Jamin Pelkey

Jamin Pelkey
Toronto Metropolitan University

PhD

About

83
Publications
21,890
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129
Citations
Introduction
Co-Editor, Semiotica; President, International Association for Cognitive Semiotics; Semiotic inquiry through anthropological, historical, and cognitive linguistics. Specialization in Ngwi languages (Tibeto-Burman). First two books define the Phula varieties of China & Vietnam. Third book develops ongoing inquiry into language evolution & embodied cognition. 15 edited & co-edited collections in semiotics, linguistics, and anthropology.

Publications

Publications (83)
Article
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One areal feature of East and Southeast Asian languages is the grammaticalization of an augmentative-diminutive pair from the nominals ‘mother’ and ‘child’, respectively (Matisoff 1992). Many Sino-Tibetan languages further grammaticalize noun-class affixes from these kinship nominals, adding a parallel ‘father’ analogy in the process. Some Tibeto-B...
Book
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Dialectology proper has traditionally focused on the geographic distribution of language variation as an end in itself and has remained relatively segregated from other branches of linguistic and extra-linguistic inquiry. Cross-fertilizing winds have been blowing through the field for more than a decade, but much work remains for adequate synthesis...
Article
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Linkage models of language diversification (Ross 1988, François 2014) represent the slow differentiation of closely related sister languages via dialect continua. Such historical relationships are said to prevent the reconstruction of branchinternal phylogeny. A newly defined mode of linkage variation challenges this restriction. In cladistic hinge...
Book
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The X figure is ubiquitous in contemporary culture, but attempts to explain our fixation with X are rare. This book argues that the origins and meanings of X go far beyond alphabets and archetypes to remembered feelings of body movements - movements best typified in the performance of “spread-eagle” as a posture or gesture. These body memories are...
Chapter
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The study of language, along with much related research on linguistic varieties and communities of practice are now strewn with oppositional approaches and presumably incompatible assumptions. Formalists, functionalists, nativists and behaviourists continue to collide (Chomsky 2017, Pinker 2013, Evans & Levinson 2009, Dor et al. 2014); variationist...
Book
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From twilight in the Himalayas to dream worlds in the Serbian state, this book provides a unique collection of anthropological and cross-cultural inquiry into the power of rhetorical tropes and their relevance to the formation and analysis of social thought and action through a series of ethnographic essays offering in-depth studies of the human im...
Chapter
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The imaginative leap is a trope of tropes. It is reflexive -- a trope that reflects the nature of tropes, helping us to reflect on tropes in turn. Leaps of imagination, like leaps through space, can be dangerous and exhilarating, leading to new progress and insight or fresh delusion and disappointment. But risk or no risk, we take the leap, make th...
Chapter
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This chapter provides an overview of research on symmetry dynamics in cultural creations around the world that shed light on human cognition. This is accomplished first of all by paying attention to a range of historical conceptual developments and their methodologies with an initial focus on the origins of mathematical group theory and group theory...
Article
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Waking from a vivid dream, the sage finds himself lost between worlds of possibility and ultimately transformed. Zhuangzi’s famous butterfly story may seem familiar, but the text-linguistic structures of its broader interpretive context are little discussed and poorly understood. In this paper I argue that the Qíwùlùn 齊物論 chapter, like so many othe...
Chapter
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Pelkey, Jamin. 2021. Embodied chiasmus: From alienation to participation. In Jon Abbink and Shauna LaTosky (eds.), Rhetoric in Social Relations: Dialectics of Bonding and Contestation, 30–54 (Studies in Rhetoric and Culture 8). Oxford: Berghahn.
Article
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Ritual knots are symmetrical crisscrossing designs that appear in distant cultures around the world. Their independent emergence is plausibly due to shared features of human cognition and experience that such patterns represent. Since empirical investigation of this possibility is lacking in the literature, our aim is to open up this research area....
Preprint
Lab Study Script and Protocols for manual tracing study using Tibetan knot pattern (Prime) and asymmetrical pattern (Anti-prime) and Control (non-tracing).
Article
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Analyzing visual meaning online and curating digitized images are topics of increasing relevance, but many potential methodologies for doing so remain merely implicit, underthematized, or unexplored. The potential for testing and developing semiotic theory through the exploration of visual data online also requires far more careful attention. In re...
Article
