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2007 Johannesburg


Sixth Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature
Johannesburg, 1 – 4 April 2007

The sixth in a series of biennial international and interdisciplinary symposia organised by the Iconicity Research Project since 1997, this meeting will once again focus on iconicity  ─ understood as form miming meaning and form miming form  ─ in language and in literature. Previous symposia have, on the one hand, concentrated on iconicity as a driving force in language on all grammatical levels, on language acquisition and on language change. On the other hand, they have addressed the various mimetic uses of more concrete and creative iconic images and/or more abstract iconic diagrams at all levels of the literary text, both in narrative and poetic form, and on all varieties of discourse (literary texts, historical texts, political texts, advertising, language and music, literature and music, etc.). These possibilities remain open for the 2007 symposium. Proposals for workshops are welcomed and should be sent to the local organizers.

 

  • The meeting will be hosted by the University of Johannesburg  and be held on the APK Campus (former Rand Afrikaans University) of the university.
  • Local organizers: Prof. dr. Jac Conradie and Dr. Marthinus Beukes
    External co-organizers: Prof. Dr. Olga Fischer (University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Christina Ljungberg (University of Zurich)
  • The conference language will be English, but papers may also be read in German, French and Afrikaans. Interpreting or translation services cannot, however, be provided.

 

PLENARY SPEAKERS

We are honoured to have as plenary speakers
 

Vincent Colapietro, Pennsylvania State University, on the theme
Literary Practices & Imaginative Possibilities: Toward a Pragmatic Understanding of Iconicity

 
Anatoly Liberman,
 University of Minnesota, on the theme
Iconicity and Etymology 

Jacobus Naudé, University of the Free State (theme to be announced)


Program

                                                    PROGRAMME

 

 

 

Venue: School of Tourism and Hospitality, Bunting Road, Cottesloe

 

 

Monday, 2 April 2007

 

 

08:00 – 08:45

Registration

 

 

8:45 - 09:00

Welcome by Professor Derek van der Merwe,

Pro Vice-Chancellor

 

09:00 – 10:00

Keynote

 

Vincent Colapietro

 

 Pennsylvania State University

 

Literary Practices & Imaginative Possibilities: Toward a Pragmatic Understanding of Iconicity

 

10:00 – 10:40

Christina Ljungberg

 

University of Zurich

 

Diagrammatic figurations as textual performance

 

10:40 – 11:00

Tea and  coffee

11:00 – 11:40

Matthias Bauer

 

Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen

 

Bunyan and the Physiognomy of the Word

 

11:40 – 12:20

 

 

Strother Purdy

 

Bridgewater, Connecticut, USA,

 

Iconicity in 1773, the disreputable genius of Hamann                 

 

12:20 – 13:00

 

 

 

 

Lars Elleström

Växjö University

Iconicity as Meaning Miming Meaning and Meaning Miming Form

 

13:00 -  14:00

Lunch

14:00 – 14:40

 

Axel Hübler

 

University of Jena

 

A culture-historical approach to conceptual metaphors. A case study on argument is war

 

14:40 – 15:20

 

 

Franco Manai

 

University of Auckland

 

Narrative discourse as re-narration of icons: the case of The Gospel according to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago.

 

15:20 – 15:40

Tea & Coffee

 

15:40 – 16:20

 

Mechthild Betz

 

Universität Tübingen

 

Typographisch-piktographische Ikonizität, Satzzeichen als Icons/Emoticons im experimentellen Gedicht Friederike Mayröckers

 

16:20 -  17:00

 

 

Wolfgang G. Müller    (cancelled - will be read)

 

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

 

Metrical Inversion and Enjambment in the Context of Syntactic and Morphological Structures: Towards a Poetics of Verse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

 

 

09:00 – 10:00

Keynote

     

 

Anatoly Liberman

 

University of Minnesota

 

Iconicity and Etymology

 

10:00 – 10:40

Olga Fischer

 

University of Amsterdam/ACLC

 

An iconic, analogical approach to grammaticalization

 

10:40 – 11:00

Tea and  coffee

11:00 – 11:40

William J. Herlofsky

                        

Nagoya Gakuin University

 

What iconic signing spaces can tell us about mental spaces                  

 

11:40 – 12:20

 

 

Jac Conradie

 

Iconicity in Adriaen Coenen’s 16th Century Descriptions of Marine Creatures

 

University of Johannesburg

 

12:20 – 13:00

 

 

 

Carmen Teržan Kopecky

 

University of Maribor

 

Structural Iconicity as a Parameter of Syntactic Innovation – an Interlingual Perspective

 

13:00 – 14:00 

 

 

Lunch

 

14:00 – 14:40

 

14:40 – 15:20

 

Hans Ester

 

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

 

Iconicity as the key to the poetry of Nelly Sachs (1891 – 1970)

 

15:20 – 15:40

 

 

15:40 – 16:20

Tea & Coffee

 

 

Heilna du Plooy

 

North-West University
Potchefsroom

 

Taking a line for a walk – poetic contour drawings or contoured poems?

 

16:20

 

Business meeting

 

 

 

 

19:00

CONFERENCE DINNER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

 

 

 

09:00 – 10:00

 

Keynote

 

Jacobus Naudé

 

University of the Free State

 

Iconicity and the Developments in Translation Studies

 

10:00 – 10:40

Ludovic De Cuypere & Klaas Willems

 

Ghent University

 

Linguistic iconicity: what is it really?

