A Note on Iconicity and Motivation of Expression
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While iconic effects can be detected at all levels of linguistic analysis, according to the standard position they have little, if any, relevance for the system of language. I would like to show that iconicity seems marginal only in static approaches. Motivation of form is central whenever a new way of expressing things is looked for. Once we see that language is about finding new means of expression, the obvious question to ask is what makes these means suitable: why they are accepted as satisfactory ‘vehicles’ of meaning. From this point of view, the issue of iconicity — correspondence of form and meaning — turns out to be an instance of a more general phenomenon: adequacy of symbols for novel tasks. The interactive theory of metaphor will be presented to substantiate the claim that conventional forms and meanings can be viewed as a reservoir of motives for expressive purposes.