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Victoria Lady Welby (1837-1913) and Significs

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Authored by Professor Susan Petrilli
Published on 18th July, 2022 47 min read

Victoria Lady Welby (1837-1913) and Significs

1. Contextual highlights

Biobibliographical trajectories

Victoria Lady Welby (1837-1912) was born into the British aristocracy on April 27, 1837 and baptised that same year (June 17) as Victoria Alexandrina Maria Louisa Stuart-Wortely. Her godmothers were Princess Victoria (coronated Queen Alexandrina Victoria five years later), after whom she was named, and the Duchess of Kent (Queen mother). Before her marriage to Sir William Welby-Gregory in 1863, Victoria Welby spent two years serving as Maid of Honour at the court of Queen Victoria. Soon after, with her husband she retreated to private quarters at Denton Manor, Grantham, where she became mother of three and began her life as an independent researcher and scholar (see “A chronology of Victoria Welby’s life and works,” in Signifying and Understanding. Reading the Works of Victoria Welby and the Signific Movement, Petrilli 2009: 927-9299).

Welby was praised by her contemporaries and biographers for the independent nature of her thought and way of life with respect to her time and the circles she frequented. As she wrote to Charles Sanders Peirce, she largely attributed her independence to the lack of a formal education (letter of Dec. 22, 1903, in Hardwick 1977: 13-14) and to her unconventional upbringing with an extravagant mother with whom she had travelled widely (including to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Turkey, Palestine, and Syria). 

Welby’s books were influenced by the world and the inspiring life she led in what were often unusual, even difficult circumstances. In fact her travels across unknown lands came abruptly to an end with her mother's tragic death in the Syrian desert. Victoria published a travel diary as an adolescent, A Young Traveller’s Journal of a Tour in North and South America during the Year 1850, published in 1852. Moreover, Welby’s daughter, Mrs. Henry Cust, dedicated a biography to her and her mother titled Wanderers: Episodes From the Travels of Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley and Her Daughter Victoria, 1849-1955 (Cust 1928).

Suffering from partial aphasia and paralysis of the right hand owing to bad blood circulation caused by flu caught at the end of January 1912, Welby died on March 29, 1912 at Duneaves, Mount Park, Harrow, and was buried in Grantham, Lincolnshire (England).


Victoria Welby is remembered in particular for having invented “Significs,” the term she coined (after considering several others) for her theory of meaning and special approach to studies on sign, language, and communication. She took her distances from other approaches to meaning, such as the philological-historical approach with Michel Bréal and his “sémantique,” for example, as much as from other trends designated as “sematology,” “semasiology,” “semiology,” “semeiotics,” and so forth (see Petrilli 2009: 2-3, 253-260).

The term “significs” was introduced officially by Welby in an essay of 1896, “Sense, Meaning and Interpretation,” testified by the 1911 Oxford dictionary entry “Significs” (in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles), redacted by the editors and published with her approval (cf. Petrilli 2009: 253). 


Welby was a pioneering thinker, innovative and critical, who opened up new theoretical horizons and broke new ground in different fields of study. Her significs is at the origin of important 20th century philosophical trends including (analytical) linguistic philosophy, ethics, pragmatism, and modern semiotics (cf. Pietarinen 2009a, 2009b; Petrilli and Ponzio 2005: 80-137; Sebeok and Petrilli 2001). Her research gave rise to the Significs Movement in the Netherlands (see the anthology of writings collected under the title “Significs and significians,” in Petrilli 2009: 829-886). She introduced the concept of translation into theory of sign, meaning, and interpretation, anticipating developments in communication and translation studies as they have flourished across the 20th century and into the 21st. Her approach to theory of subjectivity and to what today we recognise as “women’s studies” is innovative and rich in indications for development as already manifest in her terminology. She introduced a whole series of original concepts such as “Ident” and “ephemeron,” and  “mother sense” and “father sense,” or again terms such as “metalemma” in the more strictly linguistic-philosophical sphere in relation to her studies on metaphor, and many more still. Her work is yet to be fully discovered by the community of inquirers and developed in its signifying implications and potential for future developments.


