The functions of heraldic symbols in the English fiction

Keywords: heraldic symbol, verbalization of symbols, blazon, mediative function, mnemonic function, semiosis, multimodal imagery, synesthesia effect, punning and allusive coats of arms


The article considers the main functions performed by heraldic symbols due to their verbalization in blazons as descriptions of coats of arms by a specific set of language constructs. Heraldic symbols as the quintessence of culture are analyzed in the communicative-functional aspect. There are some special characteristics of heraldic symbolic units, namely, their multifunctional orientation, the possibility of multiple interpretations, the presence of a nomination mechanism, and others. The mediative and mnemonic functions of symbols, taken from the works of Lotman, are manifested in the heraldic symbols of fiction as one of the mechanisms of cultural memory, therefore, the symbol is a mediator of the semiosis spheres. The list of functions is supplemented by the consideration of the social dimension, because heraldic symbols are potentiated in the society, therefore, the essence of the identification-integrative and adaptive-regulatory functions of heraldic symbolism is revealed. The concepts of multimodal imagery and synesthesia effect, which are embodied in the interaction of verbal and nonverbal symbols, are involved in the analysis of the blazons on the material of English fiction. The theme of symbols functioning is supplemented by the classification of the main functions and subfunctions proposed by the author. The focus of the study is also the identification function, resulting in an emphasis on the role of a special heraldic language in the expression of the personality. Taking into account the types of coats of arms, the article considers the coding function in the punning and allusive coats of arms, as well as in the heraldic lexemes borrowed from other languages. The cross-cutting idea of the article is revealed through the interpretation of heraldic symbols in their functioning in the works of English fiction and poetry and summarized in the definition of the symbol not only as a linguistic unit, but also as a semiotic phenomenon of culture.


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How to Cite
Moiseiuk, I. (2021). The functions of heraldic symbols in the English fiction. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, (22), 42-58.