 

10:40 – 11:00

Tea and  coffee

11:00 – 11:40

 

 

Etienne Terblanche

 

North-West University, Potchefstroom

 

Iconicities of Naming in E. E. Cummings’s Poetry

 

11:40 – 11:50

 

 

Closure

 

 12:00– 13:00

Lunch

13:00 – 18:00

Excursion to Soweto (Please contact organisers)

 

 

 








 

ABSTRACTS

 

 

Matthias Bauer

 

Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen

 

Bunyan and the Physiognomy of the Word

 

The concept of ‘iconicity’ presupposes two different modes of representation: an immaterial one in which the visible and/or audible quality of the sign is irrelevant to its meaning (or relevant only in so far as it serves to identify different signs), and a material one in which the form and shape of what we hear and see cannot be separated from what is meant. This distinction may be linked historically to a fundamental semiotic problem faced by Puritans, and Puritan writers in particular: God cannot and must not be tied to the materiality of signs, i.e. to ‘images’, but any speech that is to document convincingly the presence of God in individual lives must take resort to them. Bunyan, in “The Author’s Apology” which prefaces The Pilgrim’s Progress, expressly deals with this problem when he recalls the debate as to whether it is permissible to write and publish such an allegory as Christian’s journey to the Celestial City. In my paper, I will consider the ways in which Bunyan counters the objection that “Metaphors make us blind”, i.e. prevent us from seeing the (immaterial) truth by replacing it with a (material) image. In particular, I will examine Bunyan’s strategy of endowing his allegorical characters with a language that becomes an image of the persons themselves. Bunyan thus implicitly rejects the idea that language may be anything but iconic and, by “feigning words”, strives to unfold Calvin’s dictum that “we recognize him in his image, that is, in his word”.

 

 

Mechthild Betz        (English translation below)

 

Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen 

 

 

Typographisch-piktographische Ikonizität, Satzzeichen als Icons/(Emoticons)

im experimentellen Gedicht Friederike Mayröckers

 

 

Von den radikalen Erneuerern visueller Poesie, Mallarmé und Apollinaire gleichermaßen beeinflusst, sich einige wich­­tige For­­­de­rungen verschiedener Strömungen der literarischen Moderne anverwandelnd[1] schreibt Friederike Mayröcker 1977/78

(ihrer eigentlich nachexperimentellen Phase) noch ein Gedicht[2], dessen visuelle Struktur im Ganzen, geradezu pro­­gram­ma­ti­schen Cha­rakter hat. Auf diese auch poetologische Deut­bar­­­keit der erkennbaren zyklischen Formensprache ihres Ge­dichts als Textbild auf der Makroebene, verweist die Autorin implizit, mit­tels ver­mischter Ver­­fa­h­ren ikonischer I­ko­­­ni­zität. In ihrer Ge­samt­schau ergeben diese aneinander gereihten Textfiguren, eine wenn auch abstrakte, zeitgleich dynamische Bild­metapher für ihre eigene Schreibarbeit. Explizit, wird auf sprachtextlicher Ebe­n­e in deskriptiv-poetischer Form auf diese - hier in Son­der­heit visualisierte – Me­tapher der Au­to­poiesis ihrer Dichtung an­­gespielt, eine Ei­gen­heit die für May­röckers Tex­te seit den 70ern symp­­tomatisch ist.

Im nichtvisuellen Bereich des Sprachtextes wird durch die lyrische, äußerst offen gehaltene Verbal- und Satzstruktur über zehn Seiten hin, bereits eine fast unüberschaubare Fülle von As­soziationsansätzen be­reitgehalten. Durch das Hin­zukommen des Seh­­textes, des Textes als einer Figur aber auch der Teil­­figuren aus de­nen dieser sich zu­sam­mensetzt, bis hin zu den klein­sten graphischen Elementen, die die Funk­tion minimalistischer Icons (quasi Emoticons) erhalten[3], hat er eine äußerst viel­­deu­tige Qua­lität, die einen verschwen­de­ri­schen Zug an sich hat.

 

Das Gedicht ist exemplarisch für die erstmals bei Mallarmé auftauchende Form abstrakter visueller Poesie. Eine Konstel­la­tion mehrerer eher abstrakt zu nennender Textfiguren scheint auf Anhieb kei­n gegenständliches Objekt abzubilden. Erst beim zweiten Hin­­sehen und mittels einer gewissen Kom­­­bi­natorik, wobei die Kennt­­­­­nis des Ge­samt­werks hierfür hilfreich ist, wird ein, wenn auch abstrahiert geformter Gegen­stand im Gesamtbild erkennbar. Eine wenngleich un­scheinbare, da nur durch die va­ri­ie­ren­de Wortkon­stel­lationen als Konturierungsmittel nachvollziehbare figür­liche Komponente. – Der Versuch einer vi­suel­­­len Inter­pre­ta­ti­on, ähnlich wie sie Ernest Fraenkel bereits in den 60ern am be­rühm­ten „Coup de Dés“ vollzog, soll hier der Ana­lyse (im Vortrag) zur Veranschaulichung dienen.

Der, durchaus an Apollinaire erinnernde, mittels simultaneistisch-kubistischer Techniken im Verlauf der Gedichtlektüre im­mer stär­ker werdende Eindruck des zirkulären, dabei immer schneller werdenden, In-Bewegung-Ge­ra­tens der verschiedenen un­­ter­­­scheid­baren Abschnitte, Partitionen, colla­giert ver­wendeter lyrischer Pro­safragmente, Sprach­fet­zen, Wortteile bis hin zu un­ver­mit­telt auftauchenden und eigenwillig aus den Zeilen fallenden, entfunktionalisierten, dadurch isolierten Satzzeichen­ver­bindungen, wird durch die visuell evozierte Sug­­­gestion eines durch zentrifugale Kräfte nach außen ge­drängten (ge­schleu­der­ten) typographischen Ma­­­terials be­werkstelligt.

