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Meaning Generation

A cocktail of modeling, cultural memory, emotions and human agency

Hongbing Yu
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

Meaning generation reaches beyond the convenient code-based distinction between the encoding versus the decoding of information. What we need is a more comprehensive perspective that can encompass code-based communication and agency-oriented interpretation, both of which are treated as two subordinate mechanisms of meaning generation or signification. Based on a close reading of Saussure, there are only forms in signification; signs and signification are one. Given the complexity of its usage over the years, the term sign should be reevaluated. In its stead, the present article proposes using Sebeok and Danesi’s term model, although with some modifications, in order to shed a new light on meaning generation. The present article also demonstrates that cultural memory, or culture understood in the sense proposed by Lotman and Uspensky, coupled with emotions and human agency, act as three determinants of the process of meaning generation and make it a semi-autonomous process.

Acknowledgements

The writing of this article was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (19CYY002) and the Third Phase of the Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD: Phase III) (20180101).

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Published Online: 2019-08-16
Published in Print: 2019-08-27

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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