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Session 4

Iconic vs non-Iconic Signs

Friday 15 January 2021, 14:00 (GMT+1) - 17:00 (GMT+1)

The fourth session will explore the limits of iconicity in writing systems and ‘alternative’ paths to script creation. First, Barbara Montecchi will address how suitable the label ‘linear’ is, typically used in contrast with ‘picture-based’, to describe the Linear A script of Minoan Crete. Sabine Hyland will make a case for the presence of iconic signs in the non-iconic three-dimensional khipu used in the Inca empire, while Alex de Voogt will challenge the view that iconicity is always a necessary and stable part of the development of writing systems. The Workshop will conclude with a talk by evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi, who will argue that writing, speech and music follow and mimic structures already existing in nature, which act as stimuli that our brain learned to process through evolution.

14:00 - To What Extent is Linear A ‘Linear’?
Barbara Montecchi University of Bologna

14:40 - Iconic Signs in a Non-Iconic Writing System: Khipus with Potatoes, Feathers, Figurines and Other Objects
Sabine Hyland University of St Andrews

Discussion (10’)

15:30 - Optional and Ephemeral Iconicity in the History of Writing Systems
Alex de Voogt Drew University

16:10 - The Nature of Language and Music
Mark Changizi Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Florida

16:50 - Final Discussion and Virtual Aperitivo