The Motivated Sign

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  • Editors: Olga Fischer1, and Max Nänny2
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2001
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027299338

This volume, a sequel to <i>Form Miming Meaning</i> (1999), offers a selection of papers given at the second international symposium on iconicity (Amsterdam 1999). In the light of semiotic, linguistic and literary theory the studies gathered here investigate how iconicity works on all levels of language, in literary texts and other forms of verbal discourse. They investigate, among other subjects, the semiotic foundations of iconicity, the role played by iconicity in language evolution and in the way words are positioned syntactically. Special consideration is given to the iconic nature of metaphor and the &#8216;<i>mise en abyme</i>&#8217;, to iconically motivated punctuation and other typographic matters such as the manipulation of colour, fonts and spacing in advertising and in poetry. Other studies show how iconicity influences Shakespeare&#8217;s rhetoric, the structural design of Margaret Atwood&#8217;s writings and the changing fashions in fictional landscape description. Thus, these analyses of &#8216;the motivated sign&#8217; represent yet another strong challenge to &#8220;Saussure&#8217;s dogma of arbitrariness&#8221; (Jakobson).<br />

Subjects: Syntax; Cognition and language; Discourse studies

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam; 2: University of Zürich

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