Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet



Next seminar

  • 5/12. Kalina Moskaluk, Khatia Chikhladze (Students as Cognitive semiotics): Constraining Metaphor and How Spectators Experience Dance


Autumn Term Seminars 2019


September 2019

  • 5/9.  Juan Carlos Mendoza-Collazos (Cognitive semiotics, Lund): "Material agency" and "derived intentionality" 

  • 12/9. David Dunér (History of ideas, Lund): Mind in Universe: On the Origin, Evolution, and Distribution of Intelligent Life in Space.
    • Abstract: The presentation discusses the question of mind in space and the ground for an emerging research field, astrocognition, studying the origin, evolution, and distribution of intelligence in Universe. Three cognitive functions are particularly prominent in the history of astrobiology: perception, conceptualization, and analogy. The bio-cultural coevolution of cognition explains the emergence of advanced cognitive skills. An indispensable requisite for the evolution of intelligence, sociability, communication, and advanced technology is intersubjectivity. An intelligent being that has developed advanced technology, would likely have a complex social system, complex communication, and a high degree of distributed cognition. Cognitive semiotics is a key to understand the semiosis involved in astrobiology and astrocognition, such as biosignatures and interstellar communication.
    • Download paper from Calendar of Cognitive Semiotics

  • 19/9, 13-15-14.00 (Please note time). Przemyslaw Zywiczynski, (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torún, Poland). Pantomimic communication: Universal or culture-specific?
    • Abstract: A number of prominent language evolution researchers suggest that the emergence of language could have been preceded by a stage of pantomimic communication (e.g. Arbib 2012, Tomasello 2008). The assessment of pantomimic hypotheses largely depends on a multifaceted investigation of pantomime as a unique semiotic system, since despite its non-linguistic character, it allows for communicating a wide spectrum of meanings (Zlatev et al. 2017). The proponents of pantomimic conceptions agree that a key characteristic of pantomime that makes it a viable candidate for a precursor of languages is its non-conventional character (Żywiczyński 2018). I investigate whether the postulate of the non-conventionality of pantomime should lead to the assumption of its freedom from group-specificity – I summon lines of evidence present in gestural literature (e.g. Poggi & Zomparelli 1987; Kendon, 2004; Kita 2009; McNeill 2012), on language evolution, as well as present the results of a cross-cultural (Polish-Italian) study on understanding pantomimically communicated events.

  • 26/9. No seminar

October 2019

  • 3/10. Thomas Belligh (University of Ghent). Description, explanation, and objects of study in the language sciences.
    • Abstract: In this talk I aim to provide an overview of the various possible objects of study that can be targeted in the language sciences and to provide an account of how these objects of study relate to the concepts of description and explanation. After providing a short overview of the various possible ways of doing describing and explaining in the natural and human sciences, I turn to the specific situation of the language sciences and discuss how the interplay between kinds of data, ways of description and ways of explanation can lead to the creation of quite diverse objects of study. Building on these insights I present a pluralistic yet critical view on the epistemology of linguistics and apply this view by critically assessing the epistemological foundations of Cognitive Linguistics.

  • 10/10. Elena Faur (Romanian Academy, “Sextil Puscariu” Institute of Linguistics and Literary History, Cluj-Napoca). Metaphor in Motivation and Sedimentation Model (MSM) and in Coseriu's Integral Linguistics
    • The Motivation and Sedimentation Model (MSM) has been developed over the past years within the cognitive-semiotic framework. While partially influenced by Coseriu’s matrix, MSM departs from its original roots as its scope is more ambitious than the Coserian one: to account for all semiotic systems as well, and not only for language. As a result, there are naturally similarities, but also differences between the MSM and Coseriu’s theory, as expressed by his famous “matrix” of three levels and three perspectives. In my presentation I will take some metaphor examples, first discussed from the perspective of MSM, and explore the similarities and differences that emerge when interpreting them in the perspective of Coseriu’s Integral Linguistics.

  • 17/10. Aaron Stutz (Emery University and Bohusläns museum): New Paleoneurological Perspectives on the Biocultural Evolution of the Extended Mind.
    • We will discuss exciting findings from the new field of paleoneurology, and their implications for human cognitive semiotic evolution.
    • Download paper from Calendar of Cognitive Semiotics
  • 24/10. Gabriele Giacosa: Sound as the Main Goal: An Enactive Approach to Music
    • Abstract: The goal of my research is to make ground for a transdisciplinary explication of music, bridging the gap between different conceptions in levels of analysis (theory, philosophy, neuroscience, etc.). To do so, I will focus on the phenomenological experience of music, looking for the minimum features required for the identification of music in the listener. Assuming the perspective of cognitive semiotics, I disregard top-down conceptions related to order; instead, I conceive of perceived communicative intentions as the key feature. I argue that music should be studied as an intrinsically meaningful bio-cultural phenomenon.
      Considering similarities between music and language, I assume a human capacity to perceive the degree of relevance of different intentions attributed to sounds, rather than non-contextual hierarchies and categories of intentions; thus, communication of intentionality becomes the core. I suggest re-addressing the developmental notion of “teleomusicality” in intersubjective accounts of (developed) intentionality. By suggesting a higher relevance of development over pre-wiring, enactivist accounts of intentionality and agency allow for a more consistent emergence of meaning in relation to direct perception and intersubjectivity. This allows me to approach music as a study case for comparing representationalism and 4E cognition.

