poems"
15.00-15.40 C. J. Conradie: "The Role of Iconicity in the Development of Afrikaans"Chair: Friedrich Ungerer
16.10-16.50 Keiko Masuda: "Two Experiments on Birdcalls and Their Linguistic Representations"
16.50-17.30 Erika Linz/ Klaudia Grote: "The Influence of Sign Language Iconicity on Semantic Conceptualization"
Chair: Olga Fischer
14.20-15.00 Günter Rohdenburg: "Grammatical Iconicity in English"
15.00-15.40 Elzbieta Tabakowska: "Iconicity as an Issue in Translation"
Chair: Max Nänny
16.10-16.50 Frederik Stjernfelt: "The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Ontology and Semantics of Espionage and the Spy Novel."
16.50-17.30 Andreas Ohme: "Iconic Representation of Space and Time in Vladimir Sorokin's Novel The Queue"
19.00 Reception: Senatssaal, Universitätshauptgebäude, Fürstengraben 1
FRIDAY, 30 MARCH
Chair: Max Nänny
09.00-10.00 Plenary Wilhelm Pötters: "Beatrice, or: The Geometry of Love"
Chair: Wolfgang G. Müller
10.00-10.40 William D. Melaney: "Material Signifiers: Iconicity from Lessing to Rilke"
Chair: Max Nänny
11.10-11.50 Jill E. Albada Jelgersma: "Iconicity by Degrees: From the Afro-Cuban Sones to the Son Poems of Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989)"
11.50-12.30 Costantino Maeder: "Argumentative and Iconic Strategies in Italian Poetry: Notes for a Dynamic Approach to Iconicity"
Chair: Elzbieta Tabakowska
14.00-14.40 Martina Lampert: "Toward Constraining Similarity: Psychological-essentialist Heuristics and Iconicity."
14.40-15.20 Günther Lampert: "Iconic to What? Or: How Do We Obtain Knowledge of Complex Linguistic Categories?"
Chair: Wolfgang G. Müller
15.50-16.30 Bernhard F. Scholz: "Conceptualizing Iconicity: The Figure Poem in Early Modern Poetics"
16.30-17.10 Matthias Bauer: "Theory and the Effective Word: Dylan Thomas's 'Vision and Prayer'"
Chair: Horst W. Drescher
10.00-10.40 Christina Ljungberg: "Diagrams in Narrative: Visual Strategies in Contemporary Fiction"
Chair: Christina Ljungberg
11.10-11.50 Bernd Klähn: "Secret Integrations: Iconic Integrals as Basic Modes of Narrative Construction in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow"
11.50-12.30 Julian Hillyer Moyle: "Socialising the Iconic Image: Peter Reading's 'Entropicon'"
14.40-15.20 Andreas Fischer: "'Words, words, words': Epizeuxis in Shakespeare"
Chair: Günther Lampert
15.50-16.30 Friedrich Ungerer: "Iconic Principles and Iconic Text Strategies: The Path, Sorting and Weighting Strategies in Selected Non-fictional Genres"
16.30-17.10 Beate Hampe/ Doris Schönefeld: "Creative Syntax: Iconic Principles within the Symbolic"
SATURDAY, 31 MARCH
Chair: Wolfgang G. Müller
9.40-10.20 Werner Wolf: "Iconicity and Intermediality in Literature: Tema con variazioni."
Chair: Jacques van der Elst
10.50-11.30 John J. White: "A Semiotic Approach to Perspective in Experimental Shaped Poetry"
Chair: Olga Fischer
9.00-9.40 Axel Hübler: "Spatial Iconicity in Two English Verb Classes"
9.40-10.20 Volker Harm: "Diagrammatic Iconicity in the Lexicon: Base and Derivation in the History of German Word-formation"
Chair: C. J. Conradie
10.50-11.30 Ming-Qian Ma: "Form M(a)iming Meaning: Iconizing Iconicity and the Poetics of Informatics in Christian Bok's 'Crystallography'"
Chair: John J. White
11.30-12.30 Plenary Jørgen Dines Johansen: "Iconizing the Text: A Peircean Approach to Reading"
12.30-13.00 Concluding Meeting
14.00-18.30 Trip to Naumburg Cathedral, followed by:
19.30 Farewell Dinner: Hotel Schwarzer Bär
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang G. Müller (local organiser)
Prof. Dr. Olga Fischer
Prof. Dr. Max Nänny
Abstracts of Papers
Sylvia Adamson, Manchester
Styles of Metamorphosis: Language Change and Literary Representation
Metamorphosis is a major topos in Renaissance literature and again in the work of early twentieth century modernists and in both cases it is used to thematise the issue of form-meaning correspondences. Yet when literary critics cite enactments of metamorphosis in the two periods they locate it in quite different forms of language. This paper considers these differences and their consequences for a theory of iconicity. The following positions will be evaluated:
— that enactment is in the eye of the beholder: the desire for a form-meaning correspondence will always create what it seeks so that the notion of literary iconicity is, strictly speaking, vacuous;
— that iconic representations in literature are relative and conventional rather than natural and have their ‘value’ (in a Saussurean sense) relative to a particular état de langue. From this perspective, differences in the representation of metamorphosis are conditioned by grammatical changes between Early Modern and Modern English;
— that both the grammatical changes in English and the differences in the way metamorphosis is represented in literature are themselves (iconic?) outcomes of cultural and ideological change.
Richard Anderson, Los Angeles
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman <pause, gaze averted> Ms. Lewinsky": The Iconicity of Democratic Political Speech in English
What can iconicity accomplish in the political language of democracies? An answer to this question depends on what one thinks political speech acts accomplish in democracies. One standard approach argues that politicians’ utterances inform voters about the politicians’ issue positions. Were this argument true, if political language were iconic, its form would differ from one politician to another just as their policies differ. An alternative approach sees the purpose of political language in democracy as persuading voters that they face choices. Political discourse in English-speaking (and other) democracies relies on the metaphor of "right" and "left" to distinguish between political parties and candidates. "Right" and "left" are "hands," and "on the one hand…, on the other hand," is a common metaphor for choice. The metaphor of hands is reinforced by such metaphors as "taking sides" and "aligning." If the meaning of political language is a contrast between sides, form would mime meaning if syntax arranged choices at opposite ends of sentences or presented choices in sentences divided into contrasting halves, with one half representing one party and the other its opponents. In such a horizontal layout, the iconicity of political language would also replicate diagrams commonly drawn by political scientists attempting to conceptualize democratic politics. I analyze Bill Clinton’s famous lie and place it in the context of selected utterances by other US politicians to show that the iconicity of contrast is at least common to both main political parties.
Matthias Bauer, Saarbrücken
Theory and the Effective Word: Dylan Thomas’s "Vision and Prayer"
"Vision and Prayer" seems to be Dylan Thomas’s most obviously iconic poem (or sequence of poems), especially since the rhomboid and triangular arrangement of its lines links it with the tradition of pattern poetry, which provides classic examples of iconic writing. But whereas, in that tradition, form usually serves to mime subject matter quite clearly (a wing-shaped poem deals with the subject of flight), attempts to discover any such straightforward, functional relationship in Thomas’s poem will soon be frustrated. This perceptual irritation will be the starting point for an investigation into the more latent forms of iconic representation in "Vision and Prayer" and, at the same time, into relevant theoretical issues: for theory itself (in its original meaning of ‘view’ or ‘contemplation’) is addressed by Thomas’s poem — together with practice, in the creative act of speaking. In this context iconicity will be recognized as an integral part of Thomas’s poetics.
C. Jac Conradie, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
The Role of Iconicity in the Development of Afrikaans
In this paper I intend to sketch a language-specific profile of the place of iconicity in the grammar and lexicon of Afrikaans, with special emphasis on the formative role played by iconicity in the grammatical development of the language since its inception in 17th century Dutch, as well as on instances of a loss of iconicity.
