IASS Conference/BERKELEY, JUNE 1994

American "COMICS": a Semiolinguistic analysis.
Alan C. Harris, Professor, Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge

CONTACT:
Alan C. Harris, Ph.D., Professor, Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge, Speech Communication Department:
SPCH, CSUN, Northridge, California, 91330; Telno: wk: (818)885-2853/2874;
hm: (818)780-8872; FAX: 818-885-2663

(C) Copyright, 1994, Alan C. Harris, Ph. D., Los Angeles, CA.


ABSTRACT:

Cartoon creation may be viewed as a process of symbolization (semiosis) that constructs some social reality for the rhetorical purpose of presenting to an audience material that evokes amusement or mirth. Cartoon creation often involves conscious manipulation of linguistic structures and forms to achieve rhetorical suasion with its often, but not necessarily always, subsequent gelastic result. The author conducts a linguistic and communicational semiotic analysis of this manipulation by means of a foregrounding conceptual framework. Several exemplary cartoons are reviewed and instances of linguistic manipulation are identified, categorized, and explained.

The study results in a "heuristic" for semiotically analyzing language phenomena in an amusement-evoking (humorous) genre. The semiotic analysis has validity as a demonstration of how human beings state aspects of, conditions of, issues in, or beliefs about culture and society. It is, therefore, an applied, interpretive strategy for symbolically analyzing language phenomena in a visual and literary text. In more detail, it may be said that for the purpose of generating amusement and, thereby, communicating a message that has high rhetorical impact, cartoonists and other creators of visual/literate humorous material a) manipulate linguistic entities in a rule- or construct-breaking manner; b) break these rules in a lexical, morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic, idiomatic, pragmatic, discursive, conversational, or any combination of these generally well-understood linguistic/communicational components; c) manipulate this linguistic knowledge and transform it into the visual and literary icon (symbolic representation); d) tie the linguistic/visual (semiotic) to environment, i.e., culture, society, ethnos, ritual, mores, and the like; and, finally, e) via the above, set conditions for the viewership to entertain the manipulation--the absurdity, or, if you will, the anti-rational construct--and then to recover the original material by logical, deductive, likely abductive means so that the viewership is engaged heuristically in reconstructing the activity of the maker of the humor-generating material.

By understanding the nature of the construction and resolution of such material, communication theorists, semioticians, language and social action theorists, linguists, and humor theorists and specialists get a better grasp of the nature of meaningfulness, the semiotic process whereby human beings utilize such visual/linguistic material to explain, cope with, comprehend, inform themselves of the stuff of life, i.e., how human beings socially construct their reality. An important claim here is that the humor-generating material places a stronger demand on the reader-/viewership than the ordinary or general use of language and, therefore, the rhetorical, communicative, humorous (often gelastic) effect and impact are more pronounced. This alone is rationale enough for scholars in the semiotic, linguistic, and communication disciplines to invest time and effort in and on humor genre studies. COUNT: 443

CONDENSED ABSTRACT:

Title: American "COMICS": a Semiolinguistic analysis.
Author: Alan C. Harris, California State University, Northridge

Cartoon creation is semiosis that constructs some social reality for the rhetorical purpose of presenting to an audience material that evokes mirth. Cartoon creation often involves conscious manipulation of linguistic structures and forms to achieve rhetorical suasion with subsequent gelastic result. The author conducts a linguistic and communicational semiotic analysis of this manipulation by means of a foregrounding framework. Several exemplary cartoons are reviewed and instances of linguistic manipulation are identified, categorized, and explained.

A SEMIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF CARTOONS:
HUMOR, COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY

[proposal: for presentation at annual meeting, Semiotic Society of America, St. Louis, Fall, 1993]

Alan C. Harris, Professor,
Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge

CONTACT:
Alan C. Harris, Ph.D., Professor, Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge,
Speech Communication Department:
SPCH, CSUN, Northridge, California, 91330;
wk: (818)885-2853/2874
hm: (818)780-8872
FAX: 818-885-2663

(C) Copyright, 1993, Alan C. Harris, Ph. D., Los Angeles, CA.

A SEMIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF CARTOONS: HUMOR,
COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY

Alan C. Harris, Professor,
Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge

[proposal: for presentation at annual meeting, Semiotic
Society of America, St. Louis, Fall, 1993]

BRIEF ABSTRACT:

Cartoon creation may be viewed as semiosis that constructs some social reality for the rhetorical purpose of presenting to an audience material that evokes mirth. Cartoon creation often involves conscious manipulation of linguistic structures and forms to achieve rhetorical suasion with subsequent gelastic result. The author conducts a linguistic and communicational semiotic analysis of this manipulation by means of a foregrounding framework. Several exemplary cartoons are reviewed and instances of linguistic manipulation are identified, categorized, and explained.

[volunteered paper, behavior, communication,
culture,language/linguistics, humor]

A SEMIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF CARTOONS: HUMOR,
COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY

[proposal: for presentation at annual meeting, Semiotic
Society of America, St. Louis, Fall, 1993]

LONGER ABSTRACT:

Cartoon creation may be viewed as a process of symbolization (semiosis) that constructs some social reality for the rhetorical purpose of presenting to an audience material that evokes amusement or mirth. Cartoon creation often involves conscious manipulation of linguistic structures and forms to achieve rhetorical suasion with its often, but not necessarily always, subsequent gelastic result. The author conducts a linguistic and communicational semiotic analysis of this manipulation by means of a foregrounding conceptual framework. Several exemplary cartoons are reviewed and instances of linguistic manipulation are identified, categorized, and explained.

The study results in a "heuristic" for semiotically analyzing language phenomena in an amusement-evoking (humorous) genre. The semiotic analysis has validity as a demonstration of how human beings state aspects of, conditions of, issues in, or beliefs about culture and society. It is, therefore, an applied, interpretive strategy for symbolically analyzing language phenomena in a visual and literary text.