Her main publications specifically on the topic of significs include: What is Meaning? Studies in the Development of Significance (1983[1903]) and Significs and Language. The Articulate Form of our Expressive and Interpretative Resources (1985[1911]), several essays, notably “Meaning and Metaphor” (The Monist, 1893; in Petrilli 2009: 421-439) and “Sense, Meaning and Interpretation” (Mind, 1896; in Petrilli 2009: 40-449), and numerous essaylets, some of which collected in two earlier books, Links and Clues (1881) (a selection is available in Petrilli 2009: 81-98) and Grains of Sense (1897) (in Petrilli 2009: 98-111). A major editorial event was the publication of the entry “Significs,” redacted on commission by Welby for Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911) (in Petrilli 2009: 345-350). This was registered by Welby as the official recognition she had worked for all her life. Another important moment of official recognition for Welby’s research is the publication of the entry "Significs", co-authored with J. Baldwin and F. Stout (1902) for Baldwin’s Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (1901-1905) (in Petrilli 2009: 194-195).

Her 1903 and 1911 books were republished in the 1980s, in the John Benjamins book series “Foundations in Semiotics” as What is Meaning? (1983), edited and prefaced by Achim Eschbach, with an “Introductory essay” by Gerrit Mannoury, and Significs and Language (1985), edited by H. Walter Schmitz, in a volume including Welby’s 1893 and 1896 essays and other writings.

Signifying and Understanding. Reading the Works of Victoria Welby and the Signific Movement is a volume of over 1,045 pages, edited by myself, published in 2009 as volume 2 of the book series “Semiotics, Communication and Cognition”, prefaced by the editor, Paul Cobley. In particular, it includes writings by Welby (published, but mostly unpublished from the York University archives, Canada); a selection from her epistolaries, published for the first time, with (in order of presentation) Edwin Arnold, Andrew Bradley, Francis Bradley, Henry James, William James, Benjamin Jowett, George Stout, Michel Bréal, André Lalande, Bertrand Russell, Giovanni Vailati, Mario Calderoni, Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller, Charles Kay Ogden, and Frederik van Eeden; and an anthology of writings from the Significs Movement in the Netherlands. 


From 1863 until her death in 1912 Welby was a friend and source of inspiration to leading personalities of the day. She wrote regularly to over 450 correspondents developing a vast epistolary network across the world through which she developed her ideas. Important figures in Welby’s time were influenced by significs, though this was mostly unrecognised as in the case of Charles K. Ogden. However, he does mention her theory of meaning in his 1923 book with Ivor A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning, and signals her correspondence with Charles Peirce. Welby’s epistolary network included politicians, government officials, representatives of the church, aristocrats, and professional intellectuals from different fields and disciplines including eminent scientists, mathematicians, economists, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists, psychologists, and educationists. She also organised regular meetings at her home, Denton Manor.

A selection from Welby’s correspondence is available in two volumes, edited by her daughter, Mrs. Henry Cust: Echoes of Larger Life: A Selection from the Early Correspondence of Victoria Lady Welby (1929), presenting exchanges from 1879-1891; and Other Dimensions: A Selection from the Later Correspondence of Victoria Lady Welby (1931), which covers the years 1898-1911. Her epistolaries present a fascinating corpus of exchanges with numerous personalities of the time including Charles Peirce, Bertrand Russell, James M. Baldwin, Henry Spencer, Thomas A. Huxley, Herbert G. Wells, Max Müller, Benjamin Jowett, Frederik Pollock, George F. Stout, Leslie Stephens, Ferdinand C.S. Schiller, Charles K. Ogden, Henry and William James, Mary Everest Boole, Julia Wedgwood, H. G. Wells, Michel Bréal, André Lalande, Henri Bergson, Henri Poincaré, Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, Harald Höffding, Ferdinand Tönnies, Frederick van Eeden, Giovanni Vailati, Mario Calderoni, and many others. Selections from her letter exchanges with individual interlocutors have been published in editorial initiatives concerning the latter, as in the case of Max Müller and Frederik van Eeden.