Die stellenweise geradezu burlesk anmutende visuelle Aufhebung, der durch den Sprachtext evoziierten dunklen Stim­­­mun­gen, durch figürliche Wahrnehmbarkeit subjektivierter-anthropo­mor­phisierter Interpunktionszeichen als Icons /E­mo­ticons lässt Analo­gien zu dem französischen Wegbereiter dieser in­di­­vidualisier­ten Form visueller Dicht­­­kunst herstellen, ist a­ber auch an Kurt Schwitters angelehnt.

 

 

Typographic-pictorial Iconicity, Punctuation Marks as Icons (Emoticons) in Friedrike Mayröcker’s Experimental Poem

 

Under the influence of  Mallarmé and Apollinaire, the radical innovators of visual poetry, and adapting various trends of modern literature, Friederike Mayröcker wrote another poem in 1977/78 (in what is actually her post-experimental phase), the visual structure of which is programmatic in character.

The author implicitly refers to the poetological interpretability of the recognizable cyclical nature of her poem on a macro level by way of a mixed iconic iconicity. Strung together these texts form a dynamic, albeit abstract picture metaphor of her writings. On a textual level she refers explicitly to the visual metaphor of autopoesis of her poetry, which has been characteristic of Mayröcker’s texts since the seventies.

On the non-visual level of the text which extends over ten pages, the lyrical and very open sentence structure encompasses a near incalculable abundance of associations. By adding the visual text, consisting of a graphical representation which is a conglomerate of partial graphical representations and even the smallest graphical elements, which function as minimalist icons (quasi emoticons), the text has an ambiguous, lavish quality.

The poem is a fine example of the abstract visual poetry introduced by Mallarmé. Initially, the constellation of a number of abstract textual figures seemingly represent no object. Only on the second attempt, using a certain combining technique - for which knowledge of the whole oevre is useful – can one recognize an abstract object in the text as a whole. An attempt at a visual interpretation such as Ernest Fraenkel accomplished with the famous “Coup de Dés” in the sixties, will be used to illustrate the analysis.

The impression of the circular movement (reminiscent of Apollinaire) is created by means of the visually evoked suggestion that the typographic material is flung to the outside by centrifugal powers. The different distinguishable parts of collage-type lyrical prose fragments, partial sentences, parts of words and even combinations of punctuation marks used completely out of context, and thus without function, are used as a simultaneous-cubistic technique to strengthen  the impression of the circular, ever quickening movement.

The sometimes seemingly burlesque nullification of the dark mood evoked by the written text by way of subjectivist-anthropomorphic punctuation marks as icons/emoticons is analogous to the French trailblazer of this individualistic form of visual poetry, but is also reminiscent of Kurt Schwitter.

 

 

 

KEYNOTE

 

Vincent Colapietro

 

Pennsylvania State University

 

 

Literary Practices & Imaginative Possibilities

 

Sentences in literary texts are somewhat peculiar diagrams in that their iconic force is on countless occasions strong enough to evoke in imaginable, thus perceptible (not just visible) form the object being diagrammed.  It is as though by simply reading a map we are transported to the terrain therein mapped. Analogous to this, the mathematical imagination essentially involves the construction of, and experimentation on, diagrams (Peirce; Kant), for the purpose of comprehending nothing other than the utterly abstract possibilities of purely formal relationships (relational forms).  In turn, the literary imagination possessed by the competent reader as well as the skillful author involves the construction of and experimentation on verbal diagrams, for normally diverse, frequently obscure purposes.  The relations of the words in a sentence to one another in effect diagram the relations of other things, including as often as not those of how this object stands to that, how this event follows on that action, how this character is acting toward that one. A pertinent example is found in Henry James’ The Golden Bowl: recall the scene in which the proprietor in the antique shop lays before his customers (Prince Amerigo and Charlotte Stant) now this object, now that (eventually the titular object itself – the golden bowl) thus precisely providing an image of how the author unfolds his narrative by displaying before his reader now this object, now that (better: now this scene, now that). In other words, this unfolding does not come about so much by stringing words into sentences as by conjoining sentences to one another in such a way that these sentences and their parts, in their complex relationships to one another and to other texts, fulfill the functions of imaginal, diagrammatic, and metaphorical signs. The force and vitality of literary texts are in no small measure the result of the interplay among these iconic functions of the verbal signs out of which literary texts are woven.

While sentences facilitate modes of inhabitation (at once projecting an arena of action and inaugurating, sustaining, altering, or concluding some mode of engagement), the spaces made available by their iconic force are open ones as well as enclosed ones, uninhabited deserts and haunted forests as well as drawing rooms and antique shops.  Verbal diagrams are as often cartographical as they are architectural sketches, as much wild spaces in which we are thrust as constructed surroundings in which we are contained (see, e.g., Gass’ “the Book as a Container of Consciousness”).  The sentences conjoined together in a literary text are predominantly diagrams of the dynamic relationships constitutive of agential space (space as an arena for action), though these diagrams often function in intimate association with images and metaphors.  The main objective of my paper is to make these admittedly enigmatic claims not only intelligible but also plausible.

