Vonlenska, also known in English as Hopelandic (from the Icelandic word von, “hope”), is a constructed a priori language invented by the Icelandic experimental rock band Sigur Rós, and particularly by its frontman Jón Þór Birgisson. Technically corresponding to a form of “glossolalia”, which consists in the fluid vocalizing of speech–like syllables lacking any readily comprehended signified, it resembles the phonology of the Icelandic language but has no established semantic content associated with its level of expression. According to the band, who intentionally left the pages of its fourth album’s booklet blank, the listener him/herself is supposed to interpret his/her own meanings of the lyrics. Lacking a conceptual content, such a language was thought by its creator(s) as a way to emphasise the phonological and emotive qualities of the human voice, namely as «a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument». As such, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz, as well as to the so–called puirt à beul in traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. Another example, which is more structured and associates its signifiers with specific signifieds, is the so–called Eaiea language, created by Bruce Koestener in 1990. Thanks to existing literature in the related fields of research and through the analysis of relevant examples, this paper aims at describing the functioning mechanisms of “singing in tongues”, therefore pointing out how it acquires meaning and produces sense. This will also allow reconsidering crucial aspects of the semiotic theory and philosophy of language, such as the Saussurian theory, the Lacanian idea of the “primacy of the signifier”, and the discussion on glossolalia.

Tra significanti e significati. Il senso del “cantare in altre lingue”

STANO, Simona
2020

Abstract

Vonlenska, also known in English as Hopelandic (from the Icelandic word von, “hope”), is a constructed a priori language invented by the Icelandic experimental rock band Sigur Rós, and particularly by its frontman Jón Þór Birgisson. Technically corresponding to a form of “glossolalia”, which consists in the fluid vocalizing of speech–like syllables lacking any readily comprehended signified, it resembles the phonology of the Icelandic language but has no established semantic content associated with its level of expression. According to the band, who intentionally left the pages of its fourth album’s booklet blank, the listener him/herself is supposed to interpret his/her own meanings of the lyrics. Lacking a conceptual content, such a language was thought by its creator(s) as a way to emphasise the phonological and emotive qualities of the human voice, namely as «a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument». As such, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz, as well as to the so–called puirt à beul in traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. Another example, which is more structured and associates its signifiers with specific signifieds, is the so–called Eaiea language, created by Bruce Koestener in 1990. Thanks to existing literature in the related fields of research and through the analysis of relevant examples, this paper aims at describing the functioning mechanisms of “singing in tongues”, therefore pointing out how it acquires meaning and produces sense. This will also allow reconsidering crucial aspects of the semiotic theory and philosophy of language, such as the Saussurian theory, the Lacanian idea of the “primacy of the signifier”, and the discussion on glossolalia.
Languagescapes. Ancient and Artificial Languages in Today’s Culture
Aracne
I Saggi di Lexia
35
45
60
978-88-255-2958-6
http://www.aracneeditrice.it/index.php/pubblicazione.html?item=9788825529586
Philosophy of language, music, meaning, primacy of the signifier, glossolalia
STANO, Simona
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1727196
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