Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Iconicity can be contrasted with “arbitrariness.” What we now call “iconicity” was until fairly recently restricted to mainly onomatopoeia. Accepting double articulation as an unchallengeable universal, John Haiman argues that there is no constant correlation between submorphemic sounds and meanings. This article argues with Haiman in maintaining that iconicity is not to be found primarily in the lexicon, at least not in the inventory of its roots, which are arbitrary for the most part. Rather, it should be looked for in the system of grammatical rules for combining these roots to express complex concepts. Thus, Haiman's concern—and this article's—is with the grammars of languages. This article discusses iconicity and linguistics, icons as signs, three kinds of icons (imagic icon, metaphor, diagram), diagrammatic iconicity (isomorphism and motivation, and iconicity and markedness (semantic markedness and the prototypical speaker). It also explores some instances of iconicity and especially of diagrammatic iconicity in the various components of grammar: phonology, morphology, and syntax.

Keywords: iconicity, syntax, morphology, phonology, arbitrariness, grammars, languages, linguistics, signs, icons

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.