As far as the lexicon is concerned, many examples of onomatopoeia have been attested, e.g. the flower name tjienkerientjee
, after the sound caused by the stems rubbed together by the wind. Isomorphism was promoted by many instances of analogy, such as the singular vs the plural of ‘egg’: eier—eiers
). On the other hand, a regular singular—plural relation was in many cases jeopardised by sound changes such as final [t] deletion (cf. nag—nagte
, vs Du. nacht—nachten
) and intervocalic loss of [x] (cf. dag—dae
, vs Du. dag—dagen
Afrikaans is isomorphically productive as far as agglutinative derivation is concerned, cf. an attested form such as gereggerigheidjies
‘a meal consisting of smaller dishes but amounting to a dinner’, from gereg
‘dish’ + -erig
‘-like’ + -heid
SUBST. + -jie
DIM. + -s
PL. Another area of potential iconicity, is reduplication - presumably derived from Malay via the slaves at the Cape. Examples are nou-nou
‘while singing’, klompies-klompies
‘in little groups’, aan-aan
‘on-on’, a children’s touch game (reduplication being generally productive to name any children’s game according to an object handled repeatedly, e.g. klip-klip
Syntactic iconicity has played an important part in the formation of Afrikaans grammar. The following instances may be considered: (a) The substitution of auxiliary het
‘have’ for is
‘is’ (i.e. the verb to be
) in mutative verbs has created a more symmetrical active—passive relationship by decreasing the functional load of is
. (b) The virtual disappearance of the synthetic preterite and the regularisation of the past participle, e.g. gebreek
‘broken’ (Du. gebroken
) for the verb breek
‘break’, resulted in the disappearance of virtually all morphological irregularity in the verb system and the possibility of deriving the perfect tense with reference only to syntactic and phonological procedures. (c) The preterite is restricted to little more than was
‘was’ and modal verbs such as sou
‘had to’, kon
‘could’ and wou
‘wanted to’. As an instance of Lass’s "exaptation", these are strung together in a kind of verbal agreement, e.g. sou moes kon gesien het
‘would have been able to see’ (irrealis) and employed to create a past infinitive parallel to the present tense, e.g. moet/moes sien
‘must/had to see’: om te moet/moes sien:
‘to have to/have had to see’. (d) The genitive particle se
, roughly equivalent to English ‘s/s’
in function, which has developed in the noun phrase, may be shown to iconically represent basic SVO structure. (e) Certain dependent clauses are losing their distinctive syntactic characteristics in becoming more iconic of main clauses, e.g. Ek weet nie hoe gaan ons die probleem oplos nie
(instead of: … hoe ons die probleem gaan oplos nie
) ‘I don’t know how we are going to solve the problem’, resembling the question: Hoe gaan ons die probleem oplos?
- The reverse of the medal, however, is that the Afr. verb system has also developed certain asymmetries which constitute a departure from syntactic iconicity.
Jacques van der Elst, Potchefstroom
Visual Images in Afrikaans Poems
Acting on the basic premise that Afrikaans is a Germanic language I intend to discuss some poems in Afrikaans in conjunction with visual images. To begin, I want to deal with an important poem by the eminent Afrikaans poet, Dirk J. Opperman, entitled "Tygerberg" (the name of a hospital near Cape Town). In the course of the lecture I’ll "show" texts and make translations available.
The narrator in the poem is the patient who describes, by way of indexical signs (arrows), the process he is undergoing and he predicts his own death. The arrows point the way to the inevitable conclusion. Thus the visual images of the poem also represent the chemical process of decay, the unavoidable result of which is death. There is also the dominant image of a patient in a hospital bed connected to numerous life-preserving tubes. This process is not only underlined by the visual images (arrows) but complemented by specific syntactical devices and poetic structure.
In connection with the analysis of "visualities" in Opperman’s poem I would like to refer to graphemes as defined by Crystal (1987) in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press). Graphemes are, to his mind, "the smallest units in a writing system capable of causing a contract in meaning" (Crystal, 1987:194). The smallest grapheme can in fact be a punctuation mark or a letter (in different forms). This may be a capital letter or a letter printed normally or in bold. These belong to, as Crystal defines it, a phonological system which is differentiated from a non-phonological system of graphemes (Crystal, 1987:197). In a phonological system one finds visual signs that refer to sound and are understood by way of convention. In non-phonological systems the relationship is not necessarily between the sign and sound but mostly between sign and reality. In works of art like poems there are no water-tight partitions between phonological and non-phonological systems. Non-phonological signs may, in fact, "intrude" in phonological systems or vice versa.
Crystal signalises a pictogram, an ideogram, a hieroglyph and a logogram. One could then add mathematical signs to this list (as shown in the Opperman poem). In a poem by Joan Hambidge, "The man whose pharynx was bad", she uses a stick figure as a pictogram with widespread arms (desperation) to replace the i in the word children. This is a poem telling of despair at the thought of children in prisons under a former political system in South Africa when words seemed to be of no use and poetry redundant. In an ideogram Crystal recognizes a much more sophisticated sign, as is the case in the pictogram. The symbolic value carried by this specific sign is much more profound and has more layers, as can be seen in a poem by Johan van Wyk entitled "Jy is in die Kaap" ("You are in the Cape") which is actually a love poem. The poet tries to put a face to a beloved who is always vanishing through images, swimming in the surf, pictured on a photo, a doll, caught in a sharknet and then suddenly as the familiar sign on a women’s toilet. Though this pictogram, there is also a reference within the context of the poem to other entities, for instance the always absent beloved. In the same way I would like to discuss the hieroglyph in several forms and refer again to the logogram as pictured in the poem of Opperman.
Andreas Fischer, Zürich
"Words, words, words": Epizeuxis in Shakespeare
There are several figures of speech which have great iconic potential: epizeuxis and anaphora, for example, work on the principle of (repeated) sameness, while chiasmus is a figure of contrast (through inversion) that may be used to express an antithesis or reversal or, quite differently, as a centering device for purposes of framing. The topic of this paper will be epizeuxis, the immediate repetition of an expression or word (x, x, x). A cursory look at some examples shows that it can be used to express, iconically, a variety of effects ranging from strong emphasis (Lear’s "kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill") to laconic dismissal (Hamlet’s "words, words, words"), to name only two prominent examples.
The paper will be based on a complete collection of cases of epizeuxis in a number of plays by Shakespeare. This limited, but at the same time comprehensive database will make it possible to ask a number of potentially interesting questions: How frequently does epizeuxis occur in different plays? Who makes use of it? And, most importantly, for what ends is it used and how is its iconic potential exploited?
The paper will probably concentrate on epizeuxis only, but related figures of repetition and listing (anaphora, polysyndeton etc.) may be taken into consideration as well.
Beate Hampe / Doris Schönefeld, Jena
Creative Syntax: Iconic Principles Within the Symbolic
As has been emphasized at the preceding conferences on iconicity, it is mainly iconic principles that enable language users to cross the borders of the syntactically admissible in creative ways in order to satisfy their expressive/communicative needs.
Constructions of the type He risked his salary on a horse
or He slipped me an envelope
exhibit what has been called ‘analogical syntax’ (Lamb 1991) and ‘derivative syntax’ (Fillmore & Atkins 1992) and make it particularly obvious that there are also iconic processes at work at the symbolic/arbitrary end of the iconic — abstract axis.
Though — with regard to schematic iconicity — it has been acknowledged before that ‘even the symbolic is to some extent iconic’ (Fischer 1999, 346), the structures we focus on are special in that they iconically refer to other symbolic structures, rather than to properties of the referential content, as in such classical examples as Veni, vidi, vici
, or I caused the chicken to die
vs. I killed the chicken
Regarding the phenomenon of derivative syntax, we claim that there is iconicity on even two levels:
Firstly, the mixed syntactic form calls up a syntactic structure unrelated to its verb and secondly, this form is also an iconic indication of the integrated conceptualization behind it.
Apart from discussing a range of authentic examples in the light of these claims, we will furthermore address some of the following questions (time and weather permitting):
Is this type of "syntactic creativity" in any way limited or constrained, especially with regard to matters of comprehension?
Do particular types of constructions lend themselves more easily to the process than others?
Does the process lead to the ‘enrichment’ of the structural inventory of a language?
