M. Khachaturyan. Semiosis across space (and time) // N. Sumbatova, I. Kapitonov, M. Khachaturyan, S. Oskolskaya, S. Verhees (eds.). Songs and Trees: Papers in Memory of Sasha Vydrina. St. Petersburg: Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2023. P. 573-587.

How is meaning created across the borders of individuality? For linguists who deal with semantic compositionality, this is a central question. But my goal in this paper is not to dwell on sequences, however loosely construed, of the type [A, B], whose resulting meaning is /A+B/ (compositional, like once in a while) or /C/ (non-compositional, like once in a blue moon). What I want to look at instead is how things get meaning when they are not adjacent, and are not meant to be — but are situated across space, or time, or both.
While exploring multiple ways in which such meaning-making can be achieved, unintentionally or intentionally, I stress the commonality in all these cases. In all of them, the individual elements are independent; they are construed as largely similar, or even as functionally equivalent, but they also have, by design or by coincidence, important differences. It is the interplay of similarities and differences that gives rise to meaning-making. I explore that interplay step by step, first starting with Marukis’ Hiroshima panel series and proceeding with Monet’s Cathedral series and the series of intentional acts in Catholic or shamanic prayer, in order to gradually introduce the main topic of this paper — the texts of the Creed prayers as they are used by the Mano Catholic community.