Most studies of iconicity have used decontextualised speech to test whether particular prosodic parameters are hearable as conveying particular types of message. Research into how iconicity functions in conversational data is lacking, partly because those working on conversation have been concerned to explore the social and structural underpinnings of prosody in conversation, while those working on iconicity have tended to do so in using experimental frameworks. In this paper, we review claims about iconicity in literature from phonology and pragmatics, and evaluate these claims through the lens of findings from the study of talk-ininteraction. We will show that many of the claimed functions of iconicity are handled differently in spoken interaction than is assumed in the literature; and that iconicity only provides weak explanations of many attested [form : meaning] mappings in conversation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.