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If comparative modeling is necessary for semiotic inquiry, a reflexive turn is in order: comparative modeling needs comparative modeling. In search of experientially grounded analogies better suited for understanding, validating, scrutinizing, and accounting for the situation of the semiotic inquirer, this paper applies insights from Peircean proce...
Data
Core data sets analyzed for Studies 1 and 2 in "Testing symmetrical knot tracing for cognitive priming effects rules out analytic analogy". Note: In keeping with Ryerson University Research Ethics Board protocol #REB 2017-065, data sets are fully anonymized, revealing coded values only and removing all personal information and metadata peripheral...
Book
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The recent emergence of cognitive semiotics as an international research nexus, or community of inquiry, spanned the course of two decades, from the mid-1990s through the mid-2010s, becoming well-established during the past five to ten years through the launch of an international journal in 2007 (Cognitive Semiotics: with De Gruyter since 2014), th...
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Charles Sanders Peirce’s first rule of logic (EP 2.48, 1898) identifies the inception point of human inquiry. Taking a closer look at this principle, we find at its core a necessary relationship between emptiness and desire that underlies all genuine instances of human learning and adaptation. This composite relationship plays a critical role in th...
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A semiotic approach to the study of brands and branding moves beyond new-age personifications of consumerist desire and Marxist deconstructions of oppressive deceit. Brands are approached, instead, as systems of folk-ontology and semiotic ideology that function both in tension with and in tandem with the economic objects prized by corporate clients...
Book
Full-text available
A semiotic approach to the study of brands and branding moves beyond new-age personifications of consumerist desire and Marxist deconstructions of oppressive deceit. Brands are approached, instead, as systems of folk-ontology and semiotic ideology that function both in tension with and in tandem with the economic objects prized by corporate clients...
Article
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According to Deely (2009: 142), a sign is “anything that can be used to change the relevance of past to present via some prospective future.” Semiosis, then, “transpires at the boundary of what is and what might be or might have been, flourishing above all in the growth of inquiry as the food of human understanding” (2001: 738). Semiotics, in turn,...
Book
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John N. Deely Memorial Issue: TAJS 34(1-2), 2018 [pdf includes covers and TOC].
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Cross-linguistic strategies for mapping lexical and spatial relations from body partonym systems to external object meronymies (as in English 'table leg', 'mountain face') have attracted substantial research and debate over the past three decades. Due to the systematic mappings, lexical productivity and geometric complexities of body-based meronymi...
Book
Sociohistorical Linguistics in Southeast Asia provides new analyses of regional Tibeto-Burman languages and sub-branches to demonstrate ways in which diachronic, social and geographic aspects of language variation and language endangerment are necessary for more adequate descriptions of language systems.
Chapter
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The importance of linguistic diversity continues to be affirmed in the face of global language loss (Sallabank 2012, Grondona & Thomason 2015: 73–107), but the potential importance of language internal diversity receives less attention. While it is true that speakers of indigenous languages are themselves ultimately responsible for the maintenance...
Chapter
Working at the forefront of Tibeto-Burman linguistics, Professor David Bradley’s exceptional expertise lies in his ability to blend comparative diachronic research with distinctions drawn from the sociology, anthropology, geography and descriptive-typology of language to open up new insights into hundreds of linguistic varieties and language relati...
Article
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According to Greimas, the semiotic square is far more than a heuristic for semantic and literary analysis. It represents the generative “deep structure” of human culture and cognition which “define the fundamental mode of existence of an individual or of a society, and subsequently the conditions of existence of semiotic objects”. The veracity of t...
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The evolution of arm-leg relationships presents something of a problem for embodied cognitive science. The affordances of habitual bipedalism and upright posture make our two sets of appendages and their interrelationships distinctively human, but these relations are largely neglected in evolutionary accounts of embodied cognition. Using a mixture...
Book
Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America
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This article reviews Deely’s 2010 book, Semiotic Animal, with its argument that to embrace the semiotic animal as the core of human being is to embrace the interdependence between ourselves and everything else. The article considers other formulations of the nature of humanity aside from Deely’s and finds that their explanatory power is greatly lim...
Article