In more detail, it may be said that for the purpose of generating amusement and, thereby, communicating a message that has high rhetorical impact, cartoonists and other creators of visual/literate humorous material a) manipulate linguistic entities in a rule- or construct-breaking manner; b) break these rules in a lexical, morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic, idiomatic, pragmatic, discursive, conversational, or any combination of these generally well-understood linguistic/communicational components; c) manipulate this linguistic knowledge and transform it into the visual and literary icon (symbolic representation); d) tie the linguistic/visual (semiotic) to environment, i.e., culture, society, ethnos, ritual, mores, and the like; and, finally, e) via the above, set conditions for the viewership to entertain the manipulation--the absurdity, or, if you will, the anti-rational construct--and then to recover the original material by logical, deductive, likely abductive means so that the viewership is engaged heuristically in reconstructing the activity of the maker of the humor-generating material.

By understanding the nature of the construction and resolution of such material, communication theorists, semioticians, language and social action theorists, linguists, and humor theorists and specialists get a better grasp of the nature of meaningfulness, the semiotic process whereby human beings utilize such visual/linguistic material to explain, cope with, comprehend, inform themselves of the stuff of life, i.e., how human bings socially constuct their reality. Am important claim here is that the humor-generating material places a stronger demand on the reader-/viewership than the ordinary or general use of language and, therefore, the rhetorical, communicative, humorous (often gelastic) effect and impact are more pronounced. This alone is rationale enough for scholars in the semiotic, linguistic, and communication disciplines to invest time and effort in and on humor genre studies.

A SEMIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF CARTOONS: HUMOR,
COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY

Alan C. Harris, Professor,
Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge

CONTACT:
Alan C. Harris, Ph.D., Professor, Communication and Linguistics,
California State University, Northridge,
Speech Communication Department:
SPCH, CSUN, Northridge, California, 91330;
wk: (818)885-2853/2874
hm: (818)780-8872
FAX: 818-885-2663

Running Head: Cartoon/Semioling: Harris

(C) Copyright, 1993, Alan C. Harris, Ph. D., Los Angeles, CA.

ABSTRACT:
Advertising may be viewed as the construction of semiotic worlds for the rhetorical purpose of swaying purchasers to buy what is advertised. Print advertising often involves conscious manipulation of linguistic structures and forms to achieve the suasion. The author conducts a strict linguistic and communicational semiotic analysis of this type of manipulation by means of a linguistic foregrounding framework. Several exemplary print advertisements are reviewed and instances of linguistic manipulation are identified, categorized, and explained. The study results in an applied, interpretive "heuristic" for semiotically analyzing language phenomena in an advertising genre. In addition, the analysis has validity for our own age as we use material in apparel to state aspects of, conditions of, issues in, or beliefs about our culture. The study, moreover, results in an applied, interpretive strategy for symbolically analyzing language phenomena in a literary creation.

COMMUNICATIVE PARAMETERS OF HUMOR
(Harris, WSCA, 1991)

INFORMAL CLAIM AND RATIONALE re:

Communicative Parameters of Humor

For the purpose of generating amusement and, thereby, communicating a message that has high rehetorical impact, cartoonists and other creators of visual/literate humorous material:

a) manipulate linguistic entities in a rule- or construct-breaking manner;

b) break these rules in a lexical, morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, discursive, conversational, semiotic, or any combination of these generally well-understood linguistic/communicational components;

c) manipulate this linguistic knowledge and transform it into the visual icon (symbolic representation);

d) tie the linguistic/visual (semiotic) to environment, i.e., culture, society, ethnos, ritual, mores, and the like;

e) via the above, set conditions for the viewership to entertain the manipulation--the absurdity, or, if you will, the anti-rational construct--and then to recover the original material by logical, deductive, more likely, abductive means so that the viewership is engaged heuristically in reconstructing the activity of the maker of the humor-generating material.

By understanding the nature of the construction and resolution of such material, communication theorists, language and social action theorists, linguists, and humor theorists and specialists get a better grasp of the nature of meaningfulness, the semiotic process whereby human beings might utilize such visual/linguistic material to explain, cope with, comprehend, inform themselves of the stuff of life. The humor-generating material places a stronger demand on the reader-/viewership than the ordinary or general use of language and, therefore, the rhetorical, communicative effect and impact is more pronounced. This alone is rationale enough for scholars in the communication disciplines to invest their time and effort in and on humor studies.

Advertisers have as their rhetorical purpose the presentation and exhibition of a product or service and the exhortation and coercion of the potential purchasing population to the extent that that population becomes actual. Simply put, advertisers try by the various means at their disposal to get people to buy the product or service advertised. Moreover, advertisers want potential purchasers to consider what is advertised to the exclusion of all other similar products or services. They therefore attempt to construct an advertisement that will fully involve the attention of the potential purchaser and which will have a suasive effect. Advertisers thus create a semiotic world in order to persuade their audience of the essential "rightness" of purchasing the product or service advertised.
Print advertising offers a particularly rich medium for understanding how advertisers attempt to achieve suasion and thereby motivate potential purchasers to move to active status. Sometimes, print advertising is mostly visual, a "picture" that is coupled with minimal linguistic material. This is the case with the eminently successful, well-known Marlborough cigarette ads whose only linguistic material is the exhortation to come to "Marlborough country." Sometimes, the visual is almost entirely removed and linguistic material is utilized. The many and varied "letters of explanation" put out by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ostensibly to explain the tobacco industry's position in the face of in-public, no-smoking measures over the last decade is an example of this.
The creators of most print advertisements, however, couple some kind of visual material with ample linguistic material and, often, this linguistic material is manipulated over and above the more commonly expected rhetorical uses of language. What is meant here is that it is, of course, the case that advertisers will use language in as clever, tight, stylized, and suasive a way as they can to persude someone to go out and buy the product or purchase the service which is the subject and substance of the advertisement. However, what often occurs is that the very structure and form of language are additionally manipulated -- we may say that rules are intentionally, consciously, and sytematically broken -- presumably to achieve an even greater, more salient, more pervasive, more penetrating, and ultimately more persuasive effect on the viewer/reader. In print advertising, this comes out to consciously manipulating some linguistic item so that maximum suasive effect for the product or service advertised is achieved in and by the ad.
It seems almost trivial to state that to the extent that the creator of an advertisement can find and achieve more means and devices of getting the attention of the potential purchasing population riveted onto the product or service advertised and to the extent that these means have the suasive effect of getting the potential purchasers to view and consider the product or service to the exclusion of all others, then the ad will have its proportionately successful outcome -- an increase in the actual purchasing population for that product or service. The claim inherent here is that manipulation of linguistic structure and form over and above the commonly understood and utilized rhetorical uses of language, coupled with visual material in print advertising, will indeed increase the probability of that happy effect.

