Meaning Networks and Verbal Communication: A Semiotic Perspective of Human Discourse

  • Marcel Danesi


Verbal communication unfolds so automatically that we hardly ever take notice of the complex conceptual system that makes it possible for us to engage in it so effortlessly. In the late 1940s, the relation between that system and the grammatical system that allows us to transmit information “linearly” in actual speech situations came to constitute a central preoccupation of language and communication scientists. It was the American engineer Claude Shannon (1948) who argued in that era that information of any kind could be described in terms of binary choices between equally probable alternatives. From Shannon’s work—and that of mathematician Norbert Wiener (1949), who pioneered the field of cybernetics and the development of computer science—there emerged a widespread notion in the language and communication sciences in the 1950s, still prevalent today, that verbal communication was subject to the same rule-governed stochastic processes that characterize mechanical and animal signaling systems.


Verbal Communication Conceptual Domain Conceptual Network Communicative Competence Metaphorical Concept 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Danesi
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Semiotics and Communication TheoryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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