  • 31/10. (Note changed room: H135a). Patrizia Violi, University of Bologna: How things shape memory: The case of monuments and counter-monuments
    • Abstract: My presentation will suggest some possible ways to connect cognitive and cultural semiotics investigating the role that material artefacts can play in the process of constructing cultural memory. In particular I will analyse the semiotic strategies of monumentalisation and counter-monumentalisation.

November 2019

  • 7/11. Malgorzata Fabiszak (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań). Collective memory and collective identity in the urban space.
    • Abstract: I focus on how the cultural landscape of the city of Poznań reflects and is reflected in the discourses of memory and identity of its inhabitants. In particular, I look at how cemeteries can become sites of both individual and collective memory. I have selected two places for closer investigation: a reconstruction of the Jewish cemetery in Głogowska Street and the war cemetery in Cytadela Park. The two sites were used in focus groups interviews and as keywords in searching for articles in the local newspapers. These two sets of data were then analysed with the tools developed in the Discourse Historical Approach (Reisigl 2017, Reisigl and Wodak 2009, Wodak and Krzyżanowski 2008). They reveal the complex patterns of remembering and erasure of the presence of the Jews in the city and of the memory of the Nazi German occupation and their battle with the Soviet army in 1945.

  • 14/3. Georgios Stampoulidis; Alexandra Mouratidou (students at Cognitive semiotics): Polysemiotic communication and multimodality: in street art metaphors and street art narratives — Choice Awareness and Manipulation Blindness: A cognitive semiotic exploration of choice-making and memory. Presentations of talk given at Greek semiotics conference.
    • Abstract (Polysemiotic communication): Metaphor and narrative have often been discussed (with much controversy) but rarely together (e.g. Fitzpatrick and Farquhar, 2019). As cognitive semiotics aims to integrate concepts and methods from semiotics, cognitive science and cognitive linguistics, we endeavor to offer a coherent terminology, which distinguishes the notions of sensory modalities (vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste) and semiotic systems (language, depiction and gesture) (Stampoulidis et al., 2019; Zlatev, 2019). My work focuses on street art, an often visually perceived socio-cultural medium that typically incorporates two interacting semiotic systems (language and depiction), and is thus, polysemiotic (Stampoulidis et al., 2019). In this way, we refer to semiotic systems in which metaphors (and other rhetorical figures) and narratives can be expressed avoiding terminological ambiguity. In this presentation, I discuss methods and results from two recently published studies: (a) a study on street art metaphors (Stampoulidis and Bolognesi, 2019) and (b) a study on street art narratives (Stampoulidis, 2019).
    • Abstract (Manipulation blindness): “Blindness” to choice is widely considered to be part of human cognition, designating unreliable agents who essentially lack choice awareness (e.g. Johansson et al. 2005). Cognitive semiotics (Zlatev 2015), however, suggests a variety of factors that influence choice-making and acknowledges different degrees of awareness. We propose “manipulation blindness” as a more adequate term to suggest that “blindness” is strictly limited to the level of detection, and not to the level of choice. This presentation describes the empirical study, focusing on memory, consequence, and affectivity as factors able to influence the detection of manipulation, and discusses the results, indicating that we are aware of our choices and that we have, to various degrees, access to our intentional acts.

  • 21/11 Ole Nedergaard Thomsen (Copenhagen Business School):Towards an integral cybersemiotic discourse pragmatics
    • Abstract: The present contribution will focus on some basic assumptions of Coseriu’s Integral Linguistics, Hengeveld et al.’s Functional Discourse Grammar, and Brier’s Cybersemiotics, as well as Zlatev et al.’s Cognitive Semiotics, with a view to their possible integration into an Integral Cybersemiotic Discourse Pragmatics as a theory of human language and languaging. In line with Cybersemiotics and Cognitive Semiotics, the human level of communication, that of Language Gaming, must be viewed in its context of the evolution of communication out of non-communicative sensori-motor cognition. It thus places language in the context of Total Human Evolutionary Cognition and Communication (THECC). With this foundation follows the conception of verbal language as both individual-centered and collective-centered. We stress this psycho-social complementarity, in opposion to one-way reductions as either individual (Cognitive Grammar) or collective (standard Saussurean Systemic Functional Grammar).
  • 28/11 Piotr Konderak, UMCS Lublin: Mapping multisensorial perceptions onto polysemiotic responses - dynamic, enactive and cognitivist perspectives
    • A talk inspired by W. Allen’s film "Manhattan” (1979), in particular the first scene, where a narrator attempts to describe New York. Subsequent descriptions are accompanied by black-and-white images of NY/Manhattan and Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue"...


