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Abstract

Both ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’ are words with a long and polysemic history in Western culture. Moreover, the 120-year history of the modern semiotics movement has failed to provide a highly needed definition of these most basic terms, thus resulting in ambiguity of the definition of the discipline itself. This paper proposes defining ‘sign/symbol’ as ‘a sensuous entity to be regarded as carrying meaning’. Furthermore, the terminological chaos that arises between ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’, which originated in Western languages, has caused chaos for translators in selecting the appropriate Chinese term from the options Fuhao and Xiangzheng, since a phonetic rendition is hardly possible in Chinese. On this basis, the paper attempts to define ‘semiotics’ as ‘the formal study of meaning-making’. In this understanding, semiotics covers not only signification but also communication and interpretation of meaning.

Open Access
In: Signs and Media
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Abstract

This article discusses new developments in the field of literary theory and literary praxis in the era of new media from the perspectives of media theory and interology. It takes new media as a McLuhanesque formal cause and holds that a conspicuous characteristic of literary works in the era of new media lies in the salience and normalization of interality. This development means art forms like mosaic and Pointillism have acquired a paradigmatic significance as a result. In revealing this new paradigm, the article also points to some current social maladies that have come with new media. It holds that literary writing should go beyond the mere embodiment of symptoms and make an intervention in media-induced maladies. The article affirms the irreplaceability of experimental literature and serious literature in an era of attention deficit, and points out that form should occupy a paramount position in literary theory, literary criticism, and literary praxis.

Open Access
In: Signs and Media
In: Japanese Morphography
In: Japanese Morphography
In: Japanese Morphography
In: Japanese Morphography
Author:

Abstract

This study looks at the grammatical category of evidentiality in Qiangic languages within the typological framework developed by Aikhenvald. An examination of nine Qiangic languages, with a total of sixteen dialects and varieties, shows that the evidential systems currently identified can be grouped into three categories: the Rgyalrongic type, which is characterized by a firsthand and a non-firsthand subsystem in the past tense, the Qiang type, with a visual, an inferential, and a reported evidential, and the southern Qiangic type, which consists of a direct, an inferential, and a reported and/or a quotative evidential. After comparing these systems, it is found that there is little or no conclusive evidence for them to be inherited from a proto-language, instead, they are more likely to have developed independently. The special properties of the direct evidentials and the unusual composition of the reported and quotative evidentials recurrent in several languages are also discussed.

In: A Typological Study of Evidentiality in Qiangic Languages

Abstract

The Chu ghosts and spirits are divided into those “above” and those “below.” “Above” and “below” cannot be understood only as referring to heavenly spirits and earthly deities but should include also ancestral spirits. The Chu people’s sacrifices and prayers are also divided into those “internal” and “external.” This distinction is a spatial one that is not based on blood relations. The complete, well-organized system of heavenly spirits, earthly deities, and human ghosts had not fully formed in Warring States Chu culture.

In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

The present study offers a new reading of the Wangjiatai Gui cang’s pure yin hexagram text. I make a comprehensive analysis of the composition and layered texture of the text, by employing a methodology to engage with its images and narratives at an emic level. I determine that there is an iconographic resemblance between the hexagram picture and the graph writing its name, identify an image program centered on being “alone”, “inhumanity”, and “water”, and provide a context for the independent but interlocking narratives of Xia king Qi and Gong gong. Taken together, evidence points to Gua “Alone” as the candidate with the lowest odds among various proposals for the hexagram’s name. The overall meaning of “Alone” is that being bad, self-serving, and immoral will lead to one being divested of spiritual blessings and support of the people. The image of water in the two narratives is a metaphor for wantonness that also functions as a conduit for its disposal.

In: Bamboo and Silk
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In: Bamboo and Silk