Charles S. Peirce reviewed Welby’s book of 1903, What is Meaning?, for The Nation, associating it with Bertrand Russell’s Principles of Mathematics, it too published in 1903 (in Hardwick 1977: 157-159). The Welby-Peirce correspondence began in 1903 on publication of Peirce’s review and lasted until 1911, even influencing the focus of his research during the last decade of his life; it is claimed that some of his best semiotic expositions are in letters to Welby (cf. Fisch 1986). The full corpus of their correspondence is published in Semiotic and Significs. The Correspondence Between Charles S. Peirce and Victoria Lady Welby, edited by Charles Hardwick, 1977. It is thanks above all to this epistolary that Welby's name has continued circulating in the international community. 

Archival information

Besides numerous articles in newspapers, magazines, and scientific journals, Welby published a long list of privately printed essays, parables, aphorisms, and pamphlets on a large range of subjects addressed to diverse audiences: science, mathematics, anthropology, philosophy, education, and social issues. 

She promoted the study of significs, announcing the Welby Prize for the best essay on significs in the journal Mind (1896), awarded to Ferdinand Tönnies (1899-1900) in 1898 (cf. Welby-Tönnies 1901). 

Welby's scientific remains, comprising published and unpublished writings, are mostly available in two archives: the Welby Collection in the York University Archives and Special Collections (Scott Library, North York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and the Lady Welby Library, University of London Library (London, England, UK). The latter includes approximately 1,500 volumes from Victoria Welby's personal library and twenty-five pamphlet boxes containing pamphlets, reprints, and newspaper cuttings, religious tracts, sermons, and published lectures by various authors. Four boxes without numbers contain duplicates of most of Welby's own publications. 

The main part of her scientific and literary production is in the York University Archives. Half of the collection consists of Welby’s mostly unpublished correspondence covering the years 1861–1912. A large part of the remainder comprises unpublished papers (notes, extracts, and commentaries) on a variety of subjects – biology, education, ethics, eugenics, imagery, language and significance, logic and significance, matter and motion, numbers theory, philosophy and significance, significs, and time. This abundant corpus of unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, and theoretical papers, is organised into files and boxes, representing work in progress, sometimes close to the publication phase (see description in Petrilli 2009: Chp.1, and Appendices 2 and 3). As can be inferred from the correspondence, Welby had planned to publish several books based on these materials. There are also speeches, lessons, sermons by other authors, numerous unpublished essays, and a collection of poems by Welby, diagrams and photographs, translations, proofs, copies of some of her publications, and newspaper cuttings. 

2. Theoretical trajectories

Signifying, interpreting, understanding. Ethical-pragmatic turns of meaning

Significs keeps account of the relation of signs, language, and behaviour to meaning value in the broadest sense possible – pragmatic, social, ethic, aesthetic, with a special focus on significance. Meaning is all-pervasive to involve life and sign activity, whether verbal or nonverbal, in all its aspects, the intellectual, the emotional, the ethical and pragmatic, across the everyday spheres of life as much as the special spheres. This orientation is reflected in everyday language with the question “What does it signify?”. Consequently, significs unites the study of meaning to the study of values, ethics, and axiology. Welby studied the problem of meaning from different angles – its conditions, transformations, successive and simultaneous variations, meaning in language and behaviour, in verbal and nonverbal sign systems, linguistic and nonlinguistic meaning, above all meaning in live communication.

Consonant with the significal focus on the relation between signs, language, and value, on the ethical-pragmatic turns of meaning, which on a theoretical plane inevitably involves the conjunction between theory of sign, language, and theory of value, Welby thematises the capacity for questioning as the pathway to evolution in understanding, the humanisation of experience, in the direction of responsible action. At a time when evolutionary theory had unexpectedly overturned the conception of life and together humankind’s place in the world, the need for continuity and at once for transformation and improvement in socio-cultural practice also emerges from Welby’s research. Particularly interesting from this point of view are her writings relating to research in the anthropological and ethnological spheres with such titles as “Is there a Break in Mental Evolution?”, a paper read at the Leeds Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1890, “An Apparent Paradox in Mental Evolution,” read by the Secretary at the Anthropological Institute, Dec. 9,1890, and “The Significance of Folk-Lore,” delivered at the International Folklore Congress, in the summer of 1891 (see Welby 1890, 1891, 1892). 

