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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 35, Issue 1/2, 2019

Cognitive Semiotics

Lillian A. Black, Katherine Tu, Cliff O’Reilly, Yetian Wang, Paulo Pacheco, Randy Allen Harris
Pages 217-249
DOI: 10.5840/ajs201971652

An Ontological Approach to Meaning Making through PATH and Gestalt Foregrounding in Climax

Climax is a compound rhetorical figure, consisting of the trope, Crementum, and the scheme, Gradatio (itself a series of Anadiploses), a combination that results in compelling semiotic effects. The component figures impact the conveyed meaning independently and collectively, which we chart by way of the PATH image schema and the Gestalt Figure-Ground relation. These layers of meaning function in a similar fashion to the dual figure visual phenomenon examined by Koffka and Rubin. Key elements of our project include knowledge representation of Climax and component figures, a suite of ontologies that map the cognitive features supporting these complex structures and a base model of surface entities augmented with the related cognitive functions. Our ontologies are developed in the Web Ontology Language (OWL), validated for consistency and published online.