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Reflexive observations and observations of reflexivity: such agendas are by now standard practice in anthropology. Dynamic feedback loops between self and other, cause and effect, represented and representamen may no longer seem surprising; but, in spite of our enhanced awareness, little deliberate attention is devoted to modeling or grounding such...
Book
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Front matter (Masthead, Preface and Table of Contents) for 2014 Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America. xiv, 694 pp. To find signs of paradox, we need do little more than the odd thought experiment: briefly consider the (irreconcilable) implications of an utterance like “This statement is false” for instance. But signs of paradox range far be...
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Language varieties undergo constant evolution, as do varieties of life. Both language and life unfold by semiosis – pervasive processes of growth in which relationships shared between the inherited past, the unstable present and the virtual future are organically intertwined. Although many recent attempts have been made to reunite biotic and lingui...
Chapter
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In this essay I outline a mixed-methods approach to dialectology undertaken in a minority language context along the Honghe 红河 (Red River) valley just northwest of its Vietnam effluence in Yunnan Province, China (see Map 1). The varieties under consideration descend from an exclusive sub-branch of Southeastern Ngwi (Ngwi < Burmic < Tibeto-Burman) r...
Book
Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America. xiv, 390 pp.
Chapter
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This paper grows out of my own ongoing attempts to understand, teach and apply process semiotics— paying special attention to the non-linear , triadic dialectics of C. S. Peirce. In addition to reaffirming the reasoning power that grows from approximating Peirce's habit of mind, my experiments have affirmed something less heartening: i.e., that old...
Article
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Chiasmus has long been discussed as a rhetorical figure for the symmetrical reversal of linguistic structures in oral and written texts. Recent treatments have begun to challenge this parochial status in ways that are reminiscent of the embodied metaphor revolution in cognitive semantics. This paper further develops the argument that chiastic schem...
Article
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Cross-linguistic evidence from widespread modes of language variation and change demonstrate that language evolution proceeds (at least in part, perhaps in whole) by breaking and renewing symmetrical patterns. Since this activity is identified with semiosis (Nöth 1994, 1998), these patterns-in-process establish further grounds for insisting that th...
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In the late 1960's Abraham Maslow remarked that communication studies were being carried out "too exclusively at the sociological level and not enough at the biological level" (1966: 136). He may have been surprised to learn that a movement seeking to correct this imbalance was already underway. The movement's visionary, Hungarian American linguist...
Book
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This monograph presents a comparative lexicon of five representative Phula languages: Phola [ypg], Phuza [ypz], Hlepho Phowa [yhl], Southern Muji [ymc] and Azha [aza]. These languages belong to the Southeastern Ngwi branch of Burmic in the Tibeto-Burman family and are spoken in southeastern Yunnan Province, China. Following a brief introduction to...
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This paper lights a torch at the dual flame of Paul Ricoeur's interaction theory of meaning and Northrop Frye's centripetal theory of meaning to shed light on the little discussed implications of ―four-syllable elaborate expressions‖—polyfunctional poetic phrases that frequently surface both in Chinese discourse and in various translations of the C...
Article
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The Muji cluster is a newly defined series of Burmic languages affiliated with Phula and spoken in the Sino-Vietnam borderlands. The cluster is defined by unusual phonological, morphological and lexical innovations as described in Pelkey (2006, forthcoming). Among the shared innovations that set Muji apart as an insular subgrouping is a 'mirrored',...

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Projects (2)
Project
Bloomsbury Semiotics offers a state-of-the-art overview of semiotics in four volumes spanning theory, method and practice across the disciplines. The reference set includes: Volume 1: History and Semiosis Volume 2: Semiotics in the Natural and Technical Sciences Volume 3: Semiotics in the Arts and Social Sciences Volume 4: Semiotic Movements Uniting fragmented disciplines under the framework of semiotic theory, the set emphasizes and strengthens common bonds shared across intellectual cultures, and facilitates the discovery and recovery of meaning across fields. Chapters are written by 76 leading international experts. Together, they highlight key contemporary developments and debates before casting a vision for future research priorities, identifying unanswered questions and fresh openings for participation.
Project
Through this research we have observed and analysed the language practices of children with ASD as they interact with small humanoid robots. Our goal is to help build a language database of children's utterances as well as understand the role and impact of robotic interaction in the production of speech.