 

 

 

Jac Conradie

 

University of Johannesburg

 

Iconicity in Adriaen Coenen’s 16th Century Descriptions of Marine Creatures

 

A variety of marine creatures ranging from semi-human beings to creatures very dangerous to man, are described by Adriaen Coenen in his 16th century “whale and fish books”. While Coenen can testify to the existence and appearance of some of these personally, there are others he only knows from hearsay ─ the report going back, in some instances, to Classical times. In order to classify and understand these phenomena from the sea, the reader needs to interpret what their various attributes may signify, and many of these attributes are clearly intended as iconic signs.     

      Special attention will be given to the “bishop fish”, with all the attire of a bishop ready to perform the ecclesiastical functions of a bishop. Its conduct is closely scrutinised for underlying human characteristics such as the ability to show emotion and, above all, to speak ─ but it  only manages to open its mouth in wordless speech. The interest of the narrative lies in the way signs are as it were projected on the fish so as to  guide the interpretation to ever greater “human” depth in order to heighten the fish/bishop contrast ─ all with the aim of highlighting another divinely wrought mystery from the sea. 

 

 

 

Ludovic De Cuypere  & Klaas Willems

 

Ghent University                    

 

Linguistic iconicity: what is it really?

 

Ever since the 1980s a huge amount of empirical data has been marshalled, illustrating the pervasiveness of iconicity in language. Iconicity has become a popular explanatory concept for morphological (e.g. Bybee 1985) as well as syntactic structure (e.g. Haiman 1985). Not everyone, however, seems overly convinced by the empirical “evidence”.

     Our talk starts off by exploring the epistemological problems involved in the matter, which we believe to be explanatory of this opposition. These problems are outlined through C. S. Peirce’s theory of semiosis. A discussion of Peirce’s sign concept along with his classification of signs into icons, indexes and symbols, will clarify what prevents the iconicity debate from getting to unequivocal conclusions. Based on our semiotic analysis, it will be argued that a distinction needs to be made between the similarity between linguistic form and reality and the actual use of this similarity in the creation of language as an iconic means to convey extra information. We submit therefore that linguistic iconicity may both be coincidental as well as motivational.

            Our goal in this paper is to propose a linguistic theory which fully acknowledges the role of iconicity without disregarding the fundamental conventional (i.e. historical and arbitrary) nature of language.

In the literature on iconicity, two basic approaches have been suggested. Ivan Fónagy (1999) posits that speech involves a “dual encoding procedure” in which linguistic units generated by the Grammar have to pass through a Distorter, conveying iconicity. A second model considers grammar as an amalgam of both symbolic and iconic linguistic procedures and/or constructions (e.g. Givón 1984). In our approach we will build on E. Coseriu's (1985) theory of linguistic competence, i.e. the linguistic knowledge of the language user, to account for iconicity in language. In particular Coseriu's distinction between idiomatic knowledge, i.e. the user's procedural knowledge of a given language, and expressive knowledge, i.e. the knowledge pertaining to actual discourse, is a distinction which serves to distinguish between the iconic possibilities of iconicity in language and the actual instantiation of iconicity in language use.

 

 

References

 

Bybee, J. L. (1985), Morphology: a study of the relation between meaning and form, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Coseriu, E. (1985), Linguistic Competence: what is it really?, in: The Modern Language Review, 80 (4), xxv-xxxv.

Fónagy, I. (1999), Why Iconicity?, in: Nänny, M. and O. Fischer (eds.), Form miming meaning, 3-36. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Givón, T. (1984), Syntax. A Functional-Typological Introduction. Vol. I, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Haiman, J. (ed.) (1985), Iconicity in syntax. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

 

 

Heilna du Plooy

North-West University, Potchefstroom

Taking a line for a walk – poetic contour drawings or contoured poems?

 

 

In the oeuvre of the Afrikaans poet T.T.Cloete there are several poems that seem to imitate a line drawing of an object. This technique will be analysed and discussed in my paper in order to determine whether these poems can be described as iconic and whether the technique can be seen as a form of iconicity. Cloete's poetry often relate to philosophical and esthetical issues but a variety of poetic techniques are used to hide the ideas behind exciting poetic masks. The discussion will utilise Julia Kristeva's idea that poetic language is semiotic (pre-symbolic) rather than symbolic, but also that meaning is constructed in an intertextual cultural space. The relation between the technique and the ultimate meanings of the poems will also be scrutinized in an attempt to contribute to the ongoing debate about the relation between form and content if only to describe one specific manifestation or possibility of the interaction of poetic language and meaning.

 

 

Lars Elleström

                       

Växjö University

 

Iconicity as Meaning Miming Meaning and Meaning Miming Form

 

The definition of iconicity as “form miming meaning and form miming form” is clear and illuminating, but perhaps too narrow. It is based on the schema: “X miming/referring to Y,” but X and Y are not reciprocal. According to the definition, meaning cannot mime (at least not in an iconic way), it can only be mimed. However, I think it is fair to say that there is no form without meaning, and that all meaning has some sort of form. That is why form may mime or refer to meaning. If meaning were formless, how could there be even the faintest resemblance between form and meaning?

In this paper, I propose that both the representamen (X) and the object (Y) can have the main character of “form” (palpable visual or aural phenomena that have relative materiality) and of “meaning” (the existence of which is more evasive, created by complex hermeneutical processes). I thus wish to see the relation between form and meaning as reciprocal rather than hierarchical. In the argument for this stance, I use two basic distinctions. The first is Peirce’s well-known division between three types of iconicity: image, diagram, and metaphor. The second is a distinction between ontologically different appearances of signs: visual material signs, aural material signs, and “complex, cognitive” mental signs.

