The Semiotic Basis of Textual Representation of Space

Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Verbal representations of space are related to the space they describe by a sign relation comprising three components. The first is the sign vehicle consisting of the sequence of words which describe the spatial environment. The second is the object of reference, the spatial environment as such, and the third is the mental representation of the spatial perception.Within this triad, space is never an unsemiotically given piece of reality. Space is always a semiotic phenomenon insofar as its structure depends on the process of human perception. Even as a referential object, space is not an independently given phenomenon of the "real" world itself but depends on the cognitive capacity and structure of the perceiving mind.