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1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Mihhail Lotman, Maria-Kristiina Lotman Editors’ preface
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2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Mihhail Lotman Verse as a semiotic system
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Poetry is an important challenge for semiotics, and a special area of study for the Tartu-Moscow semiotic school, since the first volume of Sign Systems Studies was Juri Lotman’s monograph Lectures on Structural Poetics (1964). From then on the concept of poetry as one of the secondary modelling systems has evolved, since in relation to poetry, the primary modelling system is natural language. In this paper, the concept of semiotic system has been re-examined and the treatment of primary and secondary semiotic systems has been significantly revised. A semiotic system can be characterized not only by its internal structure and other systems to which it is related, but also by the field upon what it is realized. The latter aspect has gained almost no attention in any treatment of semiotics; the execution of a sign is understood in the spirit of Saussure and Hjelmslev as a material realization of an abstract element (for instance, a chess piece knight can be realized with wood or plastic, but it can also remain purely virtual). At first, distinction is made between language and sign system. Every sign system consists of language and field. There are three different kinds of fields: 1) just a background – footprints on sand are a sign on the background of sand; 2) a material structured field (a football ground or a chess board in the game called Chapayev) and 3) an abstract structured field, which in its turn consists of other fields (for instance, the chess board which consists of 64 fields). Differently from a football ground, a chess board can be a purely virtual one on which virtual pieces are moved (for instance, in case of blindfold or correspondence chess). The field in its turn can be language and one language can use another language as its field. In this case we speak of primary and secondary sign systems. For instance, the prosodic system of language is a field for a verse metre, while the semantic system of language is a field for a narrative.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Mihhail Lotman Поэзия как семиотическая система. Резюме
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4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Mihhail Lotman Varss kui semiootiline susteem. Kokkuvõte
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semiotics of verse
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Eva Lilja Some aspects of poetic rhythm: An essay in cognitive metrics
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Rhythm should be regarded as a perceptional category rather than as a property of the work of art. Rhythm might be classified according to three principles, serial rhythm, sequential rhythm and dynamic rhythm, three basic sets of gestalt qualities that lay the foundation for versification systems.Two schemas decide the rhythm of a poem: direction and balance. ‘Direction’ refers to rising and falling movements in the line. ‘Balance’ refers to repetitions in a play between symmetry and asymmetry as well as a moment of rest.Rhythms produce meaning, probably due to the fact that rhythms activate internalized bodily experiences as well as conventional meaning patterns. This is demonstrated on the basis of a poem by Sylvia Plath.
6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Eva Lilja Poeetilise rutmi aspekte: essee kognitiivsest meetrikast. Kokkuvõte
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7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Eva Lilja Некоторые аспекты поэтического ритма: эссе в области когнитивной метрики. Резюме
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8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Marina Tarlinskaja Rhythm and meaning: “Rhythmical deviations” as italics
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English iambic pentameter allows rhythmical deviations that occupy three (seldom four, more often two) adjacent metrical positions. These deviations, thoughmetrical, are noticed by the listener or reader. Starting from the first quarter of the 16th century, poets (Surrey) have used rhythmical deviations to emphasize (“italicize”) semantically important segments in the line. Such rhythmical deviations have become part of the English poetic traditions. It has turned out that rhythmical deviations used to italicize meaning are filled with recurring rhythmical and grammatical structures and repeated lexicon. M. L. Gasparov used a special term to denote the recurring rhythmical-grammatical structures: “cliches”; while calling cliches incorporating recurrent lexicon “formulas”. I have discovered that formulas are part of the English poetic tradition: the same formulas recur in poetic texts of the 16th–20th cc. They are not plagiarisms, allusionsor reminiscences; they are a common basket of goods that belong to all English poets, used by all and owned by none. The recurrent deviations usually occur on metrical positions “weak-strong-weak-strong” and as a rule contain a monosyllabic (rarely – disyllabic) verb-predicate followed by a monosyllabic grammatical word (e.g. an article), an adjective-attribute and a noun – a direct object to the verb. The recurring lexicon includes verbs of motion, particularly verbs of fast, aggressive motion, an action directed downwards or causing an injury or death, and recurring nouns referring to moving objects or agents (hands, arms, wings; spear, sword). I term such recurring formulas “rhythmical italics”.
9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Marina Tarlinskaja Rutm ja tahendus: “rutmilised korvalekalded” kui kursiiv. Kokkuvõte
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10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Marina Tarlinskaja Ритм и смысл: ≪ритмичесие отклонения≫ как ритмический курсив. Резюме
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11. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Jonathan Roper Synonymy and rank in alliterative poetry
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This paper addresses the high sonic demands of alliterative metres, and the consequences of these demands for sense: the semantic stretching of common words and the deployment of uncommon (archaic, ‘poetic’) words. The notion of alliterative rank is discussed as an indicator of such consequences (examples are given from English and Estonian verse) and the range of onsets found for synonyms of key notions in verse traditions is remarked upon.
12. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Jonathan Roper Sunonuumia ja aste alliteratiivses luules. Kokkuvõte
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13. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Jonathan Roper Синонимия и ранг в аллитеративной поэзии. Резюме
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comparative perspective
14. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Maria-Kristiina Lotman, Mihhail Lotman The derivatives of hexameter in Estonian poetry and their link with the traditional hexameter
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The sources of the theory of the Estonian hexameter can be traced back to 17th-century Germany, where the long syllables of ancient hexameter were replaced with stressed ones, and short syllables with unstressed ones. Although such understanding is clearly inadequate, to a great extent it still holds ground in contemporary approaches. Hexameter, like any other verse metre, can be treated from two angles. First, as an abstract scheme which is realized in different texts, while the degree of realization can vary. Second, hexameter can be viewed as a prototype and actual texts create a certain space further from or closer to the prototype. In both cases questions arise, first, about the limits of hexameter, and second, whether a given text has features of a random hexameter or reflects theauthor’s conscious intent.
15. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Maria-Kristiina Lotman, Mihhail Lotman Дериваты гексаметра в эстонской поэтической традиции. Резюме
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16. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Maria-Kristiina Lotman, Mihhail Lotman Heksameetri derivaadid eesti luules. Kokkuvõte
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17. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Emily Klenin Lexicon and rhetoric in Fet’s translation of Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea
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A. A. Fet’s translation of J. W. Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea is an important early example of Fet’s lifelong practice as a translator and attests to his well-known fidelity to his source texts. His strongest preference is to maintain the versification characteristics of his source, but the degree of his lexical-semantic fidelity is also very strong and far outranks fidelity on other levels (phonetic, grammatical). The poet evidently translated holistically within very small textual domains, within which he sometimes isolated pivots of core semantic information (which he located in translation as they were in the original), around which less important material was fitted, insofar as space permitted. In Fet’s text, versification limitations sometimes led to lexical-semantic mismatches of semanticdenotation, and these mismatches are characterized in the paper: they typically involve repetitions, repeated mentions, or known information, and the mismatch may entail full or partial loss or enrichment of the semantics of the original. In addition, conflicts sometimes arise between denotative requirements within the local domain and the cumulative (usually connotative) associations generated across the larger domain of the whole text. When such conflicts arise, Fet resolves them in favour of small-domain accuracy, resulting in semantic changes (‘shifts’) in the domain of the poetic text, which thereby loses some rhetorical or poetic force, relative to the original. Dissonance between large- and smalldomain semantics is often inevitable, because of the language-specific nature of connotation. To the extent that the semantics of Fet’s translation are a consequence of his personal preferences, they may be viewed in the context of, first, his early school training (not far behind him when he translated Hermann und Dorothea) and, second, his status as both professional poet, writing in Russian, and educated native German-Russian bilingual.
18. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Emily Klenin Лексика и риторика фетовского перевода ≪Германа и Доротеи≫ Гете. Резюме
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19. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Emily Klenin Leksika ja retoorika Afanassi Feti tolkes Goethe “Hermannist ja Dorotheast”. Kokkuvõte
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20. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1/2
Igor Pilshchikov Notes on the metrical semantics of Russian, French and German imitations of Janus Secundus’s Basium II
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This article links Konstantin Batiushkov’s poem Elysium (1810) to the tradition of poetic imitations of Janus Secundus’s Basium II. A French equivalent for this poem’s pythiambic distichs was invented by Ronsard (Chanson, 1578), who used cross-rhymed quatrains with regular alternation of dodecasyllabic and hexasyllablic lines. However, the French translators of Basia of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries could not use this metre, because its semantic aura was drastically changed by Malherbe’s Consolation a Monsieur du Perier (1598). Batiushkov’s Elysium as well as its Latin and French sources are poems about a delightful death and the union of lovers in the afterlife; yet the metre, which was used in Malherbe’s poem, was for more than two centuries a metre of mournful elegiac stanzas about eternal separation. The question of a metrical prototype for Batiushkov’s poem still remains undetermined. His “anacreontic” trochaic tetrameter does not have analogues in the Latin original or its French translations, but coincides with the metre of G. A. Burger’s Die Umarmung from 1776 (of which Batiushkov was hardly aware in 1810), and finds parallels in some eighteenth-century Russian imitations of Basium II which were most likely forgotten by the beginning of the nineteenth century.