Is language a primary modeling system? On Juri Lotman’s concept of semiosphere

  • Han-liang Chang Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 106

Abstract

Juri Lotman’s well-known distinction of primary modeling system versus secondary modeling system is a lasting legacy of his that has been adhered to, modified, and refuted by semioticians of culture and nature. Adherence aside, modifications and refutations have focused on the issue whether or not language is a primary modeling system, and, if not, what alternatives can be made available to replace it. As Sebeok would concur, for both biosemiosis and anthroposemiosis, language can only be a secondary modeling system on top of the biological experience of Umwelt or human sensory system. This paper proposes to explore the possibility of a “preverbal” modeling system suggested by Lotman’s spatial concept of semiosphere, and discuss its implications in cross-cultural dialogue.

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Published
2003-12-31
How to Cite
Chang, H.- liang. (2003). Is language a primary modeling system? On Juri Lotman’s concept of semiosphere. Sign Systems Studies, 31(1), 9-23. https://doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2003.31.1.01
Section
Articles