2015 University of Tübingen

2015   University of Tübingen, Germany

Tenth International Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature, 26-28 March 2015


The tenth in a series of biennial international and interdisciplinary symposia organized by the Iconicity Research Project since 1997, this meeting will once again focus on iconicity – understood as form miming meaning and form, and meaning miming form and meaning – in language and in literature. It will especially welcome proposals for papers dedicated to the issues of literary linguistics. This may comprise semantic, pragmatic and cognitive dimensions of iconicity and will also establish a link with the Tübingen research projects on ambiguity (www.ambiguitaet.uni-tuebingen.de) and on interpretability (as part of the collaborative research center “The Construction of Meaning” www.sfb833.uni-tuebingen.de).

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 and metaphors at all levels of the literary text, in both narrative and poetic forms, and on all varieties of discourse (literary texts, historical texts, political texts, advertising, language and music, word and image, etc.). These possibilities remain open for the 2015 symposium.

The meeting will be hosted by the Eberhard-Karls University of Tübingen. Tübingen can be easily reached by bus from Stuttgart airport, or by train (www.bahn.de). The symposium language will be English. Presentation time for papers will be 30 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

A selected number of essays will be published in our series at John Benjamins on Iconicity in Language and Literature (ILL).


Keynote speakers: Tom Conley (Harvard), Sybille Krämer (Freie Universität Berlin) and Pamela Perniss (University of Brighton).

Please note that there will be a special session on "Iconic Silence," suggested by Prof. Michal Ephratt.
The session on "Iconic Silence" will be devoted to the use of verbal silence, the deliberate choice of the speaker/writer to silence a word, a phrase or a larger semantic/syntactic linguistic unit, not in order to conceal, or breakdown interaction, and not out of ignorance but as an iconic means of expression. Silence can be a pure icon when facing intimacy and no need for words, it can be a diagram, such as the iconic representation of death, loss and absence by silence. It can also be a symbol (Peirce's thirdness) as the iconic elimination of Hertz: "Avis. We try harder." (as the linguistic syntactic complement, and the pragmatic competitor).
        The session welcomes presentations looking at the iconic qualities of verbal silence and their use in daily life, in literature (such as Hamlet) and art, in interpersonal discourse as well as in public – rhetoric speech, advertisements, religion and culture (such as "the name of the father), Wittgenstein's' conclusion of the Tractate, etc. etc.   Other kinds of iconic silence such as pictorial, musical or gestural silence are also welcome - in painting, music or in gesture and dance. If you wish to submit a paper to this particular topic, please indicate this in your abstract.
       Session proposals and abstracts (ca 300 words) together with a brief c.v. should be sent (preferably by email) to the organizers before

                                        15 November 2014


For further information about the Iconicity project, please consult our website: 



For hotel bookings, registration and other information, please check our conference website:


Prof. Dr. Olga Fischer                         Prof. Dr. Christina Ljungberg       

Universiteit van Amsterdam               University of Zurich       

Spuistraat 210                                      Plattenstrasse 47 

1012VT Amsterdam                            8032 Zurich

The Netherlands                                   Switzerland 

Phone: +31-20-5253825                      Phone: +41-44-6343551

Fax: +31-20-5253052;                         Fax: +41-44-6344908

E-mail:  O.C.M.Fischer@uva.nl          Email: cljung@es.uzh.ch


Local organizers: Prof. Dr. Matthias Bauer and Dr. Angelika Zirker
Eberhard-Karls Universitaet Tuebingen
72074 Tuebingen

Phone: +49-7071-2978469

E-mail: m.bauer@uni-tuebingen.de / angelika.zirker@uni-tuebingen.de