In The Fashion System (1967/1983) Barthes, referring to the relationship between the term for the actual, physical, relatively unsymbolized object--the signifier--, in this case "clothing" or "material," and the meaning-laden, relatively symbolized (semiotic) entity--the signified--, in this case "dress" or "textile," explained the relation between actual apparel and written apparel as parallel to that between speech and language. Generally speaking, Barthes implied that the linguistic term for the actual apparel or material is action, equivalent to speech and relatively devoid of meaning, and that written apparel or material is institution, equivalent to language, fully symbolized, culturally bound, and, therefore, laden with meaning.
To clarify, as Barthes (1967/1983) claims, the very act of using these terms (his action) does indeed constitute a signifying--the terms set a semiotic process in motion that results in the signified. The process is a representation (his institution) of the intimate connection between language and culture. What this means is that a term such as flax more or less denotes the object itself; however, upon its use in such a phrase as "no more be hid in him than fire in flax," it constitutes or institutes a process that weds language to and binds language into culture. It, therefore, is resymbolized, taking on, in its institution, all of the intricate, intertwined, inextricable connections, associations, references, or allusions that language, now fully specified in its cultural context, must assume.
Establishing a subjective sense of identity and self and in communicating the aspects of this subjective identity to others. From this perspective, dress [materials] is a "package" of form and associated meaning that connects each individual to socially created, modified, and perpetuated cultural patterns. One must note that, although there are other, often literary critical, approaches to analyzing the relationship of dress or materials/fabric to an understanding of culture, there are few if any semio-linguistic analyses for this purpose similar to the one presented in this study.
Moreover, if the Bard's words are subjected to a thoroughgoing, strict linguistic analysis of the language, what is revealed is not representative of or a reaction to the actual state of affairs but rather is a semiotic--a symbolic and microcosmic view of how Shakespeare perceived his world. meaning may be understood as the product of the process(es) of symbolization achieved by a structure and formation of rules. These rules convert, as it were, "raw form" or most basic (deepest) concept to more complex form. These more complex forms take on functions that are multidimensional as they intrude, from depth to surface, into the cultural and social life of human beings at any juncture in time. Any already formally complex symbolic form or meaning spreads out and interlaces, moreover, with other meanings across the length and breadth of the culture and society. Each meaning, as it becomes more and more inextricably bound to the whole, takes on more symbolic complexity at each level of language, culture, and society.
It is a semiotic of the life of the culture. It is precisely in this semiotic connection that such an analysis as this, grounded in disciplines as seemingly diverse as costume history and textile chemistry, on the one hand, and history, sociology, literature study, and linguistics, on the other, bears the fruits that may be observed below. Thus, if one construes x to be symbolic of the intentions of Shakespeare with regard to the events and persons in his world, the meaning or "picture" that the consummate reader or actor of the plays gets is idiosyncratic and parochial but also clarifies and reveals that world, its people, and its events. , becomes a means of symbolically stating aspects of, conditions of, issues in, or beliefs about their culture with particular reference to personal, social, political, economic, technological, and artistic situations.
_______________________________________________________________
Foregrounding
_______________________________________________________________
The authors utilized a synthesis of the concepts and insights relating to foregrounding as devised in Harris (1981). It is important to describe and clarify the underlying linguistic process that allows a communicator such as Shakespeare to decide upon and form a structure or allows a communicator such as a reader to understand and analyze that structure in the language of the Bard's plays. In any piece of discourse the communicator signals the intention of bringing some element of information into prominence, that is to say the information is foregrounded. Although apparently transparent to the language-user, foregrounding comes as the result of a deep and complex linguistic process. Metaphors are, in fact, a product of such a linguistic process. A communicator marks an element, emphasizes it, stresses it, or contrasts it by manipulating various linguistic structures or devices. Other elements are systematically backgrounded or disappear from the discourse entirely.
After Chafe (1976) we may say that switching from an active to a passive form in a relatively basic sentence such as "Tom kicked Harry" to "Harry was kicked (by Tom)," thereby changing the emphasis from Tom to Harry, is an example of the foregrounding phenomenon. The sentence, "It was Harry whom Tom kicked," is another example of the phenomenon of foregrounding. Chafe observed that foregrounding and backgrounding constructions are concerned principally with how the communicator presents certain information to the audience, thereby altering the meaning or significance of that information. This choice of language construction reveals an intention or decision, contrary to usual expectations, on the part of the communicator and is at the heart of the notion of foregrounding. It is not only a linguistic process used by a communicator to mark or emphasize some entity. It is, as well, a heuristic device that may be used for disambiguating and understanding how or what some linguistic entity may represent. As Kenneth Pike (1975) wrote, "A crucial characteristic of human nature is our ability to select and guide into attention almost anything that we please" (p. 27). Essentially, then, foregrounding is a symbolic language process of establishing significance or special prominence to intentions or decisions of a communicator. It also allows the interpreter a heuristic means of attempting to understand a communication. By means of various language forms, the communicator decides to mark, emphasize, stress, compare, or contrast in a significant way, and this information alone is conveyed to the addressee (Harris, 1981).
In examining the process of foregrounding with regard to the selected plays of William Shakespeare, we attempt to see how the manipulation of elements or forms in discourse alters the relative prominence of those elements and forms. In other words, we attempt to reveal by a careful, strict linguistic analysis the degree, type, and extent of meaningfulness conveyed by either the direct (literal) or metaphoric (figurative) use of language referring to textiles in these plays and what may be construed symbolically as the actual meaning of those references in the plays (Harris & Owens, 1990).
One must view the manipulation of linguistic entities as a type of foregrounding. Foregrounding is a linguistic process in which some elements, such as words, phrases, sentences, stressings, intonations, or the like are given prominence or made more meaningfully significant by the communicator/language-user, in this case, the creator(s) of a print advertisement. I utilize herein the conceptual strictly linguistic framework--a synthesis of the concepts and insights relating to foregrounding--as devised in Harris (1981) in order to examine and explain several advertisements. It is the my contention that only by attempting, in a strict linguistic manner, to account for the knowledge of formal processes (in this case, "foregrounding/backgrounding" and, therefore, "communicative intent") which are available to and utilized by communicators in discourse (here, print advertising) do we avail ourselves of necessary and sufficient information to be able to interpret adequately the symbols each lexical, phrasal, or sentential utterance of the discourse conveys.
Thus, this is both an investigation into the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties of a sign and into applied semiotics, i.e., semiotic (here strict linguistic and communicational) methods are used to analyze some fragment of reality. Moreover, investigations such as these and the observations that emanate from them may be viewed as abductions or "guesses" that are made regarding specific aspects of the studied culture (in this case, the "world" of the advertiement). These abductions arise from a linguistic theory of foregrounding and a communicative theory of language behavior.
Foregrounding is a semiotic, strictly linguistic process of establishing significance or special prominence given the intentions or decisions of the communicator. By means of various linguistic devices, the communicator decides to mark, emphasize, stress, or contrast in a significant way, and this information, and this information alone, is conveyed to the addressee (Cf. Harris 1981 or, especially with regard to markedness, Shapiro 1983). In examining the process of foregrounding with regard to the material in print advertisemts, I attempt to see how the manipulation and use of elements or forms in the sentences, here sound, morphological, lexical, phrasal, sentential, supersegmental, supersentential, and /or orthographic items, alter the relative prominence of those elements and forms. In other words, I attempt to reveal, by a strict, careful, abductive, linguistically-based analysis, the degree, type, and extent of meaningfulness conveyed by the manipulative use of items within the linguistic material of the selected ads and what, then, may be construed semiotically as the actual meaning of those items with regard to the rhetorical purpose of the ads.

It is also important to clarify what the notion of communicative intent is and how I will use this notion to explain and describe the manipulation of elements within the linguistic material of the ads. I refer to the interpretation of communicative intent in the work of Albert Mehrabian as made explicit in his book, Silent Messages (1981), based upon earlier work by Wiener and Mehrabian (1968). Although Mehrabian (1981) treats both the phenomena of verbal and non-verbal communication, I center on his notions of the manipulation of "language" and how that manipulation is made manifest in the earlier Language Within Language.
Mehrabian (1981: 130) suggests that it is quite important to note "the numerous and frequently overlooked subleties of speech itself that are a part of the expression of feelings and like-dislike." He maintains (147) that the concept of approach-avoidance, which he has explained with reference to relatively non-verbal communication, may now be ". . .helpful in understanding the seemingly arbitrary and stylistic aspects of speech, as well as the apparently inconsequential variations in implicit [non-verbal] behavior." Mehrabian claims that many kinds of speech variations indicate the speaker's attempt to place something at a spatial or temporal distance or otherwise to minimize the speaker's relation to or involvement with the thing described.
Thus, by entwining a strict, careful, linguistically-based analysis with a explanation of communicative intent, I attempt to reveal the degree, type, and extent of meaningfulness conveyed by the manipulation of linguistic material in the selected ads and what may then be construed as the actual meaning of those ads. In some sense, therefore, a reinterpretation of the manipulations in these ads along the lines of the foregrounding phenomenon and the correlation of that analysis with the notion of communicative intent will reveal, abductively, the semiotic "world" of the subject of the ads. From both a strict linguistic and communicative point of view, then, we will perhaps be able to grasp what the creator(s) of an advertisement had in mind to say, or not to say, in the design and construction of the "best" means to achieve a suasive effect over the potential purchasing population.

+ three cartoons

COMMUNICATIVE PARAMETERS/HUMOR
(Harris, WSCA, 1991)

LANGUAGE--COMMUNICATION--HUMOR

PRAGMATIC CATEGORIES/ CULTURE: SEXISM IN LANGUAGE

LEXICAL REPLACEMENT--DOMINANCE RELATIONS

GENDER CONSIDERATIONS--CULTURAL SUPERORDINATION/SUBORDINATION

LANGUAGE--COMMUNICATION--HUMOR
(Harris, WSCA, 1991)

COOCCURENCE RESTRICTIONS--LEXICAL CATEGORY ASSIGNMENT--SYNTACTIC CONSIDERATIONS

NOMINALIZATION S----N--PARALLEL CONSTRUCTIONS--
AMBIGUITY AS A LINGUISTIC DESIGN FEATURE

PRAGMATIC CONSDERATIONS--CONVERSATIONAL POSTULATES--PHATIC COMMUNICATION

LANGUAGE--COMMUNICATION--HUMOR
(Harris, WSCA, 1991)

NOT-SO-CRAZY SYNTAX. . .

DEEP LEXICAL:
a. call=give a name to [someone]
b. call=get into communication with [someone] by telephone

DEEP SYNTAX: I (will) give [a name] to [someone]./ transformed to:
I (will) give [someone][a name].
There exists a name such as [name].
I will get into communication with [someone].

DEEP REFERENCE: (violation of truth conditions='mendacity/lying'!)
[someone]=my brother; deep-level deletion under IDENTITY of:
"I," "will(be)," "someone," "call," "Bruce," . . .

something like:
A. I will give a name to my brother. There exists a name such as Bruce. I will give a name such as Bruce to my brother. I will give my brother a name such as Bruce. I will call my brother Bruce.

B. I will get into communication with my brother. His name is Walter. I will give a name to my brother, etc. . . .

THE NON-TRIVIAL NATURE OF SEMIOLINGUISTIC, STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS:
1) What do we know about speech initiated with tongue stuck out paired with the nonverbal element of thumb and forefinger grasping/pinching the nose?

2) What do we know about the nonverbal or paralinguistic "dinner ritual" as exhibited in this dyad?

3) What do know about the nature of the dyad in communication, principally in conversational analysis? What do we know about the rules and regulations of conversation such as at a table in a dining configuration?

4) What do we know pragmatically of the 'relationship' between mother and son, the 'role' of mother as housewife, caretaker, the 'role' of child; what are our assumptions or expectations culturally (=stereotypes)?

5) How do we know what "grubs" means/intends here (psychologically, lexically, contextually, pragmatically)?

