Semiotics 1980 pp 121-130 | Cite as

On Discovering the Semiotic Organization of the Lexicon: State of Health as a Multifaceted Domain

  • Paul B. Dominick


Inquiries into the conceptual categories embedded in state of health ordinarily proceed with a theoretical assumption that disease terms, taken alone, provide a legitimate entry point for a semiotic analysis. The analysis is seen as semiotic in the sense that Sebeok identifies “three fundamental semiotic traditions — the medical, the philosophical, and the linguistic” (1978:viii), and in the recognition that medicine, “is constituted as a cultural system in which symbolic meanings take an active part in disease formation, the classification and cognitive management of illness, and in therapy” (Kleinman, 1973:206). Since diagnosing behavior manifests a diagnostic function and since the diagnostic function is a semiotic function, the symptomatic property of behavior is a semiotic property.


Stomach Ache Mental Aspect American Anthropological Association Cultural Category Semiotic Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul B. Dominick
    • 1
  1. 1.Linguistics DepartmentState University of New York at BuffaloUSA

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