Writing encodes linguistic content but is also meaningful in its own right: graphical signs are associated with social, political and cultural values. In complex writing systems, which represent both the semantic (logographic) and the phonetic (phonographic) dimensions of language, signs can carry additional signification. Many writing societies, both old and new, are polygraphic as well as multilingual, thus creating complex writing spaces in which graphic choices, combined with linguistic choices, constitute specific discursive strategies. Lastly, writing tends to generate its own functional spheres and domains of action, rather than reproducing those connected with orality.
Theme A will focus on the following topics:
- Complex (logo-phonetic) writing systems and heterography (writing one language with the graphic signs of another): linguistic and cognitive dimensions; the added value of logographic signs, play on graphic signs, interactions with visual culture.
- The birth and adaptation of writing, following relevant linguistic, social, cultural and cognitive lines.
- Polygraphism: the functional distribution of and interaction between writing systems that co-exist in a given society or document.
- Diglossia, intralingual translation, commentary, rewriting: diglossia and digraphia, the emergence of writing in the vernacular, textual practices of re-semanticisation, rewriting, amplification etc., envisaged as discursive strategies.
- The written text: semiotic processes specific to written texts, beyond the transcription of spoken sequences.
Theme leaders: Philip Huyse