December 2019

  • 5/12. Kalina Moskaluk, Khatia Chikhladze (Students as Cognitive semiotics): Constraining Metaphor and How Spectators Experience Dance
    • Abstract: Kalina and Khatia have taken their respective reading course related to their ongoing MA thesis project. In Kalina's case this has been on metaphor theories, and in Khatia's - on phenomenological and empirical approaches to dance experience. At this seminar, they will each give a 30 minute presentation, where they will try to compress the most relevant aspects of the reading courses, and reply to questions from the audience.


  • 12/12. Göran Sonesson (Cognitive semiotics). The publication of memory – from the Via crucis to the terrorist memorial.
    • Abstract: The notion of memory is multiply ambiguous. It can be an event, an act of memory; or it can consist of a structure conserving and organizing a set of facts. In the first case, it may involve the automatic retention of the just evolved moment in the stream of consciousness, or it can be a deliberate act having the purpose to build up, or to search, the space of recorded facts. In the second case, the information can be accumulated in the brain, as an endogram, or in an object independent of the body, an artefact or an exogram.

      I have ealier suggested that the photograph, at least from the Instamatic to the selfie, partakes of several of these kinds of memory. The same could be said about the monument, although the latter necessarily involves a public dimension. Maurice Halbwachs and Alfred Schütz have written enlightening things about collective memory which are worthwhile exploring. None of them, however, were able, at the time, to take into account the difference between two kinds of publication of memory: the official one, which is what first comes to mind, epitomized in war monuments or the moment to the Holocaust; and, on the other hand, the monuments erected on places where terrorist acts have occurred, which become public events only because of the concurrence of many individual acts of commemoration, which is not to say that they are not socially conditioned. In my talk I elucidate, in particular, the second kind of memorial publication.


  • 19/12. No seminar




Spring Term Seminars 2020


January 2020

  • 23/1.  Jordan Zlatev (Cognitive semiotics, Lund): Polysemiosis vs. multimodality: narration, pantomime and metaphor
    • Abstract: Language, gesture and depiction are three universal human semiotic systems, realized in various ways dependent on culture and technology. While each may be used independently, most spontaneous human communication involves the combination of two or more of these (and other) systems: polysemiosis. This allows complex interactions of sign use, where the different expressive potentials of the systems interplay with and balance one another in ways that remain to be explored in detail.
      Some research that is relevant for this topic is carried out under the banner of multimodality. “Modality”, however, remains a highly ambiguous notion. For some, it corresponds to the notion of semiotic system (e.g. Forceville 2017). In gesture studies, language itself is considered “multimodal” (Vigliocco, Perniss & Vinson, 2014) and in social semiotics one considers the combination of “modes” such as speech, text, picture, color, music, typography, design etc. (Kress, 2009). Finally, in psychology “modality” is used to refer to the different senses: vision, hearing, touch, smell and touch (and proprioception), and perception is known to be multimodal.
      In my cognitive semiotic approach, I restrict multimodality to the latter “sensory”, sense, and tease it apart from polysemiotic communication (Zlatev 2019). In my presentation, I will illustrate the usefulness of this distinction by reviewing three empirical studies: on unimodal vs. multimodal pantomime (Zlatev et al, 2017), on translating from monosemiotic to polysemiotic narratives (Louhema et al. in preparation) and on monosemiotic and polysemiotic metaphor in street art (Stampoulidis et al. in preparation).

      Forceville, C. 2017. Visual and multimodal metaphor in advertising: cultural perspectives. Styles of Communication 9(2). 26–41.
      Kress, G. 2009. Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.
      Vigliocco, G., Perniss, P., & Vinson, D. (2014). Language as a multimodal phenomenon: implications for language learning, processing and evolution. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 369(1651), 20130292.
      Zlatev, J. 2019. Mimesis theory, learning and polysemiotic communication. Encylcopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer.


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Seminars are held 13:15-15:00 every Thursday at SOL:H428b, unless otherwise indicated.

Please note that, after an experiment a year ago with moving the seminar to Fridays, we have now returned to having it on Thursdays.