Does the markedness of such constructions point to special (discourse) functions?
Fillmore, Charles & Beryl Atkins, 1992, Towards a frame-based lexicon: The semantics of RISK and its neighbors, In: Lehrer, Adrienne & Eva F. Kittay (eds.), Frames, Fields and Concepts, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 75-102
Fischer, Olga, 1999, On the role played by iconicity in grammaticalization processes, In: Nänny, Max & Olga Fischer, Form Miming Meaning. Iconicity in Language and Literature, Amsterdam: Benjamins
Lamb, Sydney, 1991, Syntax: Reality or illusion, In: LACUS-Forum 18, 179-185.
Volker Harm, Göttingen
Diagrammatic Iconicity in the Lexicon: Base and Derivation in the History of German Word-Formation
While it is more or less accepted among cognitive linguists that diagrammatic iconicity plays an important role in grammar and grammatical change, the iconicity of the lexicon itself and its relevance to lexical change is still in dispute. In this paper, however, I try to show that there exists a strong tendency towards iconic coding in a specific area of German word-formation, viz. in changes of the relationship between a verbal base and its derivations. Such a tendency will be exemplified by the history of German hören versus aufhören, gehören, erhören, verhören (and other examples). Whereas in Old High German the base hôren and its derivations are largely synonymous, the semasiological range of its New High German counterparts is significantly reduced. This loss of polysemy can be seen as expressing a tendency towards isomorphism, i.e. towards a one-to-one relationship between form and content. This is what is generally regarded as a kind of diagrammatic iconicity. As I will show, form-meaning-correspondences are not established randomly or accidentally in the course of this development. What emerges is that the older, non-prototypical meanings of hören (e.g. ‘stop’, ‘belong to’) tend to be attached to the derivational forms in New High German (aufhören, gehören, etc.), while the prototypical meaning, ‘hear’, becomes more and more restricted to the simple verb. This, it will be argued, can be interpreted as a tendency towards motivational iconicity.
William J. Herlofsky, Seto-shi
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Image, Diagram and Metaphor in the Visual Iconicity of Written and Signed Poetry: A Cognitive Poetic Approach
This paper attempts to illustrate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the cognitive linguistic/poetic framework for the analysis of iconicity (imagic, diagrammatic, and metaphoric) in visual language, especially the visual iconicity of written and signed poetry. Using Hiraga’s (1999, 2000) research on written poetry as a point of departure, the present paper extends Hiraga’s insights to the analysis of iconicity in the visual art of signed poetry, where iconicity is often both foregrounded and unmarked. Beginning with a short discussion of how metaphor facilitates the understanding of relatively abstract concepts in terms of more concrete conceptual schemata, the discussion then shifts to the cognitive linguistic notion of "mental spaces", and demonstrates how the concept of "blended" spaces helps to explain the combination and extension of "local" mental spaces first to "local" blends, and then to more "global" blended spaces in creating and interpreting metaphor and iconicity. This model is shown to be especially effective for the description of the processing of the multi-layered information involved in the complicated interplay between iconicity and metaphor in poetry. It is then illustrated how mental spaces can correspond to the physical and visible "signing spaces" of signed poetry, and how, as the local mental spaces combine into local blends and then expand into global blends in the production and interpretation of signed poetry, the corresponding signing spaces also combine and expand into extended signing spaces. The conclusions of the present paper are therefore threefold:
1) The cognitive poetic model proposed by Hiraga for the analysis of metaphor and iconicity in written poetry is also appropriate and effective for the analysis of visual iconicity in signed poetry.
2) In signed poetry as well as written poetry, local metaphor and iconicity become global as mental spaces combine and expand into blended spaces.
3) To a certain extent, the mental spaces and blended spaces posited in the cognitive linguistic framework become physical and visible in the expanded and blended signing spaces of signed poetry.
Masako K. Hiraga, Tokyo
How Metaphor and Iconicity Are Entwined in Poetry: A Case in Haiku
The major problem in the treatment of metaphor and iconicity in the past literature in semiotics and linguistics is that metaphor and iconicity have not been studied in a fully related manner within the same frame of reference. Although Peirce defined metaphor as a subtype of iconic signs along with image and diagram, metaphor has been treated quite separately from image and diagram in the major literature.
By contrast, this study emphasises the importance of treating both in the same framework because metaphor and iconicity are essentially entwined with each other as an analogical mapping. On the one hand, metaphor entails iconicity. Imagic and diagrammatic mapping of image-schematic structures resides in the creation and interpretation of meaning in metaphor. On the other hand, iconicity entails metaphor. The metaphors underlying the relationship of form and meaning navigate the diagrammatic interpretation of linguistic forms. Likewise, a metaphorical reading of the text reveals the iconic structure in the text. In brief, two types of the interplay between metaphor and iconicity are analysed and explained by the model of blending (Turner 1996, Fauconnier and Turner 1998, among others): (1) iconic moments residing in metaphor; and (2) metaphor giving iconic interpretation to form.
The study presents, as an illustrative and foregrounded manifestation of the interplay of metaphor and iconicity, a detailed analysis of haiku, Japanese poetry of 17-mora text form. With their brevity in form and richness in meaning, haiku are considered to offer an optimal example of how the human mind connects things with minimum linguistic resources but in a particularly subtle way. The analysis focuses on the following haiku text;
araumi ya Sado ni yokotau ama no gawa
rough sea: Sado in lie heaven of river
'Rough sea: lying toward Sado Island the River of Heaven'
The choice of this particular text was based on the three factors: (i) that it displays a metaphorical juxtaposition, in which two parts of the text are put in comparison and contribute to enriching the multi-layered meaning; (ii) that the well-documented revision of the text demonstrates that kanji (‘Chinese logographs’) play a cognitive role to strengthen the link between form and meaning in the finished text; and (iii) that representations of the text in Japanese Sign Language are available for further analysis (Herlofsky 2000).
The analysis shows (1) the poem’s grammatical and rhetorical structure, (2) local blends and recruitment of background knowledge, (3) global blend and emergent meaning, (4) iconicity of kanji as a cognitive medium, and (5) iconicity of the sound patterns. In my analysis, I hope to propose that metaphor and iconicity should be treated as an entwined process, and that the model of blending offers explanations of the dynamic creativity in the interplay of metaphor and iconicity.
Axel Hübler, Jena
Spatial Iconicity in Two English Verb Classes
I will focus on the semantics of two special groups of English verbs. These are: (a) the so-called ‘redundant’ phrasal verbs in which the particles mainly serve to highlight aspects already present in the semantics of the corresponding simple verbs and which can be replaced by the simple verbs in many contexts (to finish up/to finish), and (b) verbs that have been derived from spatial adverbial particles via conversion (to up).
What I am especially interested in is a kinesthetic component in their meanings, which I analyze as being related to kinesic (physical) events accompanying speech, i. e. gestures. These relations will be specified in terms of different modes of iconicity. In particular, I will consider the problem from the perspectives of both semiotics and neurolinguistics and hope to contribute to a fuller understanding of the notion ‘embodied language’ currently of central importance to the paradigm of cognitive linguistics.
Jill E. Albada Jelgersma, El Dorado Hills
Iconicity by Degrees: From the Afro-Cuban Sones to the Son Poems of Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989)
Iconicity, the liaison between sound-sense, form-meaning, and form-form, has been overlooked in critical analysis of the early, short poemas son [son poems] of the Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén. The original sones were dance-poems capturing the dynamic of Afro-Cuban cultural life in dance, music, and religious ritual. Handed down in the mnemonics of oral, rather than recorded, written lyrics (Ong, Orality and Literacy 33-4), they were usually accompanied by the guitar, and backed by the insistent rhythms of simple percussion instruments, especially the bongo drum. They are distinguished by the dialogic, often agonistic, format of the stanzas, mirroring that of orality (Ong 43-45): the motivo [motif or narrative section] and the coro [chorus or responsory section]. These simple, original sones display both imagic, and first degree diagrammatic iconicity, in miming the reality of cultural practices in an "outside" Afro-Cuban world.
