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Claudio J Rodríguez H

Abstract

Metaphors constitute a relevant method for both building and making sense of theories. Semiotics is not exempt from their influence, and an important range of semiotic theories depends on metaphors to be meaningful. In this paper, we wish to examine the place of theory-constitutive metaphors considering the interaction view and the extent to which some areas of semiotics, particularly, the semiotics of culture and biosemiotics, are enriched by having metaphors dominate the way we think about them. The intention of the paper is not to document the different metaphors that have built semiotic theory, but rather to observe through a number of examples that semiotic research contains theory-building metaphors and that these are productive means of developing semiotic thinking further, with the caveat that theory change can be unexpected based on how we build metaphors for our theories.

Open access

Hana Owsianková, Dan Faltýnek and Ondřej Kučera

Abstract

In this study, we aim to introduce the analytical method bag-of-words, which is mainly used as a tool for the analysis (document classification, authorship attribution and so on; e.g. [1, 2]) of natural languages. Quantitative linguistic methods similar to bag-of-words (e.g. Damerau–Levenshtein distance in the paper by Serva and Petroni [3]) have been used for the mapping of language evolution within the field of glottochronology. We attempt to apply this method in the field of biological taxonomy – on the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family. The subjects of our interest are well-known cultivated crops, which at first sight are morphologically very different and culturally perceived as objects of different interests (e.g. oil from oilseed rape, turnip as animal feed and cabbage as a side dish). Despite the phenotypic divergence of these crops, they are very closely related, which is not morphologically obvious at first sight. For this reason, we think that Brassicaceae crops are appropriate illustrative examples for introducing the method. For the analysis, we use genetic markers (internal transcribed spacer [ITS] and maturase K [matK]). Until now, the bag-of-words model has not been used for biological taxonomisation purposes; therefore, the results of the bag-of-words analysis are compared with the existing very well-developed Brassica taxonomy. Our goal is to present a method that is suitable for language development reconstruction as well as possibly being usable for biological taxonomy purposes.

Open access

Serge Tchougounnikov

Abstract

German–Austrian psychology is a direct source of the European formalism movement both in the German context (Germany, Austria) as well as in Russia. This interest of the formalists in the corporeal component of linguistic and literary production has resulted in a particular research stream, which could be defined as a ‘linguo-somatic orientation’. In particular, this is the case of Alois Riegl’s [1] perceptive ‘tactile–optical’ method; Adolf von Hildebrand’s [2] architectonic conception; Konrad Fiedler’s [3] ‘sensorial aesthetics’; W. Wölfflin’s [4] ‘basic concepts’ of the art history, W. Worringer’s [5] psychological arts typology as well as Oskar Walzel’s soundcorporeal poetics elaborated during 1920 [6]. Within Russian formalism, psychological notions (such as ‘representation’, ‘sensation’, ‘apperception’, ‘series’, ‘clear and dark zones of consciousness’, ‘verbal gestures’ and ‘sound gestures’) are fundamental in nearly all the formalist conceptions (Viktor Šklovskij, Evgenij Polivanov, Lev Jakubinskij, Osip Brik, Boris Eixenbaum and Jurij Tynianov). This psychological background constitutes a rather heterogeneous constellation composed of psychological aesthetics and psychological linguistics of the second half of the 19th century. Independently of its intrinsic theoretical values, the formalist way of thinking about language and literature is based on the implicit dominance of psychology, which takes its sense only with respect to the German cognitive tradition, appropriated by the Geisteswissenschaften of this time. In this respect, European formalism participates in the large movement of psychologisation of the humanities. To this extent, the case of Russian formalism is really representative: it invites the rethinking of the genealogy of European structuralism in general. This accumulation of conceptual tools borrowed from the German psychological tradition also reveals a cognitive charge of the formalist theories. The latter constitute a conceptual link between the properly psychological past of the European Geisteswissenschaften and the ‘cognitive’ future of the actual research programmes. Beyond the borrowing of conceptual tools from the psychological trend, the formal method has found in psychology its inspiration for producing new models of analysis. This intrinsically cognitivist dimension of the formalist programme explains its late success during the 1950s–1960s, the period often and abusively called the period of the cognitivist revolution. In reality, it deals with the re-emergence of the research programme of the cognitivist sciences, rather exhaustively formulated by the German psychological tradition..

