Imaginal Iconicity

Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Images are sign vehicles which share mere qualities with their object of reference. Stylistic means of imaginal iconicity intexts are repetition, rhythm, duration, and tempo. The qualities which these devices represent are structures of time, sequence, or quantity. In literature, delaying and accelerating of tempo are techniques of reflecting the protagonists' temporal sensation of actions and events. The possibility of reproducing space by means of imaginal iconicity is limited. An example is typographic iconicity as used in visual poetry. Another iconic potential of imaginal iconicity is used in certain onomatopoeic features of the vocabulary of space. Consider the semantic opposition between cranny, nook, chest on the one hand and place or hall on the other. In these examples, the small spaces are expressed by means of short forms with a relative high phonetic constriction.

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