Sign is type and the codex was the trunk of the tree from which wooden planks were cut for writing, thus turning it into a book. Sign was introduced as a triadic relationship taking off from references to the medium, the object and the interpreter. The trichotomy introduced for the medium by Peirce – tone, token, type – was adopted in linguistics with exception to the first term where token designates mark, signal, information unit.
The mark is testimony expressed in the passage to place. It can be votive, expressing a stated desire, or it can be declarative, exhibiting a fact. Marks and signs can be grouped by types and by what tupos a character or symbol is. A style can be associated to a type. In the case of the language at Foz Côa, the schist stones display a pattern of a zoomorphic type with figures of horses, mountain goats, oxen and deer, and sets of associated marks coming to form signs.
Taking up Engler’s definition, a language is what is produced when man tries to represent his thoughts through a medium of necessary convention; in the case of the engravings, we stand before zoomorphic codes and signals which are semes, defined as complex units of meaning analysable in precise signs. The pregnancy of graphic markings is as great as it is easy to read them in their context, the greater their perception. The markings of the engravings of Foz Côa at the Fariseu location or at the Ribeira dos Piscos show figures which in comparative terms – stylistic and others – allow us to place the group in the Upper Palaeolithic. At the Vermelhosa rock, the less naturalist style and the weapons allow us to place the engraving in the Iron Age period.
Saussure, referring to the apparent contradiction between the mutability and the resistance of the linguistic sign, introduced the distinction of diachrony/synchrony, relegating the static to the synchronic domain and the dynamic to diachronic evolution. For example, the letters of an alphabet and mathematical symbols are signs used according to norms, legi-signs, and it is evident that the characters or signs are in the place of other objects: aliquid stat pro aliquo.
The Stoics left us a theory of representation which distinguishes between marks or vestiges, which are characterised for being corporeal, and events, which are incorporeal. The two great systems of Classical Antiquity, Epicureanism and Stoicism, attempted to identify things which make language possible: the Epicureans elaborated a model that was the declination of the atom whereas the Stoics, to the contrary, opted for the conjugation of happenings. For the latter, the system of signs was ternary. Three instances constitute the sign: he semainon, the sign in and of itself, which can take on the form of the signifier, the tynchanon, the referent, the happening, and the semáinomenon, the incorporeal which establishes the relationship between the sign and the thing – or in other words, the lekton, the signified, that which is said of the thing and which can only be understood by the speaker of the language.
It was Peirce who introduced the scientific terminology of the type and tokento express the relationship between the law and occurrence of facts, with a token being a unit of subsidiary information to type. A paradigmatic example of the two types is the hieroglyphic type and hieratic type of Egyptian numerals, the latter referred to as having notable similarities with a Chinese type. It is a question of what we can call symbolic models – constructed upon the interconnection of concepts.
We can put forth the question of the importance of a character: a tupos. If we use an analogy from chemistry and consider a character to be an atom of a type of language, the importance of the character will become the number of links that can be made with another character of the same type. The importance of a character will thus be used in the interpretation of what constitutes a tensile bond formed by the number of ties that bring a nucleus together with its peripherals through the power of attraction. Needing the connection between the importance of value and semiotics, it can be concluded that the importance and the analytical element of value – more precisely, the value of value – which in the case of tensile structure, deals with two dimensions, that of intensive and extensive gradients.
A code operates the sense of a semiosphere, a space of the signified. Code is a system of modelising the world and restricts the number of possible combinations to those which are effective bearers of some meaning. For Aristotle, the semiotic relationship is not closed within the duality of word-things, but to the contrary, it brings four terms into play: the written words which are the symbols of oral words that are immediate symbols of the affection of the soul which, for its part, are the images of things. The concept of declarative praxis extends itself as an instance of convocation of the deepestimmanent structures and identifies the processes of sedimentation and transformation of discursive forms that the use within communities places upon the form of types, stereotypes and schema.
Fig. 1 – Egyptian numbers: hieroglyphs and hieratic symbols, parallel types (Smeltzer, p. 32)
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