Open access

Diego Gabriel Krivochen

Abstract

In this paper, we will motivate the application of specific rules of inference from the propositional calculus to natural language sentences. Specifically, we will analyse De Morgan’s laws, which pertain to the interaction of two central topics in syntactic research: negation and coordination. We will argue that the applicability of De Morgan’s laws to natural language structures can be derived from independently motivated operations of grammar and principles restricting the application of these operations. This has direct empirical consequences for the hypothesised relations between natural language and logic.

Open access

Martina Juričková

Abstract

J. R. R. Tolkien, as somebody who experienced a difficult early life as an orphan and then as a World War I soldier, endured enough trauma and suffering in his life for it to become a significant element in almost all of his fictional works. This paper explores Tolkien’s understanding of the effects of suffering in human life, which was shaped by his religious belief. He presents pain as an inevitable and essential part of the nature of the Fallen World; yet while it may seem at first as a form of punishment, if treated appropriately, it turns into a powerful means of achieving personal or societal salvation.

Open access

Ema Jelínková

Abstract

This paper presents the case of Scotland as a traumatized nation haunted by ghosts of the past. Scottish national identity has been profoundly influenced by the country’s loss of sovereignty in the 1707 Act of Union. As a result, the stateless nation deprived of agency built its literature on the foundations of idealized stories of its heroic past. It was not until the 1980s that Scottish literature started to tackle the collective trauma and gave rise to works focusing on the weak and the exploited rather than the brave. Janice Galloway and A. L. Kennedy both epitomize this new vein of literature of trauma and explore the links between national and individual experience and strategies for healing the trauma.

Open access

Martin Šemelák

Abstract

This paper deals with the British dystopian novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, in which human clones are forced to donate their organs in an alternate reality set in 1990s England. Through the characters of the novel, various manifestations of suffering are examined from the viewpoint of existentialism. The whole concept of donation might be understood as a metaphorical expression for human life, as well as the omnipresent consciousness of its finitude. Ishiguro has prepared the ground for disturbing discussion where two ostensibly different groups of people – clones, whose only purpose is to donate their vital organs, and “normal people” as the recipients – suddenly appear to be indistinguishable in terms of mortality and the general experience of human existence. This paper focuses on the concept of existential anguish in the context of the novel’s story. Using an unobtrusive science fiction narrative, Never Let Me Go encourages readers to contemplate the essence, meaning and purpose of human life, and it quietly points to topics that are usually treated as highly sensitive: the inevitability of death and apparent absurdity of human existence.

Open access

Jana Waldnerová

Abstract

The paper focuses on the life and poetics of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, an important representative of Cuban gay literature, who, due to his sexual orientation and eventual opposition to the Revolution, was silenced by the Cuban government and exposed to continual threats. His novels, which depict the hardship of and discrimination against ordinary people and gay members of Cuban society (for example Old Rosa and Farewell to the Sea), reveal also signs of the deep trauma that the writer suffered and its impact on his writing.

Open access

Judita Ondrušeková

Abstract

Morality is often referred to as the code of conduct of society. This code determines what is considered correct behaviour and enforces values society deems beneficial. Values themselves are protected by laws and social or moral norms. Authors combine all the mentioned concepts and convey them through the actions taken or not taken by characters. Their writings provide the reader with characters’ motivations, reasoning and try to line them up with a final judgment – to see whether individual morals and values line up with the ones upheld by the rest of society. When dealing with morality in narratives of pain and trauma, the objective is then not only to analyse the protagonists’ psyche but also consider societal pressures. The focus of our analysis lies in Pavel Vilikovský’s novel The Autobiography of Evil, in which the author depicts morally sound characters becoming morally ambiguous while living in an oppressively authoritarian political system. Our aim is to explore the pain and trauma of Jozef K. whose moral core is affected by blackmail and threats. His actions are misguided and they perpetuate the cycle of violence instead of stopping it.

Open access

Nikola Danišová

Abstract

The present study is devoted to the transformation of protagonists into animals in ancient narratives (myths, magical stories, legends, etc.) from various cultures and continents (Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Australia). The aim of this research is to determine in what situations and subject-motive combinations the main protagonist transforms into an animal as a part or consequence of his/her fair/well-deserved punishment. We will also attempt to conceptually grasp the archetypal meaning of the existential transformation into an animal, which is directly related to human thinking and (sacral and profane) way of life.