6) What do we know about the unanswered question, i.e., when the interrogative has as its response one that is pragmatic and not dependent on the structure of the question? Here, what does an interrogative met with an imperative response, then stressed, then further stressed and lexically promoted (just) imperative, tell us prgamatically? How is this tied to #4 above?

7) How do we know that breaking the code here means not only uncovering Mother's intentions but revealing the covert, pragmatically realized sentences such as "If you do not taste it, I will punish you" and "You would tell me if it were something that you thought I would like. . . "?

8) Given some kind of resolution or answer to all of the above, what do we know of the linguistic processes necessary to achieve articulation either orally or in written form? How is this related to Calvin's comment about the "code?"

THE NON-TRIVIAL NATURE OF SEMIOLINGUISTIC, STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS:

EXAMPLE//////

1) What do we know about speech initiated at the side of the mouth paired with the nonverbal element of hand cupped at side of lips?

2) What do we know about the nonverbal or paralinguistic "hunkering down" (e.g., left shoulder to right shoulder, heads bent, eyes lowered) as exhibited in this dyad?

3) What do know about the nature of the dyad in communication, principally in conversational analysis?

4) What do we know pragmatically of the 'relationship' between human and comrade, here between human and pet?

5) How do we know what "hushed" means (phonologically, paralinguistically, psychologically)?
[Cf. Reuven Tsur: What makes sound patterns expressive? Duke Univ. press, 1992]

6) How do we know what the item "conspiracy" (lexcially, pragmatically, contextually) is? More centrally, what do we know of the notion "secret?"

7) How do we know what "a conspiritorial tone" (phonologically, intonationally, psychologically, pragmatically, lexically) is?

8) Given some kind of resolution or answer to all of the above, what do we know of the linguistic processes necessary to achieve articulation either orally or in written form?

By melding together the labeled definitions of terms directly referring to textiles ([D]) and the metaphoric uses of those terms ([InD]) and by utilizing the foregrounding framework for comparison and contrast, the result is a synthesis that serves as a filter for an interpretation of the items referring to textiles in the plays. This interpretation reveals the underlying mechanisms and the underlying meaningfulness of the discourse. Our claim is that this interpretation does not arise from any bias, save a phenomenological one, on our part but, rather, arises from the discourse itself; what is elicited from the written text of the plays follows closely the processes of foregrounding) as outlined by the examples, discussion, and explication as presented. Revealed firstly is a meaningfulness that is wrought from the decisions of the playwright, Shakespeare, to choose and, thereby, to manipulate linguistic structures in a foregrounding and concomitantly backgrounding manner. Revealed secondly is a meaningfulness that is wrought from the intent of the Bard to convey a precise message. The symbolic whole of the event is revealed by this interpretation of the discourse of the selected plays.
This approach is not simply the product of the "perfect 20/20 vision" of historical hindsight. Subsequent phenomena and events in the plays validate the interpretation that the foregrounding framework provides. These are of two forms: (a) Shakespeare reutilizes and manipulates similar devices often in other sections of the same written discourse (the plays) and the same kinds of metaphors emerge repeatedly, and (b) historically verifiable events, actions, and behaviors reflect the interpretations construed from the metaphors in the written text of these plays.
In The Fashion System (1967/1983) Barthes suggested the nature of the symbol or semiotic that would result. He wrote that utterances regarding apparel [read "material"] involve both a linguistic system and a vestimentary system according to which the garment [textile] signifies the world. What emerges is the semiotic and symbolic nature of the meaning of the plays in relation to the events and the people acting within those events. It is a semiotic composite that reveals, microcosmically, an aspect of the world of the Bard and, macrocosmically, the symbol of what William Shakespeare and his contemporaries were within the cultural perspective of the English-speaking peoples. What we witness with either the literal and direct or the figurative, indirect, and metaphoric use of textile terms is the actual underlying meaning--a meaning that is not necessarily conveyed in the surface language of the plays.

