The Word Art as Adjective: A Lexico-Semantic Investigation
Course: Linguistic 2
Professor: Oleksander Kapranov
Stockholm University, Sweden
Course essay: The Word Art as Adjective: A Lexico-Semantic Investigation
“We seek in vain the words we need,
and strive ineffectually to devise forms of
expression which shall faithfully portray
our thoughts and sentiments.”
Dr. Peter Mark Roget, from The Thinker`s Thesaurus, P.T.M.
This essay deals with the word “art” as an adjective and noun in its properties in the critical Art texts. The lexico-semantic properties and frequency in the usage are collected from twelve texts of 36 monthly “Flesh Art Magazine” editions published the last two years (2011, 2012) and were compared. Five of the texts with art theory and critics were found to contain in their sentences a high usage of the word “art” compared to those texts with an artist’s presentation. Article from February edition of 2011, “The unfinished legacy” by F. Frances, indicated in juxtaposition the usage of the word “art” and this word were more used as adjective than noun. All of the twelve articles contained the word “art” as noun in juxtaposition together with the adjective “contemporary” and in this essay the word “Contemporary Art” has been used as an example of the frequent use of the word “art” used as noun. The frequency statistics were compared with those from the “Time Magazine Corpus” of the 20th century, from where it was found that the word “art” was most frequently used as adjective and noun in all lexical forms during the period of the 1960s, especially as the expression “contemporary art”. These findings from the Lexico-Semantic Investigation might serve a better understanding of the word” art”, appearing both in the linguistic-semantic language and the visual language.
The word Art has multiple meanings (REF). Definition: “Art, the most elusive of terms, its validity is only vouchsafed in cultures, which admit to such a concept. Broadly speaking, the term “art” in the visual sense can be applied to any work/subject, which engenders, by intent or otherwise, aesthetic and/or intellectual appreciation. In a teasing subversion of the title of his magisterial survey The Story of Art (1950) the great art historian Sir Ernest Gombrich declares, there really is no such thing as art. There are only artists.” (Clarke, M. (2010) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, p.15). The words “artistic”, “artistically” or “artsy” are compound words from the word “art” and according to a semantic investigation they are not one entity. The word art have a semantic function to the verb or subject, i.e “artistic work”, which describes a specific subject. The word art as a noun classifies numbers of human creativity as in painting and sculpturing. Some lexico-semantic properties of the word art as adjective are artful, artistic, artistry, artsy, and in some cases the word art take over the function of the adjective “artistic”. We might say “Artistic Academy” but instead we use “Art Academy”, with Art replacing Artistic. Some lexico-semantic properties of the word art as noun are art deco, artifact, art form, artist, Art Nouveu, European art, art scene, art space. Art as adjective has less forms and usage than the word art as noun. Art as a noun is easily adaptable to many other nouns, like artifact.
I will examine how the word ‘Art’ as an adjective is used in various historical periods in American English. I will juxtapose the usage of the word art as an adjective in Flesh Art Magazine with the respective usage of the word in Times Corpus. Further, I will use “The semiotic triangle” to establish a relation between the word art as an adjective and art as a noun. My hypothesis is that the word art is used in different areas of the English language and represents and explains the visual and psychical language, it is a link between the word and the vision. Therefore I find that it is a proper way to explain the perception and intention of the usage of art in the same way as it is used in American art critic with the “semiotic triangle”, (Riemer, N. (2012) Introducing Semantics). My statement is that the word art is used frequently in art magazines as in Art Flash. “To describe meaning fully, we seem to have to make reference to three principal terms: language, the world, and the human mind, these three aspects of the meaning phenomenon are often symbolized as the semiotic triangle”.
Twelve articles from Flesh Art Magazines are selected from approximally 35 items originally chosen. The selection was based on two different topics in the articles, art critics with theoretical discussions and presentations of art fairs and artists. The lexico-semantic values of the two topics where compared.
The twelve articles used from the Flesh Art Magazines, 2011 – 2012, New York were
- Walleston, A. (2011 October). La dolce vita? Flesh Art, 54. (Nr.1)
- Rubio, P.R. (2011 July-September). When the personal is political . Flesh Art, 67-69 (Nr.2)
- Salz, J. (2011 July-September). Notes on Venice Biennale. Flesh Art, 58-61 (Nr.3)
- Paterson, C. (2011 July-September). Pacific Standard Time. Flesh Art, 31-32 (Nr.4)
- Archey, K. (2011 January- February). Signature and Style. Flesh Art, 73-75 (Nr.5)
- Frances, F. (2011 January- February). The unfinished legacy. Flesh Art, 63-66 (Nr.6)
- Politi, G. (2011 January- February). Art fairs. Flesh Art, 50-53 (Nr.7)
- Nicolai, C. (2011 November-December) The Responsive Eye. Flesh Art, 74-76 (Nr.8)
- Grau, D. (2011 November-December) Is There a lot to Understand? Flesh Art, 86-88 (Nr.9)
- Selvaggio, R. (2011 October). Enrico David. Flesh Art, 60-63 (Nr.10)
- Frahm, N., Frahm, M. (2011 October). The young and collected. Flesh Art, 56 (Nr.11)
- Arrhenius, S. (2012 March-February) Life After the Miracle. Flesh Art, 62-66 (Nr.12)
I will provide numerical values for the word art as an adjective found in the following collection: art work, art critic, art foundation, art form, art school, artists’ language, art terms, art gallery. Results of my research will be presented in the form of graphs. I used only texts with art critic discussions. I was counting how often the word art appeared in the texts and I have calculated the percentage of the word in each text and graphs made, including which period in the last century the word art appeared at the most. As a reference of my theory of the usage of the word art I have used Times Corpora and Nick Riemer’s “Introducing Semantic”, 2010, Cambridge. The semiotic triangle was used to explain the linguistic process and the meaning of the word art.
