Nascent and Mature Semiotic Systems


  • Radan Martinec IKONA Research and Consulting, USA



Semiotic Systems, Gestures, New Media Design, New Media


The article presents a theory of nascent and mature semiotic systems. Mature systems have evolved naturally over long periods of time and feature systematic and natural realization relationships between meanings and forms. Nascent systems are constructed by a semiotician from complex communicative phenomena while following the principles of systematic and natural realization relationships adopted from mature systems. A system for gestures that co-occur with speech is discussed as an example of mature systems and a system of new media design is outlined to exemplify nascent systems. The two systems are compared and it is demonstrated that both are based on the same principles. The nascent system of new media design is conceptualized as a connotative semiotic, as opposed to the system of gestures, which is denotative. Criteria are developed as a guide for constructing nascent systems.

Author Biography

Radan Martinec, IKONA Research and Consulting, USA

Radan Martinec has taught at universities in Australia, Italy, United Kingdom and the USA. He now has a research and consulting company (IKONA reearch and consulting) based in California. His main research interests are new media design, image-text relations and the semiotics of embodied action.


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How to Cite

Martinec, R. (2010). Nascent and Mature Semiotic Systems. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 3(3), 355–392.