Monday, October 19, 2009

Iconicity and Persuasion

By Thomas Warren

I have never heard the term iconicity. Initially I thought it was
someone of an iconic form such as famous people. I pounced all over
this subject just because of that and it actually has nothing to do
with being famous.

There isn't tons on the web about iconicity. The correct definition of
iconicity is "having a conventional formulaic style, signs, symbols
etc." That really doesn't it sum up much because that can mean a lot
of things?

Iconicity is described a variety of ways. According to,
the three major principles of iconicity are quantity, proximity, and

The use of quantity of phonetic material can be noted in the
lengthening of words to indicate a greater degree, such as "looong."
This would mean extremely long. This is where persuasion comes in
because the effect caused by extra letters. The extra letters describe
the word with more intent. It also makes it easier to understand with
the exaggeration putting the emphasis on it.

Another good example of the quantity principle is certain signs or
symbols that represent something. The artist Prince doesn't write out
his name. He actually uses a symbol to describe himself and his name.
Persuasion has a direct connection to this also because if people
start to follow the symbolic gesture than it can become a trend.

The proximity principle is defined as "when conceptual distance tends
to match with linguistic distance." (When I hear the word proximity I
automatically think how far whatever you're searching for is, like
MapQuest etc.

Well in iconicity it basically means how a concept has a meaning from
its sound. When I was searching for information about proximity in
iconicity the word "onomatopoeia" kept on appearing on all the topics.
Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the
sounds that it describes. That sounds weird right? It basically makes
actual words out of sound effects. When dogs bark the sound would be
woof! You can see the direct correlation in that example when you look
at the definition. The concept would be the dog and the linguistic
distance would the bark.

If you thought that was complicated than sequential order principle
will sound like Spanish. The movie "The Da Vinci Code" gave a great
example of this principle because of the hidden riddle they had to
break to find out about Sauniere's death. There was always a clue that
lead to another clue. The best way to define this principle are events
happening in a chain.

I think this is the easiest to relate to persuasion because of the
conspiracy theory. When a rumor starts people are quick to pass it on
and the more people that hear it the more true it sounds. Myths and
superstitions are very similar to this principle. Sometimes they can
be true; sometimes they can be faulty. It just depends on the buzz of
the events and the amount of people that pass on the information.

In conclusion I don't think there is a limit on to say what is a form
of iconicity. I would even say gang signs are a form because if you
have a sign or a symbol that represents your culture than that can be

Persuasion has a lot of power in the world. All it takes is one person
to start a trend and a couple of people follow them, and it can on and
on and on....

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