Speaking, Writing and Picturing

Project: Research

Project Details


This research focuses on the boundary of images and text, and how iconicity, notational conventions and grapholinguistics influence our recognition and interpretation of graphic signs.

Layman's description

How does our language influence the way we think? Does writing present different challenges to speaking? Can we use images to overcome the limitations of words? How should we approach the ineffable, and everything that seems to be beyond words, such as art, aesthetics, and ethics?

Key findings

Our two key touchstones are Wittgenstein's critique of aspect seeing, and the problem of liguistic relativity commonly (if incorrectly) known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. We approach Wittgenstein's concept of "the limits of language", together with his practice of writing that includes images and diagrams, from the perspective of linguistics instead of the traditional approach from semiotics. We approach linguistic relativity from the perspective of writing systems instead of the spoken word. Our outcomes therefore inform text and image representation, the philosophy of action and performativity with words and images, non-linguistic communication, constructivism and phenomenology.
Effective start/end date1/01/18 → …


  • B Philosophy (General)
  • language
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • linguistics
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • visual communication


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