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The Power of the Image

Emotion, Expression, Explanation


Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri

We think primarily in images, and only secondarily in words, while both the image and the word are preceded by the bodily, the visceral, the muscular. This holds even for mathematical thinking. It is the entire motor system, including facial expressions and bodily gestures, that underlies not just emotions but also abstract thought. Communication, too, is a primordially visual task, spoken and written language only gradually supplementing and even supplanting the pictorial. Writing liberates, but also enslaves; after centuries of a dominantly verbal culture, today the ease of producing and accessing digital images amounts to a homecoming of the visual, with the almost limitless online availability of our textual heritage completing the educational revolution of the 21st century.
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Information Visualization: Infographics from a Linguistic Point of View


Ágnes Veszelszki

“We live in an image-dominated age, and popular science abounds with visuals: eye-popping photographs, gorgeous graphics and slick information design. Amidst all this eye candy, not much attention is paid to figures accompanying articles in scientific journals and white papers.”2 Visualized information can be any text complemented with a photo or graphics (preferably selected to match the text) but may also take the form of “infographics”, especially in the posts of news and popular science websites.

The paper deals with information visualization using infographics as an example (more specifically it examines infographics from a linguistic point of view) and it also touches on issues such as the big data phenomenon, compression methods, source criticism or the “reading” of images and texts.

The relationship between information visualization and linguistics can be examined from two different angles: the first deals with how and for what purpose information visualization is used by linguistics, which is primarily concerned with word-language; the second deals with how and from what aspects can infographics integrating images and texts be described with the tools and methodology of linguistics.

To carry out this examination, first we have to clarify the notion of infographics.

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