Cross-modal iconicity: A cognitive semiotic approach to sound symbolism

Sign Systems Studies 38 (1/4):298-346 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is being increasingly recognized that the Saussurean dictum of “the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign” is in conflict with the pervasiveness of the phenomenon commonly known as “sound symbolism”. After first presenting a historical overview of the debate, however, we conclude that both positions have been exaggerated, and that an adequate explanation of sound symbolism is still lacking. How can there, for example, be similarity between expressionsand contents across different sensory modalities? We offer an answer, based on the Peircian notion of iconic ground, and G. Sonesson’s distinction betweenprimary and secondary iconicity. Furthermore, we describe an experimental study, in a paradigm first pioneered by W. Kohler, and recently popularized by V.Ramachandran, in which we varied vowels and consonants in fictive word-forms, and conclude that both types of sounds play a role in perceiving an iconic ground between the word-forms and visual figures. The combination of historical conceptual analysis, semiotic explication and psychological experimentationpresented in this article is characteristic of the emerging paradigm of cognitive semiotics.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,662

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Audio-Visual Objects.Michael Kubovy & Michael Schutz - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (1):41-61.
The Circular Semiosis of Giorgio Prodi.Felice Cimatti - 2000 - Sign Systems Studies 28:351-378.
The Circular Semiosis of Giorgio Prodi.Felice Cimatti - 2000 - Sign Systems Studies 28:351-378.
Mimesis as a Phenomenon of Semiotic Communication.Timo Maran - 2003 - Sign Systems Studies 31 (1):191-215.
A Cognitive Linguistic Study of Colour Symbolism.Minoru Ohtsuki - 2000 - Institute for the Research and Education of Language, Daito-Bunka University.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-04-04

Downloads
58 (#202,470)

6 months
1 (#419,921)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?