On the other hand, Guillén’s modern son poems, written between 1930 and 1937, take the early son forms from the street to the page, re-working them in second degree iconicity. Form mimes form as the orality and onomatopoeia of the sones is mimed by the written, poetic text of the son poems. Form miming form follows the dialogic pattern here: in the motivo, the speech of the individual poetic voice appears in a pseudo-phonetic suggestive of a dynamic and emphatic illiteracy. This poetic voice is contested by the stanzas of the coro [chorus], in parallel units of broken rhythms, and alternating long and short lines of verse. Iconicity here approaches inter-textuality, in the Kristevian sense of a transposition from one sign-system (oral-auditory) to another (written-poetic) (see Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language 59-60).
However, Guillén’s transposition of the son form to his son poems is not merely an exercise of his poetic aesthetic and enterprise, as is often the case in the use of the sonnet or ode forms. Guillén’s son poems re-create the son form to add layers of ideological meaning. This meaning goes beyond the cultural dynamics of musicality and dance, to highlight and celebrate the vitality and resilience of a socially deprived Afro-Cuban community. While form miming form is the dominant second degree iconicity which characterizes these son poems, my paper suggests that this meaning is a function of the crucial blurring of the boundaries between degrees of iconicity.
Jørgen Dines Johansen, Odense
Iconizing the Text: A Peircean Approach to Reading
Within Peircean semiotics the iconic sign is divided into image, diagram, and metaphor. The first represents a qualitative similarity between sign and object, the second a diagrammatic or analogical, and the third a transference from one mode of representation to another, or from one semantic domain to another. The question I am raising is whether these distinctions can be made useful for an understanding of what is going on in reading literature. The hypothesis is that we may fruitfully distinguish between
2) diagrammatization, and
when it comes to iconizing the symbolic, i.e., the linguistic signs of the literary text. One question I will consider is whether it is still reasonable to claim that a linguistic semantics exists and plays an important role in interpretation. Another question is the function and usefulness of the interplay between these different ways of reading, and further I would like to suggest that the reason why poetic goodness cannot be predicted has to do with the threefold iconization of the text. Finally, I would like to discuss the difference between literary and visual metaphors because linguistic metaphors seem to allow mappings that have other, more radical consequences with regard to visually realized metaphors.
Bernd Klähn, Bochum
Secret Integrations: Iconic Integrals as Basic Modes of Narrative Construction in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow
Critics have regarded most of the physical theories and mathematical formulas in Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow as cryptic symbols, describing a disenchanted, demythologized cosmos, unhealed - even: unhinged - by scientific ways of worldmaking. Undertaking a detailed analysis of the central equations in Gravity’s Rainbow, this paper will try to line out hidden systematic correlations between different levels of iconic encoding in this novel - thus indicating that postmodernist allusiveness to modern sciences may easily transgress mere playfulness or eclectic compounding of misunderstood quotations from scientific textbooks.
Günther Lampert, Mainz
Iconic to what? Or: How Do We Obtain Knowledge of Complex Linguistic Categories?
This paper is committed to the view that the validity of structure-concept iconicity — language’s "ability to iconically reflect complex conceptual structures" (Newmeyer 1992) — crucially depends on whether it is possible to ground knowledge about linguistic concepts in a language-independent way. For if the structure of language alone should determine the structure of the concepts it is taken to instantiate, the notion of structure-concept iconicity would be rendered entirely vacuous.
Taking causation as a case in point, the paper will investigate whether the basic causative clause structure in languages like, say, English, reflects the complex concept of causation in terms of structure-concept iconicity. Facing the research situation, it turns out, however, that there are conflicting views on the prototypical linguistic realization of causation. In Cognitive Linguistics, which will be the relevant linguistic paradigm for this paper, these divergent views are represented by Lakoff’s agentive and Talmy’s two-event prototype (see Lakoff/Johnson 1999:177 and Talmy 2000:457). Unfortunately, the agentive conceptualization of causation (as reflected, e. g. in such paragon cases as The United States dragged its allies into a commitment to the Gulf War) is seen to be solely evidenced by the form causation takes in English clause structure. Any claims as to what degree causative clause structure might be iconic to conceptual structure will in this way be transformed into self-fulfilling hypotheses. In order to steer clear of such methodological pitfalls (inbuilt in many earlier Cognitive Linguistics accounts of language’s conceptual structuring), one might turn to other disciplines for help, especially since the research situation appears no more as desperate as Croft (1990:172) perceived it when he stated that "the functional linguist cannot turn to a large body of psychological evidence giving us theories of the cognition of events that are justified independently of language."
Assuming that it is vital to ask what concept of causation gets conceptualized in language structure, the paper ventures to propose that we can in fact observe a close iconic correlation between the formal representation of causation in language, the embodied concept of causation as it emerges in the pre-linguistic epigenetic mind of the infant (as revealed in several experimental studies by Alan Leslie and colleagues), and both the models of causation evident in naive world conceptions and in earlier scientific models. These findings should lend more credibility to those functional views on language for which the notion of structure-concept iconicity is an integral part.
Croft, William (1990), Typology and Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1999), Philosophy in the Flesh. New York: Basic Books. Newmeyer, Frederick J. (1992), "Iconicity and Generative Grammar". Language 68.4, 756-796.
Sperber, Dan/Premack, David/Premack, Ann James (eds.) (1995), Causal Cognition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Talmy, Leonard (2000), Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Volume 1: Concept Structuring Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Martina Lampert, Mainz
Toward Constraining Similarity: Psychological-Essentialist Heuristics and Iconicity
Iconicity, in linguistic terms, proves essentially an intuitive (and simplistic) concept, with "the structure of language reflect[ing] in some way the structure of experience, that is to say, the structure of the world, including (...) the perspective imposed on the world by the speaker" (CROFT 1990:164). Iconicity thus amounts to asserting a relation of similarity (alternatively: isomorphism, analogy, correspondence , etc.) between the formal domain and the semantic domain(s) of a linguistic structure (alternatively verbalized as: resemble, reflect, mirror, match, etc.); such an assertion necessarily entails an (essentially constructional) act of categorization, informed by individual presumptions that remain tacit most of the time. Since the categorization issue (reference to the actual or conceptual structure of the world) and the similarity issue (typically conceived as a perceivable surface quality, evoking the reference domain of psychology for a perceptual analysis) manifest as iconicity’s foundational concepts, a Cognitive Psychology framework is immediately called for.
Contrary to the linguistic tradition that confines the analysis of iconicity to introspective, hermeneutic discovery procedures, this paper ventures to present an alternative perspective, grounded in an interdisciplinary persuasion and essentially motivated by principles of inter-subjective viability and domain-external operationalization in view of psychologically realistic explanations. It offers some insight into a psychologically plausible conceptualisation of one of iconicity’s conceptual loci, drawing on arguments from recent Categorization Theory and Analogy Research.
As research on Similarity-based vs. Theory-based Learning has abundantly demonstrated, the number and/or the quality of matching features selected by an individual as relevant for (judgments of) similarity is significantly determined and/or constrained by this individual’s actual knowledge state and awareness conditions on a specific occasion. Converging evidence also reveals that simple Resemblance Theories cannot account for the complex interplay of context-dependence, goal-derivedness, and purpose-orientedness that characterize the iconic association "between" a sign’s form and its meaning, let alone can they account for their variability, dependence on knowledge and attitudes. One solution to these problems may consist in an externalization of constraints on the (a priori flexible) notion of similarity as it is provided by Psychological Essentialism, suggesting that similarity is framed/determined by beliefs, attitudes, and ideologies, that is, by a Theory specifying Deep(er) Essence(s) of the respective concepts’ Surface Similarities.
