Call for Papers

We invite you to attend the 14th biennial international conference on "Iconicity in Language and Literature", initiated by the Iconicity Research Project and whose first international and interdisciplinary symposium was held in Zurich in 1997 (

The conference will be held from 30th May to 1st June 2024 in the Department of Humanities of the University of Catania, Sicily (Italy), in the monumental complex of the former Benedictine monastery, one of the largest in Europe and today a UNESCO heritage site.

The theme of iconicity – the analogy between form and meaning – is relevant to the study of language and oral and sign languages and to the study of literature, but also to other semiotic systems and to the media involving gesture, representation and music, as well as to interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science and cognitive semiotics. The debate on the iconicity of the linguistic sign moves from the assumption that the visually or aurally perceptible structure of an iconic sign provides a representation of its referent. This embodied relationship makes the body and its physiology a central object. "Iconicity and physiology" will therefore be the new topic of the 14th conference.

Previous symposia have focused on the fine-grained understanding of notions of similarity or analogy, iconicity as a driving force of oral and signed languages at all grammatical levels, as well as linguistic change, language acquisition and language processing. They have also addressed iconicity in the use of language across a range of media (from print to drama and artistic performance), incorporating the use of iconic images, diagrams and metaphors at different levels of abstraction and in all varieties of text and discourse (literary texts, historical texts, political texts, advertising, language and music, word and image etc.). 

These possibilities remain open for the 2024 conference, and we welcome abstracts on the following topics (non-exhaustive list):



- iconicity of the linguistic sign, in reference to the signifier ("phonetic symbolism", "ideophones") and the meaning (e.g. iconicity in metaphors and more generally in tropes), in synchrony and diachrony, also regarding migrant and minority languages (e.g. the Gallo-Italian dialects of Sicily);

- iconicity in grammars and texts;

‒ iconicity in onomastics (anthroponymy, toponymy, chrematonymy);

- iconicity in literature;

‒ iconicity in narration (e.g. the paraliterary narration of ethnotexts, exposed writings, etc.);

- iconicity in philosophy (theoretical, moral, aesthetic, of language, etc.)

- iconicity in Sign languages;

- iconicity in gestures;

- iconicity in intermediality;

- iconicity in iconicity in images and other visual media;

- iconicity in music;

- iconicity in the imagination (even in the process of "mental imagery");

- iconicity according to sensory modalities ("multimodality" and "cross-modality");

- iconicity in childhood development;

- iconicity and embodiment.



Given the wide scope of the subject, accepted presentations need to be made accessible for an interdisciplinary audience. 


Oral papers


30 minutes + 10 minutes of discussion, in two or three parallel sessions.


There will be a poster session.



Abstract submission

30 November 30 December 2023: proposals of unpublished work must be sent to, specifying one of the following ones:



Accepted languages:

- Italian (with courtesy PPT in English);

- English.


Those interested in participating have to send two separate pdf files:

1) the anonymous proposal containing the following elements:

  • title of the communication (or poster);
  • theme session;
  • abstract (max. 2500 characters);
  • keywords (3-5 words);
  • bibliography (only texts cited in the abstract);


2) a second file with the following data:

  • name and surname;
  • home University or institution;
  • e-mail address;
  • a brief profile of one's scientific activity (max. 1000 characters).


A maximum of two proposals can be submitted: one as single author and the other as co-author, or a maximum of two proposals as co-author.

Each abstract will be reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers.

The Scientific Committee will communicate the acceptance of the proposals received within 15th February 3rd March 2024. 


Conference Website


Membership fees


Local Organizing Committee


Permanent Organizing Committee

Olga Fischer

Christina Ljungberg




31st July 2023 

Call for papers


30th November 30th December 2023

Deadline for sending proposals

15th February  3rd March 2024

Acceptance response from the Scientific Committee

30th March 2024

Deadline for early bird registration

15th May 2024

Deadline for late registration

30th May, 31st May, 1st June 2024 



Conference proceedings

A selection of articles from the conference will be published in the Benjamins ILL series in English (