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Writing—Speech—Image: The Competition of Signs

  • Jan-Dirk Müller
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

P rophecies such as the one cited above are more and more common now that the electronic communications media have set off on their triumphal march, no longer transporting only a limited linguistic code (such as Morse) or only spoken or written language (such as radio or fax) but instead transporting images and sounds as well. In fact, these types of multimedia communication are no longer only used by big institutions that have access to the necessary technology (such as television) but can be produced by anyone with access to the “net.” In modern forms of communication, the word is more and more often supplemented or replaced by iconic signs. Indeed, a world without books seems to be one of the less threatening visions of the future, when some people even envision a world without writing, or perhaps without language, looming on the horizon. Yet, ever since Malthus predicted that humanity would die of starvation, such predictions have never proven trustworthy, and now, too, one should wait first and observe carefully, especially since futuristic visions of this sort reflect, to a considerable extent, fantasies of retrogression. It is telling that, in the words of Hettche cited earlier,“nature” is to “reappear” in that future world of images, apparently a Rousseauian world “before” the differentiation of language. Is it the return to a space beyond language, a homecoming into the romantic phantasm of unmediated presence? One must remember that this so-called nature, this world of images, is one that is conveyed solely by digital means and that the use of nonanalog linguistic signs, and particularly, nonanalog metalinguistic signs has not declined, but rather increased.

Keywords

Visual Sign Visible World Literary Text Visual Code Everyday World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Ursula Schäfer, Vokalität: Altenglische Dichtung zwischen Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit (Tübingen: Narr, 1992).Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    A recent work dealing with this scene is Joachim Bumke, Die Blutstropfen im Schnee: Über Wahrnehmung und Erkenntnis im “Parzival” Wolframs von Eschenbach (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 20.
    Der Stricker, Verserzählungen I, ed. Hanns Fischer, 4th rev. edn., Johannes Janota (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1979), pp. 110–25.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    Hedda Ragotzky Gattungserneuerung und Laienunterweisung in den Texten des Strickers (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 28.
    Herrand von Wildonie, Vier Erzählungen, ed. Hanns Fischer (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1959), pp. 22–43.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kathryn Starkey and Horst Wenzel 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan-Dirk Müller

There are no affiliations available

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