A two-dimensional model that illustrates the relations between these two distinctions will be presented. It will be argued that Peirce’s three-part distinction of iconicity is somewhat irregular: the image and the metaphor cannot fully be seen as variants of iconicity on equal terms. The diagram, on the other hand, is a wide and very useful sign category. Actually, it is perhaps too wide, and therefore a distinction between “weak” and “strong” diagrams will be suggested. The “weak diagram” is singled out by the capacity of miming/referring across the borders both between the visual and the aural, and between the material and the mental. The conclusion of the paper is that iconicity should be understood not only as “form miming meaning and form miming form”, but also as “meaning miming meaning and meaning miming form”.

 

 

 

Hans Ester                             (English translation below)

 

Radboud University, Nijmegen

 

Iconiciteit als sleutel tot de poëzie van Nelly Sachs (1891 – 1970)

 

De kernvraag van mijn bijdrage zal gericht zijn op de waarde van het begrip iconiciteit bij de analyse van de gedichten van de Duitstalige dichteres Nelly Sachs. In de gedichten van Nelly Sachs functioneert de taal als teken dat onder voorbehoud betekenis krijgt. De historische achtergrond van de inzet van de taal bij Nelly Sachs is het leed van de Europese Joden tijdens het Derde Rijk. De poëzie van Nelly Sachs probeert de hachelijkheid van betekenisgeving in het aangezicht van het onverwoordbare onder woorden te brengen. Haar taaltekens worden door de gemotiveerde relatie tussen betekenaar en betekende tot iconische tekens. Om deze iconische functie van poëtische taal aan te tonen, zal ik enkele gedichten uit de bundel In den Wohnungen des Todes nader bespreken. Tevens zal ik ingaan op de rol van iconiciteit als betekenisdrager om de brieven te begrijpen die Nelly Sachs aan de dichter Paul Celan stuurde. Ook voor de in deze brieven gebruikte taal geldt dat zij een representatie is van de beoogde betekenis. Formele elementen, inclusief de afwezigheid van taal, ontvangen in het kader van de gedichten zowel als de brieven een samenhang die twijfelachtig is en een zin die op de rand van de zinloosheid balanceert.   

 

Iconicity as the key to the poetry of Nelly Sachs (1891 - 1970)

 

The central question of my contribution to the conference will be focused on the validity of iconicity with regard to Nelly Sachs. What importance can we set to iconicity when we analyse her poems? Language functions in the poetry of Nelly Sachs as sign to which meaning can only be given under reservation. The historical background of her use of language is the experience of distress of European Jewry during the Third Reich. The poetry of Nelly Sachs tries to represent the precariousness of meaning in confrontation with the inexpressible, a status of experience beyond words, which is nevertheless an imperishable memory. Her linguistic signs become iconic because of the motivated relation between sign and meaning. To demonstrate this iconic function of poetical language I shall present some poems from the volume In den Wohnungen des Todes / In the dwellings of death. I would also like to discuss the role of iconicity as bearer of meaning in the letters, Nelly Sachs sent to her friend and colleague Paul Celan. The words in these letters are also a representation of the intended meaning. Formal elements in the poems and letters, including the absence of language, receive a cohesion which is dubious. The result is a very delicate balance on the very edge of the abyss of silence and meaninglessness.  

 

 

Olga Fischer

 

University of Amsterdam/ACLC

 

An iconic, analogical approach to grammaticalization

 

The number of phenomena which are gathered together under the term ‘grammaticalization’ is quite large and in some ways quite diverse. For the different types of grammaticalization similar motivating factors have been suggested, similar principles, clines and hierarchies. Some of Lehmann’s (1982[1995], 1985) parameters, which have long been considered to characterize processes of grammaticalization, are now under attack from various quarters, and indeed the phenomenon of grammaticalization itself has been questioned as an independent mechanism in language change. This paper addresses a number of problems connected with the ‘apparatus’ used in grammaticalization theory and with the various types of grammaticalization currently distinguished. It will be argued that we get a better grip on what happens in processes of grammaticalization (and its ‘opposite’ lexicalization) if the process is viewed in terms of analogical processes, which are part of our general cognitive abilities. These analogical processes are connected with the modes of iconic and indexical thinking, which are prior to and underlie the mode of symbolic thinking (cf. Deacon 1993). I will make use of a simple model of an analogical or usage-based grammar (cf. Tomasello 2003), in which a distinction is made between processes taking place on a token level and those taking place on a type level. The model also involves taking more notice of the form of linguistic signs and of the synchronic grammar system at each stage of the grammaticalization process.

 

 

William J. Herlofsky

                        

Nagoya Gakuin University

 

What iconic signing spaces can tell us about mental spaces                  

 

Much of my recent research on iconicity in Japan Sign Language  (Herlofsky 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) can be generally situated within a broadly defined cognitive linguistic framework in that it is motivated by the following three basic premises:

 

 - The ultimate objective of cognitive science is to understand how the brain functions.

 - The ultimate objective of cognitive linguistics is to understand how language phenomena are related to brain functions.

 - Some iconic expressions may be particularly valuable for providing clues for understanding how language phenomena are related to brain functions.

 

While the first two premises are uncontroversial, the third is a bit more speculative, in that it is based on the assumption that the structure of some linguistic expressions, especially the shapes and movements of certain iconic signs in sign languages, may, to some extent, mirror their related cognitive structures, and can therefore serve as effectiveprobes for investigating how language phenomena are related to brain functions. This will also be the basic assumption of the present paper, in which I will attempt to demonstrate how certain 'proto-scenes', which have been proposed by Tyler and Evans (2001, 2003) to be abstract mental representations of frequently occurring spatial scenes, appear to be structurally reflected in the iconic signs of Japan Sign Language (JSL). Section two will offer a brief summary of the framework developed by Tyler and Evans for explaining the relationship between the imagistic proto-scenes, spatial scenes and polysemy, and then, in section three, a detailed illustration of a polysemy network formed by such proto-scenes, in this case, the semantic network proposed for the English preposition 'over', will be provided, and compared with numerous JSL signs. It will be shown that the structures of the diagrammatic representations of proto-scenes proposed by Tyler and Evans appear to be mirrored rather directly in the shapes and movements of some semantically related JSL signs,  providing indirect support for the existence of these iconic mental representations.

 

 

Axel Hübler

 

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena

 

A culture-historical approach to conceptual metaphors. A case study on argument is war

 

As Vanparys (1995) has already intimated, the argument-is-war metaphor that Lakoff/Johnson (1980) uncovered is not entirely convincing because the repertoire of meta-communicative expressions at stake shows less coherence with it than one would expect. In line with recent culture-specific views on cognitive metaphors (cf. Kövecses, to appear), this paper will bring the relevant metaphors into an historical perspective and identify, instead, different, yet inter-related experiential bases of a culture-specific brand. At the center of the present investigation is the courtly culture of the 16th /17th century, with tennis among  the cultural practices of determining impact. In fact, tennis will be shown to have served as principal donor domain for the metaphorical conceptualization of argument. The cultural significance of  tennis will be elaborated along two lines. First, the high profile status of tennis as a social sport will be outlined by drawing on accounts of tennis in contemporary literature. Second, its specific cultural role will be evaluated in the context of the civilizing process (in the sense of  Norbert Elias 1939/1982) and its sequential appearance after ‘warfare’ and ‘knightly tournament’ – as ‘tennis match’. This history then helps ‘unlock’ the metaphorical conceptualizations of argument. Just as the tennis match in its historical context incorporates elements of tournament and ultimately also of warfare, so the metaphors drawing on concept tennis match also include fight and war-like motifs. We can certainly speak here of an analogical relationship between metaphor and history. Moreover, the metaphorization of argument in terms of  tennis match assigns to the social practice of argumentation, in turn, the role as latest successor in this civilizing process.

 

 

Carmen Teržan Kopecky

 

University of Maribor

 

Structural Iconicity as a Parameter of Syntactic Innovation – an Interlingual Perspective

 

The paper deals with the problem of syntactic innovation in general, with special focus on the Slovene and German languages in particular. The main interest is concentrated on the grammaticalization phases of the syntactic variants of the categories Aspect, Tense and Modality.

The theoretical background is offered by  Naturalness Theory (NT). The main postulates are derived from the proposition of  NT (Mayerthaler, Dressler, Wurzel, Teržan Kopecky et al.),  which claims that more natural grammatical/language variants are less marked and are consequently in the process of the language evolution  as well as language acquisition earlier developed than more marked and consequently less natural grammatical/structural variants. An important fact is, that markedness (cognitive complexity) is, specially in the grammaticalization phase of a new structure/category, closely related to the iconic properties of the observed linguistic elements (in a mimetic sense). According to the Slovene Model of Natural Syntax which will be presented in this paper by showing the movement of specific syntactic structures (Aspect, Tense, epistemic and non-epistemic Modality) through their different grammaticalization phases in German and –considering the tokens of the observed constructions in the Slovene translations of the observed German literary works, representing the 19th and the 20th century, also in Slovene. It is claimed that the markedness level of the microgrammatical context of the observed grammatical categories and their structural variants, being more /less iconic verbalisations, show systematic sensitivity in correlation with the cognitive complexity of the structures involved and/or the grammaticalization process as follows: higher cognitive complexity shows a positive correlation to higher markedness degrees of the microgrammatical context of the observed categories and/or constructions and a stronger dependence on the principle of structural iconicity.

The statistically verified samples (German literary works and their Slovene translations) were compared on the basis of the analyses of the microgrammatical context (e.g. Person, Number, Tense, Voice, Transitivity etc.) with which the observed categories and their verbal expressions collocate and the structural iconicity.

The  statistical results drawn from the corpus are used as a verification frame of the above postulates.

 

 

KEYNOTE:

 

Anatoly Liberman

 

University of Minnesota

 

Iconicity and Etymology

 

 

In the vast literature on the role of semiotics in the process of communication, the place of iconicity in the history of language has attracted little attention.  One comes across statements that certain words are of imitative (echoic) origin, and from time to time expressivity is made responsible for irregular sound change, but those are marginal remarks.  Onomatopoeia and sound symbolism are important subjects in some works on the origin of language, and it may seem that a leap from the rise of language to the words we use is not particularly hard to make.  Yet even languages considerably less amenable to change than those belonging to the Indo-European family arose tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, while the written records at our disposal are recent (in comparison).  Obviously, the emergence of language and the etymology of modern vocabulary cannot, without reservations, be treated as two sides of the same problem. 

