The Iconic Roots of Language
Walter A. Koch was Professor of English Philology and General Semiotics at Ruhr-University Bochum from 1968 through 1999. Since 1999 he has been Professor Emeritus. In 1984, he founded the Bochum Semiotic Colloquy ("BSC") which became engaged in interdisciplinary symposia and research. He has been editor of BBS (Bochumer Beiträge zur Semiotik) and BPX (Bochum Publications in Evolutionary Cultural Semiotics). His main interests are Semiotics, Cultural Semiotics, Theory of Literature and Poetry, Systems Theory, a General Theory of Evolution, Systems Philosophy. Among his publications: Varia Semiotica (Hildesheim: Olms, 1971), Poetry and Science (Tübingen: Narr, 1983), Evolutionary Cultural Semiotics (Bochum: Universitätsverlag, 1986), The Biology of Literature (Bochum: Universitätsverlag, 1993), The Roots of Literature (Bochum: Universitätsverlag, 1993), ed. with Gabriel Altmann: Systems: New Paradigms for the Human Sciences (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1997). The present book is a collection of three essays which – though conceived for different contexts ¿ combine in the effort of suggesting an overall and crucial importance of ICONICITY to the explanation of the evolution of LANGUAGE in especial, and also of INFORMATION in general. This radical thesis is in conflict with mainstream theories of linguistics. ICONICITY as understood in the present book is considered to be a foundation-stone for any attempt at a holistic representation of communication systems and also of the universe at large. This means that our seemingly conventional language ultimately relies on various types of iconic imagination. Among the billion different words that have been ‘invented’ on this planet, there are only very few, if any, that have been completely arbitrary from the very start.