forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 507  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Cheryl Zapien
Date:  Wed Oct 28, 1998  4:37 am
Subject:  Re: iconicity

Joe Martin wrote:

> My 1.5 cents;
> Ferdinand De Saussure is widely acknowledged to be a founder of modern
> linguistics. One of his big contributions was to define the linguistic
> sign, which I will unpompously call an LS (normal people would
> say "a word." But it's confusing, cuz for us smart people on this list it
> can mean either a spoken word or an ASL-or-other-signed-language-Sign.
> Phew!).
> He saw this LS as a trinity--1) a meaning, 2) a symbol, 3) an
> *arbitrary* link between the two. The opposite of arbitrary is *iconic,
> meaning there is something about the symbol itself that tells you what it
> means. THe big deal was that human languages didn't have this iconicity; to
> use a standard example, there is nothing about the sound combinations
> "gato," "kot," "cat," or "neko," that tell you they refer to a cute little
> furry.

However there are words in English and other spoken languages which sound like
their meaning. For example: Thunder. or better yet: teeny tiny. These
onomonopaeic words are, for all intents and purposes iconic. My 2 cents.


  Message 507  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index