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Figures of a Changing WorldMetaphor and the Emergence of Modern Culture$
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Harry Berger, Jr.

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257478.001.0001

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The Semiotics of Metaphor and Metonymy

The Semiotics of Metaphor and Metonymy

Umberto Eco

(p.54) Six The Semiotics of Metaphor and Metonymy
Figures of a Changing World

Harry Berger

Fordham University Press

This chapter focuses on Umberto Eco's semiotic approach to the distinction between linguistic activity and extralinguistic reality. Semiotics is divided into two parts: the theory of codes and the theory of sign production. The first part of the discussion analyzes the relationship between signifier and signified, while the latter part deals with the sign-referent relations. Eco's vocabulary is cautiously chosen to integrate a disciplined reduction of the world of referents to a continuously changing “semantic global universe.” His goal is to shift the examination of the pragmatics of reference from the analysis of the theory of codes to that of the theory of sign production. Eco discusses sign production in terms of the types of labor required to interpret signs or texts, stating that metaphor and metonymy falls under the category of rhetorical labor.

Keywords:   Umberto Eco, semiotics, referents, theory of codes, theory of sign production, metaphor, metonymy, rhetorical labor

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