 

For over twenty years I have been working on a new etymological dictionary of English, and, as a practicing lexicographer, I am more interested in method than in theory.  In my talk, I will touch on the role of sound symbolism and onomatopoeia in the formation of words, look at these phenomena from the point of view of both modern speakers and our putative ancestors (to the extent that it is possible), and offer a few guidelines to etymologists adhering to the traditional methods of investigation (that is, researchers who realize that no etymology is possible without strict adherence to sound correspondences) and, at the same time, trying to do justice to the role of iconicity in the growth of language.   My material will be mostly English.

 

 

Christina Ljungberg

 

University of Zurich

 

Diagrammatic figurations as textual performance

 

Signs are dynamic mediators having the potential to re-present, in the sense of making representation present and material, ‘bringing something into someone’s presence’. Signs that do not represent are a contradiction in terms and sign generation is always a dynamic process by which one sign generates another in dialogue, moving from one interpretant to the next. Not only does this constant movement in textual space put the focus on the second person, the addressee who defines speech acts “most keenly” (Bal 1999: 19) but it also makes representation itself performative and dynamic and, hence, fundamental to all meaning production. The practices and processes by which various forms of signs are generated (say, e.g., the cartographical procedures by which maps are drawn, more generally, the diagrammatic ones by which networks of relationships are iconically represented) are themselves performances (maps are always both the result of mappings and the impetus for re-mappings).  Literary texts provide us with unique resources for exploring, among other matters, the performative dimensions of these complex practices and processes.  Looking at texts by, e.g. Paul Auster, John Banville, Kiran Desai, and Carole Shields, I will thus argue that diagrammatic figurations in narrative texts involve both performance and performativity, as they pull both the mediality and the materiality of the text into focus, transforming it into a stage on which textual activity is performed as a dramatic dialogue between writer, text and reader.

 

References

Bal, Mieke.  “Basic Instincts and Their Discontents.” Text and Visuality: Word & Image Interactions 3. Ed. Martin Heusser et al. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999. 13-32.

 

 

 

Franco Manai

 

University of Auckland

 

Narrative discourse as re-narration of icons: the case of The Gospel according to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago

 

The first chapter of Jose Saramago’s Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the description of one of the most famous engravings, in the iconographic tradition, of Jesus Christ’s death: The Crucifixion by Dürer. This chapter is a mise en abyme of the whole novel: just like the first chapter is a reinterpretation of a traditional  icon,  the rest of the novel is a re-reading of the traditional representation of Jesus’ life. In this paper we will discuss the implications on a literary level of a narrative discourse organized on such a play between text and icon.

            In fact, Saramago’s Gospel stands on the iconic ground provided by the synoptic Gospels. In their turn the Gospels stand on the iconic ground provided by the Old Testament, and the latter consists of a complex play of mutual references, where each single story and each single figure take their meaning by some common “property” they share with other stories and figures somewhere in the holy books.

            This kind of “mirror game”, strongly stressed in Saramago’s novel by the continued references the characters make to the Old Testament, a game where the signifiers lose their arbitrariness, structurally reflects the main theme of the book, the relationship between authority and responsibility.

 

 

Wolfgang G. Müller

 

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena

 

Metrical Inversion and Enjambment in the Context of Syntactic and Morphological Structures: Towards a Poetics of Verse

 

A comprehensive investigation of the iconicity of verse in the context of the poem’s  linguistic structures is a desideratum. The only useful contribution in this field is Christoph Küper’s study Metrum und Sprache (1988). The recent monograph by Thomas Carper und Derek Attridge lacks, despite its promising title, Meter and Meaning (2003), a theoretical basis and does without the term iconicity. – The proposed paper looks at the interdependence of metrical and linguistic units, focussing on phenomena such as metrical inversion and enjambment in the context of syntactic and morphological structures. While metrical texts favour (diagrammatic) iconicity as a result of equivalence (repetition) on the level of stress, foot, verse, stanza etc., another – no less important – source for iconicity is to be found in non-equivalent phenomena such as metrical inversion and enjambment. An example would be the beginning of the first line of a sonnet by Keats – “Much have I travelled in the realms of gold” – where metrical inversion coincides with syntactic inversion. The basis for enjambment is a discrepancy between metrical and syntactic structures, a discrepancy which may even affect morphology, as is the case at the beginning of Hopkins’ The Windhover, where the change from the first verse to the second results in cutting asunder the morphological constituents of a word: “I caught this morning morning’s minion, king- / dom of daylight’s dauphin […]”. The paper will explore the iconic potential of specific metrical phenomena. Examples will be  taken from English and American poetry. After the analysis of individual texts wider perspectives will be opened. Having demonstrated, at the level of meter, the interaction of the principles of equivalence and non-equivalence – which is, according to Jakobson, a fundamental quality of poetic texts in general – the paper will point the way towards a poetics of verse.

 

 

KEYNOTE:

 

Jacobus Naudé

 

University of the Free State

 

Iconicity and the Developments in Translation Studies

 

A fundamental issue with reference to the translation process concerns the type of relation between the original and the translated text. Peirce indicates three possibilities: icon, index and symbol. For many scholars it is a given that the relation of similarity between the original text and the translated text predominates and that the iconic relation ordinarily describes the character of translation. However, evidence is provided in this paper to show from a theoretical viewpoint (i.e. from that of translation studies) and a practical viewpoint (with examples provided) that a relationship between source text and target text which is characterised as iconic can only be weakly iconic because a target text can never fully resemble its source text in every respect linguistically and culturally. Furthermore in certain cases an indexical or symbolic relationship rather than an iconic one may even predominate. Since the 1980s, discourses about translation have broadened steadily. An outflow of these developments is a greater understanding of the superordinate categories of translation and the fact that the relation between source and target text is no longer only one of resemblance (i.e. iconicity). An example of iconicity from the Koran and its translation is provided as evidence for a predominant, but weak iconic relationship between source text and target text. Examples from the Sesotho Bible translation and Das neue Testament illustrate that the predominant relationship can also be indexical or symbolic (rather than iconic), respectively.

