Signs of Writing
Routledge – 1995 – 216 pages
In Signs of Writing Roy Harris re-examines basic questions about writing that have long been obscured by the traditional assumption that writing is merely a visual substitute for speech.
By treating writing as an independent mode of communication, based on the use of spatial relations to connect events separated in time, the author shows how musical, mathematical and other forms of writing obey the same principles as verbal writing. These principles, he argues, apply to texts of all kinds: a sonnet, a symphonic score, a signature on a cheque and a supermarket label. Moreover, they apply throughout the history of writing, from hieroglyphics to hypertext.
This is the first book to provide a new general theory of writing in over forty years. Signs of Writing will be essential reading for anyone interested in language and communication.
' … this is a stimulating book which clearly advances the study of semiotics generally and should achieve a wide readership.' - Journal of Literary Semantics, 1998
'By giving us the beginnings of a general semiotic theory of writing that encomasses far more than speech or language alone, Roy Harris makes a contribution to our understanding how language functions in the pervasive multimedia contexts of modern life. Signs of Writing is also nearly unique as a modern examination of these issues. Take a look.' - Functions of Language