Aleksandr Fadeev

Panel Theories and Philosophies of Transcodification/2
Session 3 – July 2, 11:00 – 13:00

Inner Speech in the Meaning-Making of Artistic Texts

A recent development of digital technology and media has modified the codes of representation of artistic texts in culture and shaped the cultural communication processes. The growing role of digital media in everyday life leads to an increasing role of artistic texts in contemporary culture in accessing and sharing meanings and diverse information. From the point of view of semiotic science it emphasizes an important question of how we make meanings from diverse artistic texts. And more specifically, whether and how our meaning-making processes evolve with the evolution of cultural communication processes.
A possible solution for this question can be identified by addressing inner speech, which is a specific form of sign using activity related to various cognitive processes, including meaning-making. The meaning-making functions of inner speech were first described by Lev Vygotsky (1986), who identified the role of inner speech in developing individual meanings and emphasized the parallel character in developing meaning-making and language using abilities. According to Nikolai Zhinkin’s research (1998), inner speech operates not merely within linguistic items but also by means of pictorial representations of reality.
The paper argues an important role of inner speech in the meaning-making of artistic texts. The paper analyses inner speech as an integral part of meaning-making processes, which operates with transcodifications via the special object-pictorial code of inner speech (Zhinkin 1998). The analysis is established on the basis of the theoretical framework of Vygotsky’s (1986) and Zhinkin’s (1998) work. The paper offers a semiotic view on the processes and functions of inner speech in order to explore its role in meaning-making of artistic texts.
The theoretical discussion provided in the paper is supported by the description of the empirical research developed by the author and the research group from the Departments of Semiotics and Psychology at the University of Tartu.


Aleksandr Fadeev is a PhD student of the University of Tartu. His scientific interests lie in the field of semiotics, digital and transmedia education, as well as in the works of Lev Vygotsky. The author is researching processes of learning and teaching through semiotic perspective as well as sign operation in learning in terms of digital environments. Aleksandr Fadeev has been recently researching inner speech and its relation to semiotic mediation of artistic languages. At the moment the author is a member of the Transmedia Research group of the University of Tartu that works on the digital educational platform ‘Education on Screen’. The aim of the project is to use semiotic approach and transmedia education practices in order to offer new ways of teaching in humanities and social studies.