A mental process was used to evaluate the word “art” in the function of an adjective and noun, with the semiotic triangle. “To describe meaning fully, we seem to have to make reference to three principal terms: language, the world, and the human mind”, (Riemer, N. (2012) Introducing Semantics, c.1.3, p.13)
Table A: Semiotic triangle
Adjective: art work
The tables below present data from of the three different aspects. Table 1 illustrates how many times the word “art” appears in each article, and has been marked with blue color in the figure. With red color is marked the appearance of the expression “contemporary art”. In Table 2 is calculated the average percentage of appearance of the word “art” and the expression “contemporary art” in all selected texts of the Flesh Art Magazine. Table 3 shows Times Corpora, with frequencies of the word “art” per million words in the newspaper Times, indicating that the word was mostly used during the time period of 1960´s, as was the expression “contemporary art”.
Table: 1 Frequency of the word “art” , collected from Flesh Art Magazines
|Article 1||3.2 %||6.8 %|
|Article 2||4.9 %||6.8 %|
|Article 3||8.1 %||3.4 %|
|Article 4||4.5 %||3.4 %|
|Article 5||11.5 %||13.7 %|
|Article 6||19. 2 %||3.4 %|
|Article 7||13. 7 %||10.3 %|
|Article 8||8.5 %||3.4 %|
|Article 9||11.3 %||27.3 %|
|Article 10||2.6 %||3.4 %|
|Article 11||3.9 %||6.8 %|
|Article 12||7.9 %||10.8 %|
Table 2: The percentage of the word Art in the Flesh Art Magazine
There is a connection between the written linguistic world-of-art-critics and the visual words created by the artists. Evaluations of the lexico-semantic meaning of the linguistic word art give different messages in art critics’ texts. Is there some kind of connection between the image and the written word? Is it so that the word art presents the link between the linguistic and visual language? Art might influence the semantic meaning, according to its being a noun or adjective. For example, the expression “contemporary art”, which appears in every Flash Art article studied, where artis the noun representing the basic meaning of the word, contemporaryis an adjective attribute to art, defining its time and place.
The lexico-semantic investigation in this essay has focused on the symbols and referents of the word “art” as noun and adjective in art critic texts. Frequency data of the word were examined in three ways: appearance, time and expression. Statistical analysis proved that the word “contemporary art” as noun was commonly found in texts of the last century and today. The use of the word “art” recalls that the semantic value of the word can be transferred into the visual language. From a theoretical point of view the word “art” serves the purpose of describing an image for the art critics.
Twelve articles from Flesh Art Magazines from 2010 to 2012, New York:
- Walleston, A. (2011 October). La dolce vita? Flesh Art, 54.
- Rubio, P.R. (2011 July-September). When the personal is political . Flesh Art, 67-69
- Salz, J. (2011 July-September). Notes on Venice Biennale. Flesh Art, 58-61
- Paterson, C. (2011 July-September). Pacific Standard Time. Flesh Art, 31-32
- Archey, K. (2011 January- February). Signature and Style. Flesh Art, 73-75
- Frances, F. (2011 January- February). The unfinished legacy. Flesh Art, 63-66
- Politi, G. (2011 January- February). Art fairs. Flesh Art, 50-53
- Nicolai, C. (2011 November-December) The Responsive Eye. Flesh Art, 74-76
- Grau, D. (2011 November-December) Is There a lot to Understand? Flesh Art, 86-88
- Selvaggio, R. (2011 October). Enrico David. Flesh Art, 60-63
- Frahm, N., Frahm, M. (2011 October). The young and collected. Flesh Art, 56
- Arrhenius, S. (2012 March-February) Life After the Miracle. Flesh Art, 62-66
Soans, C. & Stevenson, A.(2009) Oxford Dictionary of English , (2rd ed.), Oxford University Press
Webster New Dictionary and Thesaurus, (Concise Edition). (1990).New York, U.S.A.,Webster
The Oxford Advance Learner, DioDict 3 Diotek online dictionary
Clarke, M. (2010) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, (2rd ed.), Oxford University Press
Riemer, N. (2012) Introducing Semantics, (reprint), Cambridge, University press, Cambridge, UK
Professor Francesco-Alessio Ursini`s lectures: Linguistic Lectures: Semantics, 2012, Stockholm University
Nelson, R. S.& Shiff, R. (2003) Critical terms for Art History, (2rd ed.), The University of Chicago
Meltzer, P. E. (2010) The Thinker Thesaurus, (2rd ed.), W.W. Norton Company, Inc., N.Y.
Times Corpora Downloads, (1923-2006)100 MILLION WORDS, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY