Signergy

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The title of this volume strives to capture the dynamic scope and range of the essays it contains, applying insights into the workings of iconicity to texts as far removed from each other in time as the Medieval tale of a bishop-fish and the war-poems of 20th century Italian Futurist F.T. Marinetti, and as thematically diverse as the Pilgrim’s Progress and the poetry of e.e. cummings. Applications reference both language and linguistics as well as literature and literary theory – and related fields such as sign ...
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Overview

The title of this volume strives to capture the dynamic scope and range of the essays it contains, applying insights into the workings of iconicity to texts as far removed from each other in time as the Medieval tale of a bishop-fish and the war-poems of 20th century Italian Futurist F.T. Marinetti, and as thematically diverse as the Pilgrim’s Progress and the poetry of e.e. cummings. Applications reference both language and linguistics as well as literature and literary theory – and related fields such as sign language and translation; the former approached from the point of view of Japan Sign Language, the latter with reference to translations of the Koran and the Sesotho Bible, as well as modern German and English Bible translations. On the language side, the intricate relationships between sound symbolism and etymology, and between analogy and grammaticalization are examined in depth. On the literary side, the iconic effects of techniques such as enjambment and metrical inversion are considered, but also the ways in which an understanding of iconicity can open up meanings in complex poetry, like that of the Afrikaans poet T.T. Cloete – in this particular instance three poems inspired by figures as diverse as Dante, Paul Klee and the pop icon Marilyn Monroe. In view of the fact that form is able to mime meaning and meaning itself can be mimed by meaning, the theoretical question is asked – on the basis of a wide range of examples from literature, language, music and other sign-systems – whether meaning can also mime form. An introduction to the work of H.C.T. Müller, an early scholar in the field of iconicity, highlights a regrettably little known South African contribution to the development of iconicity theory.
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