 

 

 

 

Strother Purdy

 

Bridgewater, Connecticut (Formerly University of Wisconsin and American University of Beirut)

 

Iconicity in 1773, the disreputable genius of Hamann

Johan Georg Hamann (1730--1788),  whose massive learning, striking arguments
against the reign of Enlightened Reason, and impenetrably complex style
earned him the lefthanded tribute of being deemed the "Magus of the North,"
has for the most part been either damned as a champion of irrationality and
blackened, along with Nietzsche, as a fugelman for the coming horrors of
National Socialism, or simply ignored, given little more than passing
mention in literary history, despite the redemptive efforts (in English) of
a tentative Isaiah Berlin and a wholehearted James C. O'Flaherty. This has
lost most of us a rewarding awareness of a great  precursor of  Sterne and
of Joyce, as David Hart points out,  Joyce now coming to be recognized as
having having completed the return of literature to language, the
accomplishment that marks forever the modern era, by that most Hamannian of
works, Finnegans Wake.  With or without such a contemporary viewpoint,  the
extensive writings of Hamann on language provide a rich field for semiotic
inquiry. It is striking that Winfried Nöth calls Hamann a pansemiotician,
"theological" indeed, but full of literary value. It is his linguistic tour
de force, the  "New Apology for the Letter H" (Neue Apologie des Buchstaben
h)  in the zweite verbesserte edition of 1773 , that I propose to explore
for its awe inspiring progress from the icon of breathing to ultimate
mysteries, theological or no.


Etienne Terblanche

North-West University, Potchefstroom

Iconicities of Naming in E. E. Cummings’s Poetry

 

In a paper at the preceding conference of Krakow, Michael Webster and I spoke about an i-O dance in Cummings’s poetry.  We argue there that his poems use these letters as micro-ideograms to mime a charged, fundamental awareness of natural existence.  For instance, the air poem steers its “i” to disappear behind the visual horizon of the text, so to iconize with precision a mergence of speaker, star, and being—in the process of a star brightening in the increasing twilight. 

      But what about the level of sound when it comes to the dance of these signs?  This paper builds on the preceding one by arguing that the i-O dance further involves what the American anthropologist Brent Berlin refers to as size-sound symbolism.  This form of motivated language occurs when sound patterns mark or mime animal sizes in various languages.  As good an example as any is bung for toad and p’ilich for grasshopper (119).  In this set, the lower frequencies goes to the bigger animal, while the smaller animal carries the higher frequencies, thus carrying something of their features in their names.  By reading Cummings against this background, the paper demonstrates how the higher-frequency “i” acts as a kind of smaller precursor to entering into conditions of greater, more active and complete inclusivity associated with the lower-frequency “O.”  Poems that show this include the leaf poem and its earlier prototype, “blac!,” among others, as well as the i-O poems analyzed at the preceding conference, and more.  The paper thus finds that visual and audial iconisms correspond with a stripped and rich poetic suggestiveness in “i” and “O” as Cummings employs them, thus to mime entrance into movement that goes along with being (nature).  In provisional conclusion, the paper offers one or two confirmations: 1) both arbitrariness and motivation are necessary and active components in Cummings, and, as the Italian linguist Mario Alinei argues (114), probably in language at large.  In view of Alinei’s work it could be argued further that Cummings revitalizes originally motivated aspects of language—this could be part of an explanation for his evocations of freshness, newness, and originality.  2) There is motivation between sign and thing (or sign and environmental change), but this is not atavistic: it is of a profoundly subtle and powerful nature, as found in Cummings’s poems and in the languages studied by students of naming (of which size-sound symbolism is part). 3) There is also increasing proof that nature enters language, and language nature, of which iconicity can be a vital dynamic, especially in combination with naming.  Also in provisional conclusion, the paper deliberates briefly on the exact position of sound-symbolism and naming in general with a view to studies in iconicity, and vice versa.

 

Bibliography

 

Cummings, E. E. Complete Poems 1904-1962.  New York: Liveright, 1994.

 

Sanga, Glauco & Ortalli, Gherardo (eds.). Nature Knowledge: Ethnoscience, Cognition, and Utility. New York: Berghahn, 2004.



[1] Diese Spuren auf ihr Vorhandensein und ihre modifizierten Ausformungen  hin zu verfolgen macht sich die vorliegende Analyse unter anderem  zur Aufgabe.

Dabei bedient sich die Autorin dieser  „Einflüsse“ aus der neueren Tradition im Einzelnen eher zurückhaltend, wobei sie gerade in dieser moderaten Ver­wen­dung, in mini­ma­len Details innovative Originalität beweist.

[2] Mayröcker, Friederike -Entwurf zu einem Traktat über den Tag der Unschuldigen Kinder“ (28.11.77-11.1.78)

In: Gesammelte Gedichte, 1939-2004, Frankfurt 2004, S.300-306

[3] Mayröcker legt geradezu eine bildliche Satzzeichenkunst an den Tag, die Parallelen zu ihren, oftmals an Paul Klee erinnernden Strichmännchen­zeich­nungen zeigen, welche  eher selten in ihrem Werk auftauchen, und als Abfallprodukte ihrer Verbaltexte gelten.