A Grammar of Iconism

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Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Jan 1, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 399 pages
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Literary criticism often includes ad hoc comments about onomatopoeia, synaesthesia, or other forms of iconism. In A Grammar of Iconism, Earl Anderson discusses these phenomena systematically. According to Anderson, modern post-Saussurian linguistics has as its central tenet the arbitrariness of linguistic signs. Thus, linguistic elements that bear some relationship to their referent have been seen as marginal to the system of language, or at best similar in their arbitrariness to other linguistic signs. As an example of the latter, while most languages have an onomatopoeic element, different languages imitate sounds differently. Anderson argues against the standard view, provides a detailed critique of the negative arguments against iconism, and offers a positive typology that demonstrates the extensiveness and complexity of iconism in language.

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Iconism and Expressiveness
Syntactic Iconism

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About the author (1998)

Earl R. Anderson is professor of English and chair at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio.

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