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Review article The nexus of linguistics and semiotics*

T TICH ERNEST W. B. HESS-LU

The twenty chapters of this book are based on articles written by the author during the past two decades. They represent the wide range of topics and interests, which the eminent scholar of Germanic Studies, Linguistics, and Semiotics covers in her research. She divided her collection into two parts, the rst being devoted to `Semiotic insights', the second to `The data do the talking'. The rst part, with eleven chapters, provides the theoretical and historical basis for uncovering the leitmotifs at the nexus of semiotics and linguistics. The second part, with nine chapters, is of a more empirical nature and exposes linguistic data which are analyzed within the semiotic paradigm. They not only cover data from all levels of linguistic analysis, from phonology, morphology, lexis, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, but also from a variety of languages, Indo-European, Slavic, and Germanic. Some of these chapters deal with very special problems, for instance, with the `Early New High German e-plural', some are of a more fundamental nature within the realm of linguistics and semiotics. But Rauch manages to hold them all together by her overall perspective on her subject, the change and growth of language (Introduction). She is interested in the relationship between the two disciplines, but also in their historiography, as well as in their interdigitation with other disciplines, especially with medicine. Because medicine is protosemiotic, it not only enjoys overlaps with several natural and humane sciences, it also has given birth, as it were, to semiotics. Chapter 9 presents a lucid discussion of protosemiotic concepts of medicine and its relationships with other disciplines such as biology, psychology, linguistics, and anthropology. Following the Sebeok metaphor of the semiotic tripod by which linguistics is a fundamental semiotic tradition along with medicine and
*Irmengard Rauch, Semiotic Insights: The Data Do the Talking. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999. Semiotica 1371/4 (2001), 113116 00371998/01/0137 0113 # Walter de Gruyter

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114 E. W. B. Hess-Luttich philosophy, Rauch denes linguistics as an integral part of semiotics. Both have a long history of juxtaposition. Therefore, the object of research, language as a sign system, calls for a broader perspective than many traditional linguists are prepared to take. To understand the delimitation of language, it has to be analyzed not only in terms of sounds, grammar, and syntax, but also in terms of text, discourse, and narrative. Furthermore, these nd their extension in non-verbal modalities of communication. Therefore, her study of discourse also includes other phenomena than linguistic items in the narrow sense of the word. This is why Rauch clearly rejects the classical linguistic type of denition of language such as is reected `in the simplicity of the Chomskyon axiom which associates sound with meaning' (p. 4; cf. chapter 6 on language as inlay in semiotics). The binary concepts serving as classical tools for linguistics (sound/ meaning, matter/form, langue/parole, diachrony/synchrony, etc.) have to be complemented by the numerous trichotomies which represent the conceptual characteristics of semiotics in the Peircean tradition. However, the application of these semiotic tools to linguistic data, Rauch criticizes, has not actually taken hold. She proves in her chapters throughout how fruitfully this aim can be achieved. For this approach, the old dichotomy of `hard science' versus `soft science' becomes irrelevant. This is well demonstrated in detailed discussions of Saussure and the roots of today's linguistics, of the compatibility of paradigms in linguistics and literature, of historical and systematic relations between linguistics and semiotics, of language as a sign system par excellence, of the Peircean model of trichotomies, of the relationship of object language and metalanguage. Other chapters are devoted, e.g., to a very inspiring comparison of a semiotic unit dened as length in language, paralanguage, music, and architecture; to the status of narrative within a theory of action, and congurated with text and discourse in terms of Peircean concepts of Firstness (text), Secondness (discourse), and Thirdness (narrative). Following the chapter on protosemiotic (see above), the chapter on `protosemiotists' gives an interesting account of the approaches of some of the central contemporary gures in the eld and of how they comment on the `fathers of modern semiotics'. It is more or less a review of a book which appeared in 1981, Die Welt als Zeichen: Klassiker der modernen Semiotik, edited by Martin Krampen, Klaus Oehler, Roland Posner, and Thure von Uexku ll. The subsections present brief summaries of Klaus Oehler's treatment of Peirce, Roland Posner's comments on Morris, Martin Krampen's on Saussure, Ju rgen Trabant's

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The nexus of linguistics and semiotics

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on Hjelmslev's glossematics, Eco's on Jacobson, Sebeok's on Bu hler, Thure von Uexku ll's on his father Jakob von Uexku ll, and, rounding o the circle, Eugen Baer's on Sebeok's life and work and his position `as the prime nova in the present world of semiotics' (p. 144). The rst part of the book is closed by a look at the state of the art of semiotics at the turn of the millennium as reected in bibliographies (compiled, e.g., by Achim Eschbach), handbooks (e.g., by Winfried No th), but not the one edited by Posner et al. with its rst two volumes out in 1997 and 1998), encyclopedias (edited by Sebeok, but not the one edited by Paul Bouissac in 1998), and in the Congresses of the International Association for Semiotic Studies IASS, especially the Fifth, 1994 in Berkeley, presided over by Irmengard Rauch. The second part of the book displays the author's wide range of scholarly work on empirical data from various languages, e.g., English, German, Slavic, Czech, Latin, and their hypothecated parent, Proto-Indo-European, and from various components of their grammars, vocabulary, and usage. She investigates especially variation in Old Saxon biblical epics of the ninth and tenth century (Heliand, Genesis), prosodic units and suprasegmental systems, such as stress and pitch, in Old Saxon and Old High German. In two chapters on `causality' and on `analogy', she addresses the question of cause and analogy in contemporary linguistic thought. Two chapters follow the question of how `language yields some compulsory features which override all other features congured in causation for a given instance of language change/ growth [and] the struggle between and among causation forces' (p. 193) in certain phonological features such as English past tense verbs in -d and -ed or German -e noun plural. While data in chapters 1217 centered on graphology, phonology, and morphology, the last three chapters oer data for syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic insights, from sources such as, again, the Old Saxon Heliand, Early New High German texts such as Johannes Tepl's Ackermann aus Bohmen, and contemporary telephone conversations (quoted from Texte gesprochener deutscher Standardsprache, volume 3, collected in the early 1970s by the Freiburg branch of the Institut fu r deutsche Sprache). In focusing on the conversational techniques of lying, Rauch opens at the end of her book an inspiring new eld of research, which arms the `richness of a linguistic mendacious mode, which remains to be researched, both within German and crosslinguistically' (p. 250). I could not agree more, and there is nothing to be added to Thomas A. Sebeok's introductory comment in his `Foreword' that these chapters from two decades of research by Irmengard Rauch `constitute but a

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116 E. W. B. Hess-Luttich small portion of her prodigious output of uniformly high quality. Her reference apparatus and carefully compiled indexes will point her readers to her opera omnia which I recommend with admiration and enthusiasm' (p. xvii).
Ernest W. B. Hess-Lu ttich (b. l949) is Professor of German and Linguistics and Chair of the Institute of Germanic Studies at the University of Berne, Switzerland nhess@germ.unibe.cho. His research interests include discourse analysis in various elds of theory and application, e.g., literary, intercultural, subcultural, institutional, public, and technical. His recent publications include Zeichen und Schichten in Drama und Theater (1985), Angewandte Sprachsoziologie (1987), Grammatik der deutschen Sprache (third edition, 1999), and Literary Theory and Media Practice (2000).

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