World Report

The 7th Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature

The 7th Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature took place in Toronto, at Victoria College, on June 9-15, 2009. The program had been established by the Coordinators of the Research Group on Iconicity in Language and Literature, Professors Olga Fischer and Christina Ljungberg. The local organizers were Professors Paul Bouissac and Pascal Michelucci, with Ms Ann Lewis as Executive Secretary. This “symposium” or “workshop”, as the coordinators prefer to call these events which have been organized every second years for the past fourteen years, was in fact a full-fledged international conference which included eight sessions spread over a four-day period. Forty papers were presented on a wide range of topics involving the notion of iconicity in linguistics (phonology, morphology, and syntax), literary works, media studies, cinema, music, painting and architecture. The participants represented twenty different nations, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and The United States. The two keynote speakers were Professor Emeritus Hu Zhuanglin from Peking University who discussed iconicity in the Chinese language in both its oral and written forms, and Professor Mark Changizi from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, whose topic was “The look and sound of nature in writing and speech”. Some of the papers have been made available to a wider audience in the virtual symposium website that has been created in the Open Semiotic Resource Center: .

From left to right: Professor Emeritus Hu Zhuanglin (Peking University), Professor Olga Fischer (University of Amsterdam), and Professor Christina Ljungberg (University of Zurich) at the conference on Iconicity in Language and Literature that took place in Toronto, June 9-14, 2009.

Professor Emeritus HU Zhuanglin, from Peking University, was Distinguished Guest Speaker at the 7th Iconicity in Language in Literature conference (June 9-13) in Toronto. He is shown here with Professor Olga Fischer (University of Amsterdam) and Christina Ljungberg (University of Zurich) who preside over the Iconicity Research Group and were co-organizers of the conference with Professors Paul Bouissac, Pascal Michelucci, and Gerald Cupchik (University of Toronto).

Professor Hu with Professor Zoltán Kovecses (Eötvos Loránd University, Budapest) and Professor Paul Bouissac.

Professor Hu delivering his keynote lecture at the beginning of the conference. The text of the lecture can be found at

Professor Hu with Professors Fischer and Ljungberg.