In the light of this line of research, iconicity reveals itself as a purpose-oriented, goal-derived strategy employed by an intentional subject to achieve a language-external effect via asserting an explanatory relationship in the form of a causally Significant Correlation between form and content. The Relevant Principle that determines the semantically un(der)specified relation demands reconstruction by the addressee on the basis of cultural and/or expert knowledge in every single case of (presumed) iconicity as the notorious veni, vidi, vici-example demonstrates. Since "simple" similarity cannot (sufficiently and necessarily) determine the meaning of an iconic structure and since such an explanatory relationship ultimately relies on Theory entertained about the iconic concept’s Deep Essences, the presumed mirroring of a structure’s iconicity turns out to be the interaction of highly complex and as yet not well understood cognitive inference procedures.
Erika Linz / Klaudia Grote, Köln
The Influence of Sign Language Iconicity on Semantic Conceptualization
The empirical work described in this paper explores the influence of sign language iconicity on semantic conceptualization processes of deaf and hearing signers of German Sign Language (GSL). The main question addressed is whether the meaning of a sign is independent of iconic aspects of the sign-signifier. This research question is based on the observation that in many cases the forms of the signs of GSL resemble forms of the object, action or event they denote. In fact, the most important way to introduce new signs to the lexicon of GSL is by highlighting one or another aspect of a certain referent. However, it is not clear if the iconicity of a sign-signifier preserves during its lexicalization process an influence on the sense of the sign, i.e. on the strength of semantic relations to other concepts in the cognitive system. In a Peirceian framework, our main theoretical question can be reformulated as follows: 1. Does a sign loose its function as an ‘icon’ through transformation into a linguistic ‘legisign’ and 2. does the iconic relation between the sign and its referent retain an influence on the interpretant after the sign’s integration into the language system.
In the first experiment it was examined whether deaf and hearing signers of German Sign Language (GSL) and hearing speakers of German Spoken Language (GSL) (n=60) show different response times (RT) in a verification task where they had to judge the presence or absence of a semantic relation between a reference item (sign vs. spoken word) and a target item (picture). All reference items in Sign Language were iconic and highlighted a certain aspect of the referent they denoted, whereas their translational equivalents in spoken language were arbitrary. The combined target items (3 different pictures: e.g. window / door / roof) were all semantically related to the reference item (e.g. house), but only one of the pictures actually resembled the prior presented sign in GSL (e.g. roof). The experimental material consisted of 120 pairs composed of 20 reference items (signs vs. spoken words) combined with 20 x 3 semantically related pictures and 20 x 3 semantically non-related pictures (distractor items). In the second study it was examined whether the deaf and hearing subjects show different choices in a task asking them to decide which of two presented pictures has a stronger semantic relation to a target item (sign vs. spoken word). The relative numbers of choices in favor for a specific picture were measured.
The results of both studies support the hypothesis that the iconicity of a sign has an influence on the structure and organization of the semantic network of deaf and hearing signers. To be more specific, the features and properties of a certain object which are highlighted by physical and spatial aspects of the sign, are more central in the semantic network in which the meaning of the sign is embedded. The results will be discussed with respect to theoretical implications about the relation of iconicity and arbitrariness of linguistic signs.
Christina Ljungberg, Zürich
Diagrams in Narrative: Visual Strategies in Contemporary Fiction
A diagram is an icon, or a form of relations analogous to those of the object it represents. In Peirce’s taxonomy of signs, the diagram is the second subcategory of the three types of icons: images, diagrams and metaphors. Although invested with both indexical and symbolic features the diagram is "a kind of icon particularly useful, because it supresses a quantity of details, and so allows the mind more easily to think of its important features" (CP 2.282).
Diagrams allow us to visualize something with our mind’s eye that we cannot see with our physical eye: as iconic signs of rationally related objects that are created in our imagination, they enable us for instance to experiment mentally with a scientific problem or to trace an imaginary journey on a map. Diagrammatic iconicity has also always been an effective strategy for exploiting the possibilities of linguistic signs and systems creatively by using form to add meaning. A survey of recent literary fiction shows that, more than ever, writers are employing diagrammatic iconicity as a visual communication strategy, e.g. in their narrative structures, such as frame narratives and other chiastic structures, or in their use of mirror symmetries in syntax or in word games. This also includes the use of maps, which have traditionally been considered iconic, although their indexical property has been argued (Nöth 2000: 489). As icons, however, maps are primarily considered diagrams, even if they are often employed metaphorically, especially in self-reflexive postmodern fiction, in order to reflect the writer’s mapping of her or his own fictional landscape and/or in order to problematize the referential function of language.
My contribution will give an overview of the functions of diagrammatic iconicity as a visual strategy in recent works of fiction. Authors discussed will include Jeanette Armstrong, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Siri Hustvedt, Michael Ondaatje, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Aritha van Herk, and Rudy Wiebe, among others.
Nöth, Winfried. 2000. Handbuch der Semiotik. 2.e Aufl. Stuttgart: Metzler.
Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1931-58. Collected Papers. Vols. 1-6 ed. Harthorne, Charles, and Weiss, Paul, vols. 7-8 ed. Burks, Arthur W. Cambridge. Mass: Harvard UP.
Costantino Maeder, Louvain
Argumentative and Iconic Strategies in Italian Poetry: Notes for a Dynamic Approach to Iconicity
Italian literature is characterised by a strongly felt necessity for formal expression. Iconic dimensions are thus very frequent in poetry, librettos and drama and are closely associated with argumentative structures.
In my lecture, I will mainly focus on Petrarchan sonnets where the speaker creates a complex and intriguing dialectic between argumentative and iconic strategies, which exploit the inherent contrast between octave and sestet. Argumentative and iconic strategies often confer more importance to the octave, while the sestet exhibits a kind of melancholic fade-out, of regret for bygone times. The octave, heavier (eight verses vs. six verses), situated on top, written in a more complex and florid Italian, focused on a time-less classical environment, characterised by mythological citations, is opposed to the humble sestet, shorter and lighter, located beneath, written in a simple language (in its choice of syntax, lexicon and rhetoric figures), without explicit references to classical myths and situated in the present (time of the enunciation). Contrasting parallel iconic and argumentative strategies upset this first reading: it is the humble sestet and its earthly contents that is focused on and prevails over the sparkling and brilliant octave.
The presence of several layers of iconic devices, combined with argumentative strategies, implies a dynamic definition of iconicity. An intriguing game of contrast and confirmation of the reader’s expectations is the result. Many of Petrarca’s strategies, as will be shown, are still alive, e.g. in Eugenio Montale.
Keiko Masuda, Cambridge
Two Experiments on Birdcalls and Their Linguistic Representations
This paper puts forward a hypothesis that the front cavity resonance is a key factor in forming a linguistic representation of a birdcall.
It has been pointed out that the second formant of some bird names of onomatopoeic origin tracks the main acoustic component of the birdcall. My analysis of some birdcalls and their linguistic representation, though not bird names, has revealed that it is not the second formant but the front cavity resonance that tracks the birdcall component. This hypothesis has been drawn from an experiment conducted to investigate what acoustic cues are used to form a linguistic representation from a birdcall. Actual calls of ten birds available on a CD and their linguistic representations recorded by four RP speakers of British English were compared and analysed in terms of formant frequencies, the fundamental frequency, duration and the general spectrographic pattern. The paper introduces one of the cases, that of a bird, the widgeon. The call of the bird is often described as whee-oo [wi… u…], which has sequences where two cavity resonances cross over and are labelled differently in terms of formants during the most [i]-like portion. This case clearly indicates that it is the front cavity resonance which is responsible in forming the linguistic representations.
It has also been found that consonants are chosen according to the location of energy concentration and ability to express the properties of birdcalls such as an abrupt onset or extremely short duration. Plosives are most frequently used as they can express the abrupt onset of birdcalls. The affricate [ts] is used where the main acoustic component of a birdcall spreads across the wide range of frequency in the very short duration. In terms of phonation type, voiceless consonants are preferred to the voiced ones because the voiceless consonants may make the formant transition less audible. In terms of place of articulation, the voiceless velar plosive seems to be most frequently used since the location of energy concentration of the velar plosive is flexible depending on the adjacent vowels, which may result in less audible formant transition. The word-final voiceless plosive is often used to make the linguistic representation sound shorter because of the pre-fortis clipping effect.