Two essential principles are seemingly adhered to by advertisers in practically all linguistic manipulations and it is important to state them at the outset:
1) it is rarely if ever the case that one component, such as sound or word-form or lexical item, is manipulated in isolation; that is to say, rules are broken or manipulations operated at several levels and are, therefore, inextricably bound up amongst several entities. Even, say, in the case of so simple an ad as the picturing of a single bottle of Stolichnaya vodka with the words, "Stolichnaya The Vodka," must we note that the viewer/reader of the ad is presented with a manipulation at several levels: one must know that the underlining (orthographic manipulation) of "the" refers to the pronunciation of the item as 'thee' (sound manipulation) and that this, in turn, signals a particular interpretation and use of the article other than "definiteness" (morphological manipulation), i.e., the is to be read as "the unique, the singular, the only" (lexical and idiomatic manipulation).
2) the last observation above leads immediately to this second principle -- the viewer/reader must be familiar with the environment of the ad visually, on the one hand, and linguistically, on the other. This implies a maxim that advertisers must adhere to in the construction of the ads:
"Fashion the ad visually and linguistically so that the potential purchasing population will recognize the visual material of the ad easily and will also be familiar with the words, idioms, etc. that are manipulated."
Let us review some exemplary ads and attempt to understand several of the manipulations in situ.
A very simple, elegant manipulation is performed in providing a phonetic rendering of a word as was done with lexical items such as "performance," "manage," or "direction" in the Rockewell International ad. The purpose here was to draw the viewer/reader's attention, for example, to a word such as 'man-ij paired with a dictionary-like definition in order to convey the notion of Rockwell's excellent record and competence in the aerospace, electronics, and automotive industries. Clearly, this involves manipulation of sound rules and orthography, but it also implies, by the highly technical presentation, a highly technical and ultimately competent company.
Often, one can find manipulations of sound that are referred to as alliteration, rhyming, and the like. I recently observed an ad (not included here) in which an elegantly dressed couple, the male with gin-and-tonic in hand, the female, with martini, are seated above a bottle of Beefeater London Distilled Dry Gin. Juxtaposed in the middle are the words: "Befittingly Beefeater." Here, besides the repeated sounds, the viewer/reader is enticed by a lexical item that is closely associated to British usage and which conveys a "posh" connotation. Lastly, in a Myers's Original Rum Cream ad (not included here), a bottle and a ladle that is filling a glass of the liqueur are placed besides the rhyme: "Cream & Rum. Yum!" From both a sound and lexical perspective, a lucsious combination is achieved.
Often, the pronunciation of a word is purposely violated to achieve a particularly dramatic effect. This kind of punning is evidenced, for example, in an ad for Ford Escort (not included here). A red Ford Escort Turbo GT is pictured broadside. Remember, at the outset, the American penchant for and "love-affair" with fast, red cars. There is a good deal of explanation in four tightly-worded, short columns below the picture of the car. Above are the words, "Raise your standard of leaving." The manipulation is achieved at the lexcial level, the sound level, and the idiomatic level. At the syntactic level, the viewer/reader is impressed with the message that tells him/her by means of an imperative sentence that purchase of the Escort will lead, in some mysterious way, to the American dream of a "hotter" car and, therefore, a better life.
At a morphological level, a type of manipulation is the pairing of a morpheme with a nongrammatical counterpart or the creation of a pseudo-morpheme. In the case of the former, one is immediately reminded of the Seven-Up Corporation's eminently successful "uncola" ads in which the negative morpheme "un-" was paired with a noun rather than an expected (by rule) adjective. Clearly, we were not talking of "Coke" here and that was the precise intention of the Seven-Up company! In the case of the latter, the creation of a pseudo-morpheme, we have as an example the GTE Phone Mart ad which depicts products from the store with the words, "How to keep up with the phoneses." This pseudo-morpheme then calls to mind the spelling and pronunciation of the Joneses and the newly-created, phrasal pseudo-idiom sends the message: "If you want to be at the same socio-economic level as all your friends and neighbors, purchase your phones at our store." In both cases, this purposeful rule-bending and -breaking rivets the viewer/reader's attention and conveys definitive and clear-cut messages regarding the "rightness" of purchasing the particular advertised products.
Lexical manipulations are often puns over well-known, bound idioms. We have examples such as the Brooks ad for its running shoes ("Roads Scholar") (not included), the Levi-Strauss advertisement for its painted denims ("Painted Denims. Strokes of Levi's Jeanius") (not included), the Nissan "Feel your Pulsar quicken" ad (not included), the Martini & Rossi vermouth quip: "Martini & Rossi. In a glass by itself" (not included), or the Holland-America Trans-Canal ad for its less-expensive voyage across the Isthmus ("Connect the docks and save $600"). These all constitute manipulations at the levels of sound and spelling, "roads/Rhodes," "genius/jeanius," "docks/dots," "pulse/Pulsar," "glass/class" which lead immediately to manipulations at the level of bound idiom: a Rhodes scholar, a stroke of genius, connect the dots, feel your pulse quicken, in a class by itself. This in turn leads, semiotically, to our messages:
If one buys Brooks's shoes, one becomes an expert in running on the roads; the idea of painted/colored jeans is a stroke of genius and one who wears them will be a fashion "genius"; if one drives a Nissan Pulsar, one will be excited -- one's pulse will quicken because it is an exciting car; if one drinks Martini & Rossi vermouth, one will be drinking a product which is incomparable to others; one need only look at the map, connect the dots leading to the dock where one embarks and the dock where one eventually debarks to see how one is getting a good bargain in traveling with Holland-America across the Isthmus of Panama.
Almost all syntactic manipulation emerges directly from lexical manipulation. The psychological term, "alter ego," supports the manipulation sententially of "Alter your ego." in an advertisement by Chevrolet (not included) for the purchase of its Celebrity Eurosport car. In the Maxell Gold ad, disks are proclaimed as "The floppy disk that turns Apples golden, keeps AT&T on-line, and makes every Texas Instrument a gusher." This multiple idiomed, multiple-allusioned advertisement contains manipulations at the morphological, lexical, idiomatic, historical, environmental, referential, and syntactic levels. Again at the level of sentential manipulation, Nissan tells us (not inlcluded) that a Nissan Sentra XE going uphill in the photo implies that you must "Make the grade, no matter what course you take." An ad for Palm Springs, California (not included), with all of its sights, relaxations, and refreshments, depicts a beautiful woman in a bathing suit lying on a floating mat in a pool with the appropriate and requisite male at her side. The caption tells us that "In times like these, you need times like these."
If we take such extruded statements above regarding the linguistic manipulations to be found in print advertising in summed or holistic manner, that is to say, if we form of these a semiotic of our age, we have before us boldly and clearly what seem to be many of the commonly held images or symbols of American culture and the American people, their beliefs, judgments, and values. Thus, we may construe the extruded statements based upon the strict linguistic and communicative interpretations above to constitute a semiotic subsection of the "advertising world," i.e., we may say that the lexical, phrasal, and sentential entities are representative and symbolic of the intentions and perspectives of American advertisers. The "picture" (meaningfulness) that the viewer/reader actually gets from the advertisements and ascribes to the material within is clarified, is less confused and obfuscated, and is relatively more informed. It is a picture that is richer and deeper. In short, it leaves one "wondering" less and yet, in some sense, surer about the nature of American culture, life, and times.

This study, then, is a step in devising an applied, interpretive heuristic for analyzing language phenomena emerging from a literary creation. The analysis serves to reveal more about William Shakespeare--the man and his times--and the meanings those revelations may have for us in our own times. We claim that such an analysis could be well utilized and have relative success for any subject to which it is applied. In the face of such a claim, one might speculate on whether such an analysis could be applied either broadly or narrowly to other historical contexts, events, or phenomena. Conceivably, one could argue that Shakespeare and his world represent an ideal medium for such an analysis precisely because the man and the context are so well known, so familiar culturally, or so well studied. One would not expect nearly the clarity if the sources were scanty, the background information weak or non-existent, or the subject so vague and obscure that almost no "window" of understanding were available. However, we suggest that this study indeed has ramifications and a utility that both allows for and suggests future research into historical, contemporary, or cross-cultural contexts in which less a priori understanding of the language and context are known or for which the use and subtlety of linguistic manipulation in a cultural system are much less developed than was the case in Shakespeare's England.
Following on this, one might note that, in the 16th century, dress (and its materials) was a more proportionately powerful economic entity than it is contemporarily. In our cultural system, the textile and apparel industry is less proportionately powerful because a wider range of cultural and technocratic institutions compete with it for cultural and ideological primacy (i.e., for a kind of metaphoric or semiotic preeminence). However, the present analysis serves to reveal and clarify the nature, use, and significance of textiles in a particular historical setting. It allows us to see the utility of analyzing textile metaphors in a cultural system in order to reveal salient features of the environment, levels of sociocultural complexity, degrees of cultural diffusion, and the like.
Although this research approach will certainly have less utility in time or space contexts that are not characterized by an a priori understanding of the language and cultural milieu (or for which the use and sublety of linguistic manipulation are significantly less developed than was the case, say, in Shakespeare's England), the validity of such an approach only marginally depends on such conditions. Such an analysis could be well utilized and have relative success for almost any subject to which it is applied. Thus, the analysis has a validity for our own age, or almost any age, as human beings use materials or fabrics in apparel to state aspects of, conditions of, issues in, or beliefs about culture. Barthes (1967/1983) summed it all up in saying, The sign is the union of the signifier and the signified, of clothing [read "fabric"] and the world . . . . (p. 263)

This leads me directly to a notion of what I call a linguistic semiotics or, more precisely, a "semiolinguistics." Over the past decade (1981, 1986, 1990, I have gone forward with a notion that pertains to intentionality with regard to the selection of linguistic structures and how the decision to communicate in language, the human formal, abstract system of communication, is inextricably bound up with the physical, psychological, functional, pragmatic, cultural universe--in essence, the semiotic world. I have attempted to show that, in the linguistic or verbal realm of human phenomena, human beings select structure and form in context, i.e, human beings signify in the totality of human experience, both narrowly defined culturally and socially, and broadly defined in some larger physical, universal sense. They do this, I have suggested, in order to achieve or attain to what I have called "meaningfulness," the means by which one arrives at or comes to terms with one's existence and by which one entertains some sense of explanation about that existence. For me, then, an understanding of what communication in human terms is gets wrung out of the notion that signs perfuse all, that the human being structures those signs, and that the symbolic entity or semiotic that results rests squarely in, nay more, is inextricably bound up with, a context and culture.

Most recently, I have been grappling with and become ever more intrigued with a "by-product" of this type of linguistic, semiotic, structural analysis--the realization that a semiotic analysis of linguistic form and structure with an emphasis on the decision to communicate by means of selection of structure leads logically to some understanding of the content of the whole from the view of the communicator. But it is never the thing itself. In other words, by analyzing linguistic structure within a context or environment and by drawing together the semiotic outcomes, that is to say, by constructing the semiotic network or "web," we are provided with a simulacrum, the image of the thing. This interpretation or representation of a semiotic world is, moreover, about as close (or as far) as we may approach in understanding the form, or what has been called the "signifier" and the content, what has been called the "signified."

As a demonstration of the above, let me present to you a bit of a preview--an abridged and summary version, slightly embellished with the notion of simulacrum, of a semiolinguistic analysis of terms in Shakespeare's plays that pertain to "fabric" (completed recently with my colleague, a textile and costume expert, Professor Nancy Owens, 1992, in press):

SEMIOME//SIMULACRUM
Although the 1992 study is restricted to textiles, it immediately demonstrates the communicative significance of such an approach. It is consonant with Roach-Higgins and Eicher's (1989) conceptual definition of dress that links the objective form of dress (and thereby its materials/fabrics) with its subjectively-experienced social function as a means of communication. Accordingly, dress [read "materials"] is defined as an assemblage of objectively describable body. . . supplements that are used by a human being, thoughout the lifespan, as aids in establishing a subjective sense of identity and self, for self, and communicating the aspects of this subjective identity to others.
From this perspective, dress [materials] is a "package" of form and associated meaning that connects each individual to socially created, modified, and perpetuated cultural patterns. It is thus contended that if attention is paid to certain aspects of terms of and references to materials/fabrics, primarily textiles, and if a strict linguistic analysis is performed on these items, comparing and contrasting their relatively direct, relatively less complex use with their much more complex metaphoric and indirect use, then what results is an interpretation of the discourse that allows greater understanding of the meaning of the plays in the context of the author's time. In much the same way as the "biome" is an ecological entity which allows for and supports the emergence of a community of well-developed and related biological phenomena, such a package of form and associated menaing constitutes what I might term the semiome, a sign entity which allows for and supports the emergence of a community of well-developed understandings which connect each individual to socially created, modified, and perpetuated cultural patterns.
Moreover, if the Bard's words are subjected to a thoroughgoing, strict linguistic analysis of the structure and application of the language, although what will be revealed is not representative of or a reaction to the exact, actual state of affairs, it still, refractively, is a semiotic--a symbolic and microcosmic view of how Shakespeare perceived and, thereby, communicated his world. That is to say, it is a simulacrum or image of the thing, of the world so described. In The Fashion System, Barthes (1967/1983) put it this way:
Hence, the semantic analysis of written clothing [read "materials"] must be pursued in depth when it attempts to "unravel" the systems, and in breadth when it attempts to analyze the succession of signs, at each level of these systems. (p. 26)
The meaning may be understood as the product of the process(es) of symbolization achieved by a structure and formulation of rules. These rules or formations convert, as it were, "raw form" or most basic (deepest) concept to more complex form or forms. The more complex forms, in turn, take on functions that are multidimensional as they intrude, from depth to surface, into the cultural and social life of human beings at any juncture in time. Moreover, any already formally complex symbolic form or meaning spreads out and interlaces, as it were, with other meanings across the length and breadth of the culture and society. Each meaning, as it becomes more and more inextricably bound to the whole, takes on more symbolic, weblike communicative complexity at each level of language, culture, and society. This is, precisely, the notion that what must result is a simulacrum or image of the thing or entity described and, as I mentioned above, the simulacrum emerges in the richness of the "semiome."
"Wool" is wool, so to speak, until rules that govern how that material may be used in the construction of apparel, how it is to be understood in terms of its material properties, how it is to be referred to and negotiated linguistically, apply to it formally; then it is no longer wool alone but "woolen garment" with, let us say, the properties of being able to protect the human body from adverse degrees of cold. However, "woolen garment" is, across culture and society, much more than apparel alone. It is an item with symbolic and communicative function. It is an entity that implies meaning and from which meaning can be inferred.
In the implying and inferring, the already more complex meaning of, let us say, "garment made of Welsh flannel," is infused with ever more complex meanings far beyond the original, basic form and function. Out of the semiome emerges a simulacrum; taken together, they constitute, a s Barthes might say, a semiotic of the life of and in the culture. It is precisely in this semiotic connection that such an analysis as this, grounded in disciplines as seemingly diverse as costume history and textile chemistry, on the one hand, and history, sociology, literature study, and linguistics, on the other, bears the communicative fruits that may be observed. If one construes the 28 plays examined in this study to be symbolic of the intentions of Shakespeare with regard to the events and persons in his world, the meaning, "the picture," that the consummate reader or actor of the plays gets communicated is idiosyncratic and parochial but also clarifies and reveals that world, its people, and its events. The semiome having been constituted, the image which refractively emerges is, essentially, a simulacrum of Shakespeare's world; it is, in that refraction, as close or as far as we may approach, via the language of the Bard, what his world might have been or how he understood, perceived, lived in, or reacted communicatively to it.
In the 1992 study and often elsewhere, I utilized a synthesis of the concepts and insights relating to foregrounding (as devised in Harris, 1981). It is important to describe and clarify the underlying linguistic process that allows a communicator such as Shakespeare to decide upon, form a structure, and apply it, or allows a communicator such as a reader to understand, analyze, and apply that structure in the language of the Bard's plays. In any piece of discourse, the communicator signals the intention of bringing some element of information into prominence, that is to say, the information is "foregrounded." Although apparently transparent to the language-user, foregrounding comes about as the result of a deep and complex linguistic process. Metaphors are, in fact, products of such a deep linguistic process. A communicator marks an element, emphasizes it, stresses it, or contrasts it by manipulating various linguistic structures or devices. Other elements are systematically backgrounded or disappear from the discourse entirely.
After Chafe (1976), we may say that switching from an active to a passive form in a relatively basic sentence such as "Tom kicked Harry" to "Harry was kicked by Tom" or "Harry was kicked," thereby changing the emphasis from Tom to Harry, is an example of the foregrounding phenomenon. The sentence, "It was Harry whom Tom kicked," is another example of the phenomenon of foregrounding. Chafe observed that foregrounding and backgrounding constructions are concerned principally with how the communicator presents certain information to the audience, thereby altering the meaning or significance of that information. This choice of language construction reveals an intention or decision, contrary to usual expectations, on the part of the communicator and is at the heart of the notion of foregrounding. Moreover, it is not only a linguistic process used by a communicator to mark or emphasize some entity. It is, as well, a heuristic device that may be used for disambiguating and understanding how or what some linguistic entity may represent.
As Kenneth Pike (1975) wrote, "A crucial characteristic of human nature is our ability to select and guide into attention almost anything that we please" (p. 27). Essentially, then, foregrounding is a symbolic language process of establishing significance or special prominence to intentions or decisions of a communicator in the application of structure. As well, it allows the interpreter a heuristic means of understanding a communication. By means of various language forms, the communicator decides to mark, emphasize, stress, compare, or contrast in a significant way, and this information alone is, in the application, conveyed to the addressee (Cf. Harris, 1981).
In examining the process of foregrounding with regard to the selected plays of William Shakespeare, I attempt to see how the manipulation and use of elements or forms in discourse alter the relative prominence of those elements and forms. In other words, there is an attempt to reveal by a careful, strict linguistic analysis the degree, type, and extent of meaningfulness conveyed by either the direct (literal) or metaphoric (figurative) use of language as applied and referring to textiles in these plays and what, then, may be construed symbolically as the actual meaning of those references in the plays (Cf. as well, Harris & Owens, 1990).
Such a demonstration as the relatively narrow and limited one above suggests that what is needed, more and more, again and again, in the communication field is a synthesis that comes willy-nilly from adopting and adapting to, from applying, the semiotic perspective. Certainly it is the case that interest in the study of semiotics has grown considerably over the last thirty years. Both international and national associations for semiotics are well established and accompanying refereed journals regularly appear. With ever more frequency, reference to semiotics is made in, or serves as the basis for, both articles and books within the field of communication. Given the importance in rhetorical studies, in communication theory, in language and linguistic studies, in the interpretation of literature, and in literature in performance of the understanding of the nature and stuff of human events and how the meaning of that stuff and those events is communicated, the relationship of semiotics to the field of communication has become clear. In short, a semiotics of communication as a whole, not only within language behavior and social interaction, informs in a rich way every aspect of the discipline of communication.
The semiotic approach allows for a politics of synthesis that promises to revitalize every aspect and every investigation in the field of communication. It suggests to me that such studies as conversational analysis (CA) are, from a semiotic perspective, models of conversational dynamism and a means of understanding aspects of a social, communicative semiotic. As a example of this, one might cite one from amongst the many gems in this literature a study such as Wayne Beach's "Intercultural problems in courtroom interaction" (1991). Taking this study as exemplar, it must be convincingly argued that CA is not in the slightest, as it has sometimes been maligned, an empty methodological shell; it is, from a phenomenal, semiotic, communicative point of view, rather, a rich and intense catalogue, the semiome, of part of the "dance" of the human communicative process.
Semiotically viewed, CA provides significant communities of related and well-developed signs, the semiome, that allow for the emergence of a refracted image, the simulacrum, of communicative events that I alluded to above. Discourse analysis, viewed not solely as apparatus, becomes, therefore, a analysis of the human social process prompted by and prompting a complex of signs--a social, communicative, applied semiotic. In much the same way, all the subdisciplines of communication may benefit from the semiotic perspective. For us students of communication, a better and deeper understanding of how the semiotic approach informs and, as well, is informed by our discipline is an imperative; moreover, the semiotic approach mandates a politics of synthesis, inter- and intradisciplinarily, that allows for an ever more coherent level of analysis of the meaning, function, effects, applications, and significance of the phenomena of human communication.

ACH. February 18, 1992.

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CARTOON://two exercises//wsca outline for cartoon conditions//A SEMIOME OF HUMOR AND A SIMULACRUM OF SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY