Iconicity has become a popular notion in contemporary linguistic research.
This book is the first to present a synthesis of the vast amount of
scholarship on linguistic iconicity which has been produced in the previous
decades, ranging from iconicity in phonology and morpho-syntax to the role
of iconicity in language change. An extensive analysis is provided of some
basic but nonetheless fundamental questions relating to iconicity in
language, including: what is a linguistic sign and how are linguistic signs
different from signs in general? What is an iconic sign and how may
iconicity be involved in language? How does iconicity pertain to the
relation between language and cognition? This book offers a new and
comprehensive theoretical framework for iconicity in language. It is argued
that the linguistic sign is fundamentally arbitrary, but that iconicity may
be involved on a secondary level, adding extra meaning to an utterance.