Original scientific article
Page 617 - 642

Between primary and secondary semiotic system: Signification processes and dynamics of change in the church semiosphere of Betina

Ivana Škevin
E-mail: iskevin@unizd.hr
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9297-992X
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Abstract: This paper discusses the relations between the primary and the secondary semiotic system and the creation of the church semiosphere as a semiotic space within which a determined language functions. The analysis was conducted on a selected corpus of 80 lexical variants that name different elements, objects or customs used in the church semiosphere of Betina. The study analyses the church terminology as the primary semiotic system, mostly of Romance or Latin origin (61%), and the church customs, as the secondary system, mostly of Slavic origin (32%). Both of the systems used to co-exist actively as text in Betina’s church semiosphere until the middle or the end of the last century. The study, conducted in 2009 and 2010, involved semi-structured interviews with older speakers (age between 60-85). In order to determine language and cultural influences, the corpus has been etymologically analyzed, and, to determine whether the variants belong to passive or to active vocabulary of Betina, it was examined with the methods of variationist linguistics. The theoretical background of this study is the thesis of the Moscow and Tartu semiotic school that implies a reciprocity between language and culture. The starting point of this research is Lotman’s assumption that, without the semiosphere — that is, the semiotic space of the culture in question — language not only does not function but does not exist. Accordingly, the current article deals with linguistic and semiological signs. To illustrate these points and to show our interest in the cognitive effect on the interpreter, the variants and their referents are represented through Peirce’s and Morris’s semiotic triangle. The semiotic triangle begins with an understanding of the sign as the primary element of any semiotic system. Strictly speaking, semiosis, and not the sign, is the proper object of semiotic study. The aim of this work is to determine and illustrate a reciprocal influence between language and culture. It has confirmed that one of the reasons of the language change is alteration and transformation of the semiosphere (of the social and cultural context) and that the change of language causes the transformation and change in the semiotic space of the culture in question.
semiosphere, semiosis, church terminology, church customs, Betina,
Article data in other languages: Croatian