Issue Details: First known date: 2001 2001
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This paper focuses on three "borderland" moments when European and Aboriginal sign systems are effectively transformed through processes of cultural recontextualisation: the signing of the Batman Treaty in 1835, two Wiradjuri clubs carved in central New South Wales in the 1860s, and a set of drawings produced in the 1890s in Darwin's Fanny Bay Gaol by Aboriginal stockman Charlie Flannigan. These examples suggest that Aboriginal writing begins before alphabetic literacy in a double movement where, on one side, traditional Aboriginal ideographs are transcribed onto European documents and, on the other side, Aboriginal people use alphabetic characters as something other than a phonographic script. This cross-cultural traffic in signs shows that no script is inherently phonographic, ideographic, or pictographic. As well as calling for a historically grounded functionalist approach to the world's diverse writing systems, these borderland semiotic transactions question an essentialistic view of signs that pervades both sides of the debate about what counts as "writing".' -- Author's abstract

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Social Semiotics vol. 11 no. 2 2001 Z1568134 2001 periodical issue 2001 pg. 209-227
Last amended 16 Mar 2009