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«Bis dat, qui cito dat»

«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday

Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna

Bis dat, qui cito dat – never has a proverb more aptly applied to an individual than does this Medieval Latin saying to Wolfgang Mieder. «He gives twice who gives quickly» captures the essence of his entire career, his professional as well as personal life. As a Gegengabe, this international festschrift honors Wolfgang Mieder on the occasion of his seventieth birthday for his contributions to world scholarship and his kindness, generosity, and philanthropy. Seventy-one friends and colleagues from around the world have contributed sixty-six essays in six languages to this volume, representative of the scope and breadth of his impressive scholarship in paremiology, folklore, language, and literature. This gift in return provides new insights from acknowledged experts from various fields of research.
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On Meanings of the Rebus: Its Preliminary Semiotic Treatment


Vilmos Voigt

Modus omnibus in rebus. ('Everything occurs in rebus studies.')

Rebus is a well-known genre in human culture; more precisely it is a sub-genre of riddles, puzzles, etc. It is akin to several forms and genres of texts: Puzzles, anagrams, pictographs, cryptograms, ciphers, crosswords, droodles, visual trickery, visual jokes, magic formulas, inscriptions, devises, etc. In my paper I will concentrate only on rebus in the proper sense of the word and I shall use 'rebus' as the general term. Rebus combines written and visual expressions suggesting witty, unexpected meaning. Usually it contains at least two or more (simple) drawings of recognizable topics, referring to at least two or more words or expressions, which would be deciphered together. The more different is the semantics of the combined elements, the more successful the rebus is. The more than 5000 years old Egyptian Narmer Palette – as a very early rebus picture – uses two drawings for the owner's name nar 'fish' and mer 'cisel,' which have very different semantic references.

Unfortunately there are very few theoretical papers on the rebus, and general publications on riddles usually do not contain specific chapters concerning it. Paremiologists pay even less attention to the topic. My paper aims to fill at least a part of the gap: Giving some hints on various forms of the meaning of the rebus.1

In everyday use the pictures of the rebus are the more attractive – but in fact the language...

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