A perception experiment testing the FCR theory and the choice of consonants was conducted, the result of which will be introduced in the latter half of the talk. In the experiment, a number of pairs of linguistic representations, which differ from each other in terms of FCR dynamic pattern or one of the consonants, were presented to subjects together with the original birdcall. The subjects were asked to choose the one that better imitates the call. It was found that the representations matching the FCR dynamic pattern with the component dynamics of the birdcall were dominantly chosen. This supports the FCR theory. In terms of consonants the result was less clear cut, but tendencies were observed, which supports some of the hypotheses.
William D. Melaney, Cairo Material Signifiers: Iconicity From Lessing to Rilke
The role of material signifiers in literature provides a crucial basis for demonstrating how semantic density sustains the iconic reading of poetic texts. My discussion of material signifiers will begin with a series of reflections on the argument of Lessing’s "Laocoon," which provides a model indicating how iconicity remains an aspect of tropological configurations. The exposition will then move on to suggest how Rilke’s poem, "Archaischer Torso Apollos," can unfold in a thematics of reading that adopts Lessing’s work in poetics as its point of departure. Finally, Rilke’s "Fünfte Elegie," in the "Duineser Elegien," will provide a critical focus that integrates verbal expression, art history and audience response in a semiotic composite underscoring the iconicity of material signifiers in the production of literary texts.
The first part of the paper centers around Lessing’s discussion of two shields that are identified in classical literature with the mythic figures, Achilles and Aeneas. The main thrust of Lessing’s contrast in the "Laocoon" is to reinterpret the relationship between poetry and painting in a way that supports the ancient saying, "Ut pictura poesis." For Lessing, however, poetry is like painting in its capacity to ‘imitate’ an actual process, rather than in its ability to copy visual representations. Hence, Homer’s narrative account of Achilles’s emblem, which depicts the actual production of the shield itself, is more poetic than Virgil’s recitation of Aeneas’s imperial inscriptions. Lessing’s response to Homer demonstrates how poetry emulates the energy of graphic production but also requires a material signifier (i. e., the shield itself) in order to project temporal meanings.
The second part of the paper extends Lessing’s semiotic insights into the field of modern poetry. The example of Rilke’s poem, "Archaischer Torso Apollos," as published in "Der neuen Gedichte anderer Teil" (1908), is taken up as a counter to aesthetic approaches that emphasize subjectivity at the expense of semantic dialogue. The poem’s rich surface will be examined (particularly with respect to verb use) as a linguistic artefact that frustrates the reader’s drive for semantic transparency. Somewhat like the poetry of Pound or the late Stevens, Rilke’s poetry invites the reader to receive meaning in a moment of reversal whereby the image of cut stone generates a heightened tension between reader and work.
In the third part of the paper, the value of iconicity in generating a new audience response is shown to motivate Rilke’s "Fünfte Elegie" in the "Duineser Elegien." The last of the elegies to be written was inspired by Picasso’s painting, "Les Saltimbanques," and refers to four of the five acrobats in the picture. Rilke imagines the acrobats as lovers who are able to smile, and whose spectators (now dead) would experience true joy in observing them. The spectators in the poem, like those in the painting, are said to form "des Dastehns/ grosser Anfangsbuchstab" — which may imply the letter D (as in Dasein). They also resemble the petals of a rose that awaits transformation. Transformation is implied through the reading of a Latin adage that anticipates a change in heart among the acrobats themselves. Hence, as in Lessing’s preference for a semantics of process over the signs of closure, Rilke offers a comparative basis for envisioning the role of material signifiers in renewing the experience of time itself.
Ming-Qian Ma, Las Vegas
Form M(a)iming Meaning: Iconizing Iconicity and the Poetics of Informatics in Christian Bok’s "Crystallography"
In the wake of the post-structuralist critique of what David Michael Levin calls the "ocularcentric paradigm" in the Western tradition of epistemology that privileges a "vision-generated, vision-centered interpretation of knowledge, truth, and reality," N. Katherine Hayles, in her recent study of virtuality in the age of informatics, raises the issue of disembodiment — i.e., how information "came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from material forms."
When reflected in contemporary avant-garde poetry, this philosophical and scientific inquiry finds its expression in a visual prosody foregrounding "optic anomalies" (Bok), ranging from Carl Rakosi’s "strabismal seeing," Charles Bernstein’s linguistic "amblyopia," to Joan Retallack’s "ectopic eye." Highly page-specific and non-linear, this visual poetry is characterized, more specifically, by a typography parodying iconically the iconic mechansim at work.
As its title states, Christian Bok’s recent book of poems examines the history of crystallography. Playing with the traditional association of crystal with both "prophecy and refraction" (McCaffery), Bok, through a structural mirroring between word and crystal, iconizes what James Elkins refers to as the "visual literacy" that projects "schemata over substance." Crystallography, Bok thus articulates through a textual iconicity, constitutes none other than a representational strategy that trades the material forms of crystal for quantified information, showing that "The map of a crystal is but a series of values, a set of ratios, that do not let you see the form so much as show you how to rebuild it into view" (Bok).
As the sequel to the paper presented at the Second Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam, this proposed paper will explore the iconic dimension of Boks visual typography as a means, to put it in Donna Haraways words, "to keep disembodiment from being written once again into dominant concepts of subjectivity."
Julian Hillyer Moyle, Nottingham
Socialising the Iconic Image: Peter Reading’s "Entropicon"
The iconic image has received a bad press for the absolutism of its claim to provide a one to one relation between word and thing, language and the world. This contrasts with the iconic diagram, which, rightly, for its stress on relational similarities, has become viewed as a more profitable tool for accounts seeking to show how language imitates the world. In literary criticism, iconic images have been observed, but are usually scrutinised as isolated occurrences in a text where, for example, the shape of letters or lines have temporarily assumed the significant shape of something that is being expressed semantically.
In this paper, I examine an example, where the iconic image is employed as a challenge to our predisposition to see such images as marginal features in literary texts. Through an analysis of ‘Erosive’, a poem by the British poet, Peter Reading, I shall indicate how the iconic image can play an active and integral role relating to how the reader is meant to perceive or frame the wider structure of the work in which the image is situated. This will lead me to suggest some ways in which the image, once criticised for freezing language in a spatial array that brought modernist techniques close to fascism, might be re-imagined as having a more socially acceptable, and less absolutist , structuring role in the literary work.
‘Erosive’ appears towards the end of Reading’s volume entitled Last Poems, a book which imagines itself to be in a state of entropic degeneration. A simple definition of the poem as an image of erosion only contributes to the marginalisation of both the poem within the work, and the concept of iconicity within literary practice. Instead, a consideration of how ‘Erosive’ specifically refers to an earlier poem in the volume will show how the iconic image can be viewed as actively casting its ‘iconic aura’ across the space of a text and onto other poetic forms, which become de-mythologised and seen as visual and ideological constructs. Michel Serres’ descriptions of entropy and negentropy will facilitate my analysis in showing how it is possible to read against the flow of Reading’s Entropicon.
Andreas Ohme, Jena Iconic Representation of Space and Time in Vladimir Sorokin’s Novel The Queue
Vladimr Sorokin (*1955) is one of the foremost representatives of Russian post-modern literature. Even though there exists no commonly accepted definition of postmodernism, one of its characteristic features is the distrust of conventional forms of discourse. The frequent use of metafictional devices and the intermingling of fictional and non-fictional genres may serve as example of this phenomen. The same distrust finds a very specific expression in Sorokin’s debut novel The Queue (O_ered´
, 1985). Although it is called a novel it turns out to be a pure polylogue which presents the voices of people standing in line. In that it lacks a narrator, it lacks the source of information crucial for prose fiction. One means of compensating for the deficiency in information is the use of iconic devices. The length of the queue for example is represented by a list of names that covers several pages. In addition, the passing of time is represented by empty lines or empty pages. In this way the iconic use of signs — according to the Russian formalists their lack can be interpreted as a minus-device — is already foregrounded by the typography. Finally, the form of the polylogue itself is to be seen as an iconic representation of the ‘narrated’ time. These forms of iconicity create an impression of immediacy which has led literary critics to call the novel hyper realistic. Exactly the opposite is the case. Due to the obvious deviation from the conventions of the novel The Queue
can be regarded not only as a challenge of the concept of socialist realism but as a part of the anti-illusionist tradition in literature in general. Iconicity thus proves to be an appropriate means to break up traditional patterns of narration and in doing so draws attention to the conventionality of literature.
Wilhelm Pötters, Würzburg
Beatrice, or: The Geometry of Love
The two major poetic works of Dante (1265-1321) - the love story entitled Vita Nova (1292-94) and the "holy poem" called Commedia (1307-1321) - have a secret sense: a sensus allegoricus or "truth lying under fine lies". In spite of all their efforts, dantologists have not succeeded so far in defining the hidden meaning of Dante’s autopoetic characterization.
In developing his concealed message, the poet employs symbols, metaphors, oracles, intertextual references, mythological and biblical allusions and, in particular, a series of mysterious numbers. The most conspicuous of these numerical items are the following:
9: This number is the constant instrument with which the poet achieves the chronological structuring of the ‘events’ told in the love story of the Vita Nova. Furthermore it is this numerical value with which the poet defines the particular nature of his gentilissima donna Beatrice ("She was a nine"). Finally the 9 reappears in the Divine Comedy as the principal instrument of the poetic construction of the three spheres of the hereafter, namely Hell, Purgatory and Paradise; in fact, the three transcendental realms are each systems of nine concentric units of spherical form or sections of spheres ("circles").
61: This value represents the numerical code of the name BEATRICE introduced by the poet in a metaphorical way (Vita Nova, VI). The number is calculated according to the rules of medieval gematria, i.e. the commutation of letters and numbers.
DXV or 515: This is the number with which dantology has always transcribed a certain numerical code quoted in Purg. 34, 45: "a five hundred ten and five". This strange combination of numbers is used by Beatrice as the name she gives to the "messenger of God", announced by her as the future rescuer, who will kill the forces of Evil. Beatrice herself characterizes her prophecy as an "enigma forte", which her poetic troubadour, after his return to earth, is to tell to mankind.
It is commonly maintained by all dantologists that the above-mentioned numbers, all referring to Dante’s donna Beatrice, are central elements of the symbolic universe of Dante’s poetry. It will be the aim of my paper to show that Beatrice’s numerical items are interdependent elements of a semiotic system. Analyzed as mathematical clues, the three numbers 9, 61 and 515 can be identified as the most elementary instruments with which the poet realizes a geometric construction of his work. With such a design of his texts, Dante intends to explain his ptolemaic theory of the cosmos. At the same time, his poiesis reveals itself as an iconic figure of his amore, and vice versa.
Rudolf Reinelt, Matsuyama
Social Iconicity in the Writing System: Speech Action Expression (SAX) Indicating Characters with SAY in Chinese as Social Icons?
While the iconicity of onomatopoeia has long been a topic of research in semiotic linguistics (for Japanese see Kita  and Hamano ), this paper considers as a characteristic of the Chinese writing system characters formed with the SAY radical, almost all of which overwhelmingly have speech action meanings. In the end, we argue that this development has led to the unique possibility to indicate social actions via iconicity in writing.
Several kinds of iconicity are inherent in any writing system (Coulmas 1989/ Harris 1994). Conspicuously, the degree and kind of iconicity is comparably similar for a (and only in the one) class of Chinese characters formed with the SAY radical. Historical considerations show that this radical is a comparatively late development (only 3 characters in early oracle-bones 1400 BC), with literally hundreds (147) in the wood tablets (until after AD) emerging shortly afterwards, and a fairly high number still in present everyday use (e.g. 129 in Shin Hande 1985).
The overwhelming number of these characters have meanings that come almost exclusively from and comprehensively cover the wider realm of speech action expressions (SAX) comprising performative verbs (Verschueren 1998), traditional speech act verbs (Allan 1998) and even verbs of reporting (Kraemer 2000) and their respective nouns.
Considering that the overall meaning realm of these characters is very limited, and that the overwhelming number indicates a common reference to socially designed speech actions within the writing system, we can perhaps say that the SAY radical is a (second degree diagrammatic, s. definition 2000) social iconic indicator. Of course, because of the composite-ness (Coulmas 1989) of the writing system, the exact meaning of any one character can only be grasped from learning the respective character.
As with all other linguistic categories, moving-in and -out takes place. On the one hand, many such characters, especially when reduplicated, have become used as onomatopoetica. On the other hand, more SAX are built from characters without the SAY radical and combinations thereof or any original SAX meaning at all, a tendency also observed in other languages with large numbers of SAXs.
Allan, K. (1998) Speech Act Theory - An Overview. In: Mey, Jacob (ed.) Concise encyclopedia of pragmatics. Amsterdam: Elsevier, p. 927-939.
Coulmas, F. (1989) The Writing Systems of the World. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.
Definition 2000: <http://www.es.unizh.ch/iconicity/icondef.html>.
Hamano, Shoko (1998) The Sound-Symbolic System of Japanese. Leland Stanford Junior University.
Harris, Roy (1994) Semiotic Aspects of Writing. In: Guenther, H. & Ludwig, Otto.(1994) Writing and its Use. An interdisciplinary Handbook of International Research. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, p. 41-48.
Kita, Sotarou (1997) Two-dimensional semantic analysis of Japanese mimetics. in: Linguistics 35, 2, p. 379-415.
Klamer, M. (2000) How report words become quote markers and complementisers. Lingua 110, p. 69-78.
Verschueren, Jef. (1998). Speech Act Verbs. In: Mey, J. Concise Encyclopaedia of Pragmatics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Günter Rohdenburg, Paderborn
Grammatical Iconicity in English
This paper deals with two kinds of iconically motivated structures in English. The first part discusses a novel batch of data illustrating the so-called distance principle (Givón 1984-1990; Haiman 1983), which states that the syntactic distance between expressions corresponds to the semantic distance between them. The second part focuses on relations holding between (inflectional) plural formation and adjective formation by means of derivational suffixation. It is seen that inflectionally produced root allomorphy is mimed by derivational root allomorphy in two repects:
The degree of irregularity in plural formation is (weakly) reflected in the extent to which irregular allomorphs are selected in certain derivational processes of adjective formation.
The irregular allomorph typical of plural formation (e.g. scarv- rather than scarf-) shows a striking affinity for plural contexts in a specific type of (derivational) adjective formation.
Piotr Sadowski, Dublin
From Signal to Symbol: Towards a Systems Typology of Linguistic Signs
The object of the paper is to offer a typology of linguistic signs within the formal framework of systems theory of information (as formulated by Marian Mazur), supported by certain evolutionary claims concerning the origin of human language. Both the deductive systems model and the more empirical (however hypothetical) evolutionary arguments appear to support a basically fourfold typology of linguistic signs, including 1/ emotive signals, 2/ indices, 3/ iconic signs, and 4/ symbols. The systems model of information thus allows for an extension of the Peircean triad of icon-index-symbol with the category of emotive signals, and it also provides evolutionary reasons for altering the order of Peirce’s typology of signs into the sequence signal ‡ index ‡ icon ‡ symbol.
Jürgen Schlaeger, Berlin Nonsense or Nuisance: Iconicity in Lewis Carroll and Gertrude Stein
My paper will investigate the play and place of iconicity in poetic and experimental texts of the 19th and early 20th centuries which have never been considered as mimetic in any of the established senses. Is there iconicity without mimesis, I will ask. Ultimately this is a question which must have worried iconicists a great deal ever after ‘the linguistic turn’ and ‘post-structuralist epistemology’ had changed the mental geography so radically. Is iconicity, particularly in modern texts, merely a play with the mind’s capacity to trick itself into configurations and associations which have no ‘reality’ behind them, or is it a survival of older stages in the development of our linguistic capacities? Maybe the texts I am going to analyse will provide some answers. We shall see!
Bernhard F. Scholz, Groningen
Conceptualizing Iconicity: The Figure Poem in Early Modern Poetics
While iconicity had to wait for the ‘semiotic turn’ in literary and art theory before it could be dealt with systematically, and, to our minds, adequately, iconic artefacts have been produced for the last two thousand years. In this paper I would like to raise the question how one such type of artefact, namely the figure poem or technopaignion, was conceptualized before the semiotic turn. My casus will be the discussion of the figure poem in be the most influential Renaissance treatise on poetics, Julius Caesar Scaliger’s Poetices libri decem (Lyon 1561). I will reconstruct Scaliger’s descriptive language for dealing with iconicity, and I shall raise the question about the criteria of adequacy of description involved in Early Modern accounts of the figure poem.
Frederik Stjernfelt, Copenhagen
The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Ontology and Semantics of Espionage and the Spy Novel
The genre novel seems to be a privileged object for the investigation of the iconicity of literature. The genre novel mirrors an already existing factual discourse, and in so far it seems to be forced to share at least some of its object’s basic ontological properties. This paper argues that this is in fact the case - with espionage and the spy novel as the example. A politological and narratological definition of the a priori ontology of espionage is outlined with background in Greimas’s semiotics, Carl Schmitt’s politology, and the British philosopher Barry Smith’s ontology - and recurring structures in the narratology and the enunciation of the spy novel are analyzed in this light.
Iconicity as an Issue in Translation
In one of the classical works on iconicity (Mitchell 1986) the relation between image and text is discussed in terms of four dichotomous oppositions: pictures vs. paragraphs, nature vs. convention, space vs. time and eye vs. ear. The oppositions are based on the fundamental distinction between "image" and "text". However, Michell’s pertinent argument that "pictorial images are inevitably conventional" and that they reflect our conceptualization (rather than mere perception) of objects (1986: 13-14) brings visual and verbal images together, in agreement with the basic postulate of cognitive linguistics, which claims that meaning equals conceptualization and which promotes Ronald Langacker’s programmatic slogan "grammar is image".
Similarity, which constitutes the defining property of iconic signs as representations of their objects, is, therefore, a product of the process of conceptualization, and thus implies the agency of an (individual) observer. In other words, iconic expressions can only be defined as "iconic my way" or "iconic your way"; hence their subjectivity (e.g. selectivity), ambivalence (Wysouch 1985) and language-specificity.
Relative character of iconicity is claimed to be directly relevant to (interlingual) translation. Some examples will be given in the second part of the paper, which deals with several aspects of sequential iconicity, focussing on what Cognitive Linguistics defines as "figure/ground alignment". The differences will be shown to fall into two main categories: particular images may be either imposed on language users by linguistic conventions (e.g. adjectival modification in English and Polish) or selected ad hoc, depending on the users’ immediate communicative purposes (e.g. adverbial fronting in English and Polish). As in other areas of language, conventionalized iconicity as a property of grammar may be used by the speaker (and by the translator) as a means of manipulation and deception (Galasiñski 2000).
Galasiñski, Dariusz. 2000. The Language of Deception. A Discourse Analytical Study. London etc.: Sage Publications, Inc.
Langacker, Ronald W. 1986. "An Introduction to Cognitive Grammar", Cognitive Science 10. 1 - 40.
Mitchell, W.J.T. 1986. Iconology. Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Wysouch, Seweryna. 1985. "Wizualnoœæ metafory". In: Balcerzan, E. and S. Wysouch (eds), Miejsca wspólne. Warszawa: PWN. 205 - 220.
Friedrich Ungerer, Rostock
Iconic Principles and Iconic Text Strategies: The Path, Sorting and Weighting Strategies in Selected Non-fictional Genres
Taking up previous studies of locative or path strategies in texts and adding a sorting and a weighting strategy as additional possibilities, the paper makes an attempt to clarify the relationship between these complex iconic strategies and the more abstract principles of sequential, quantitative and qualitative iconicity. Illustrations will be taken from non-fictional genres, e. g. from tourist brochures, catalogues and newspapers, and will be used to show some of the typical linguistic aspects of the path, sorting and weighting strategies. The discussion will also consider the verbal/visual interface in these texts and this will draw attention to the overlap between image and diagrammatic iconicity encountered in these genres.
In a second step the arguments will be extended to a comparison between complex iconic strategies and the more ‘artificial’ strategies idiosyncratically assembled under the umbrella of ‘rhetorical’ strategies (the dispositio of classical rhetoric, the Aristotelian conception of tragedy, the endfocus strategy, etc). As it will hopefully emerge, the rhetorical strategies also make use of iconic principles, but do not participate in the complex iconic transfer claimed for the path, sorting and weighting strategies.
John J. White, London
A Semiotic Approach to Perspective in Experimental Shaped Poetry
Even after the discovery of perspective in painting, European shaped poetry continued, even into the twentieth century, to be almost exclusively restricted to two-dimensional visual effects. The figured poems of the Baroque period, as well as the calligramme experiments of Apollinaire, the majority of Futurists, Dadaists and post-war poets, have remained, inasmuch as they are typographically iconic in respect of shape, limited to two-dimensional effects governed by the printed page’s ability to work economically with outlined shapes and other flat configurations. I wish to explore some of the repercussions for a semiotics of iconicity of those few examples where perspective is communicated in shaped poetry.
My theoretical starting-point is the demonstration, in Umberto Eco’s "Critique of Iconism" ("A Theory of Semiotics", Bloomington, Indiana, 1976, 3: 3.5), of the fact that visually iconic effects are often dependent on graphic conventions and are not just iconic in the simple sense that they share properties with their objects, as Peirce had claimed. Eco’s principal illustration, borrowed from Wolfgang Koehler’s "Gestalt Psychology" (1959), enters on the fact that an outline drawing of a horse is in part iconic by virtue of a graphic convention. I.e. real horses do not possess "outlines". I wish to take Eco’s re-definition of Peirce’s concept of the "icon", reformulated in "A Theory of Semiotics" (pp. 193f.) a sign "which reproduces a few conditions of perception, but only when these have been selected on the basis of codes of recognition and explained on the basis of graphic conventions" and apply it to iconicity in perspectival shaped poetry.
While Eco’s definition already has implications for the analysis of shaped poems in general (in particular calligrammes and those working on a filled-form principle), the element of graphic convention clearly becomes more important in the case of poems where an iconicity of perspective is involved. For that reason, I propose to explore in detail a limited number of examples, among them the poetry of the minor Italian Futurist Bruno G. Sanzin, various one-off experiments in English and German concrete poetry of the post-war period and recent holographic experiments (among others Eduardo Kac’s "holopoetry", using iconic virtual reality perspective-simulation via the holograph method). The purpose of such an investigation is to ascertain which graphic conventions play a significant part in creating the effect of perspective in avant-garde shaped poetry of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Werner Wolf, Graz
Iconicity and Intermediality in Literature: Tema con Variazioni
In my paper I want to draw attention to a kind of iconicity in literature which so far has not found much attention: cases where literature attempts to approach the condition of other media by imitating them through various formal devices, in other words, where literary form mimes a ‘meaning’ or referent which is a non-literary medium. This variant of iconicity is a special case of a by now widely discussed phenomenon: ‘intermediality’.
In the first part of my contribution I will briefly introduce the concept of intermediality (an umbrella term denoting relations between different media) and its most important forms, which comprise both non-iconic and iconic variants, the latter being my ‘theme’. I will then proceed to develop this theme in three ‘variations’ and illustrate it each time by one example from 19th and 20th-century fiction. Each variation will deal with ways of imitating another non-literary medium in fiction: painting, film and music. In the ‘coda’ I will shortly outline problems of recognizing the intermedial quality of such fictional experiments and I will also indicate some perspectives of future research. The structure of my talk will be as follows:
1. Introduction and theme: the concept of intermediality, non-iconic and iconic intermediality
2. Variation I: iconicity in pictorialized fiction (Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree)
3. Variation II: iconicity in filmicized fiction (Lodge, Changing Places, chap. 6)
4. Variation III: iconicity in musicalized fiction (Huston, Les Variations Goldberg)
5. Coda: problems of recognizing iconic intermediality and perspectives of research.