Iconiciteit als taalkundig anker | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



One of the central precepts in classical rhetorical theory is that form should match content. In many places, classical rhetoricians encourage their readers to use iconic language, which means that the speech or written discourse resembles the conceptual content in its form (for example, through sound effects, rhythmic patterns, clause length). This presupposes that the processing of the formal properties of the discourse (mainly a perceptual operation) interferes with the processing of the linguistic meaning it conveys (a conceptual operation). The question is how this interaction between the two types of operation can be described in linguistic terms. I argue that a meaningful answer to these questions can be given within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics. In this paradigm, iconicity can be understood as a communicative strategy whereby the depictive aspects of the discourse facilitate the processing of its conceptual meaning.


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