Reading the Sacred Scriptures and theory of interpretation

An important starting point for Welby’s meditations on problems of language, meaning, and interpretation are the Sacred Scriptures. In 1881 she published Links and Clues, considered unorthodox by official opinion in religious circles. In it she reflects on the inadequacies of religious discourse which she considers as cast in outmoded linguistic forms. She describes a situation of pervasive linguistic confusion among authorities which she largely attributes to a misconception of language as a system of fixed meanings. Such misconception can only be resolved by recognising the dynamic nature of language and meaning which effectively change and evolve with developments in human experience overall. 

She responded critically to prejudicial and stereotypical discourse of her time, the Victorian age, and to the tendency to submit unquestioningly to the strongholds of truth, morality, and justice – whether the Church and its so-called “Ecclesiasts,” or secular power represented by Queen Victoria (her godmother). For Welby authority should be interrogated; social practice should be significant for the sake of the community as much as of the single individual; human behaviour should be endowed at all moments with sense and purport; and signifying, expressive, and communicative practices call for interpretation, critique, and responsibility.

In Links and Clues where she already began focusing on the relation between interpreting and signifying, Welby identifies four principles of interpretation. These address: 1) the problem of literal meaning; 2) the risk of levelling sense; 3) the importance of context; and 4) the problem of dialectics as a condition for unity. She also recognised the essential role of contradiction and complementarity among the different levels of sense in the configuration of a thought system (Welby 1881: 31–36).

After investigating problems of interpretation relatively to her readings of the bible, Welby's interest in ethical-theological discourse focused more closely on linguistic-philosophical issues at a theoretical level, finding expression in a series of essays published towards the end of the nineteenth century. In particular, for what concerns her studies specifically on language and meaning, these include the above-mentioned essays “Meaning and Metaphor“ (The Monist, 1893) and “Sense, Meaning, and Interpretation” (published in two parts in the journal Mind, 1896), her book of reflections, Grains of Sense (1897), and her two monographs, What is Meaning? Studies in the Development of Significance (1983 [1903]) and Significs and Language. The Articulate Form of Our Expressive and Interpretative Resources (1985 [1911]). 

Significs: philosophy of significance, interpretation, translation

In What is Meaning? Welby describes her significs as the “philosophy of Significance” which involves the “philosophy of Interpretation” and the “philosophy of Translation” (1983[1903]: 161). In Significs and Language (1911) she describes significs as “the study of the nature of significance in all its forms and relations” (1985[1911]: vii), with a practical bearing “not only on language but on every possible form of human expression in action, invention, and creation” (ibid.: ix). Welby underlines the generative nature of signifying processes, their capacity for development and transformation as a condition of the human capacity for the ongoing acquisition of knowledge, experience, and expression. She characteristically thematises the generation of meaning value as structural to signifying processes. 

Meaning triads

A central aspect of Welby’s approach is her analysis of meaning according to three different levels or classes of expression value which she denominates “sense,” “meaning,” and “significance.” These levels of meaning thus identified by abstraction are always co-present to different degrees and variously interact in the practice of live communication. Welby develops her meaning triad from different viewpoints with correlate terminology: to “sense,” “meaning,” “significance” corresponds the distinction between “signification,” “intention,” and “ideal value”; the reference of sense is “sensal” or “instinctive,” that of meaning is “volitional,” and that of “significance” is “moral.” Other corresponding triads include the distinction between “instinct,” “perception,” and “conception” for different levels in human psychic process; and “planetary,”, “solar”, and “cosmical” for different types of experience, knowledge, and consciousness (see “Table of triads,” in Petrilli 2009: 948-950).

The term “sense” is ambivalent. Besides indicating the overall import of an expression, its signifying value, “sense” as one of the three levels in Welby’s meaning triad denotes the most primitive level of prerational life, the initial stages of perception, of immediate response to the environment, and practical use of signs. As such “sense” is a necessary condition for all experience. “Meaning” concerns rational life, the intentional, volitional aspects of signification. “Significance” concerns meaning import and ultimate value, overall bearing, and relevance for each one of us, scientist, philosopher, and everyday person. It denotes expression value in terms of the condition of being significant, of signifying implication, participative involvement. This last aspect or dimension of signifying processes ultimately involves the question of responsibility (Welby 1983 [1903]: 5–6, 46–47; see also Petrilli 2009: 20–24, 195–196, 265-266). 

Welby continues elaborating on her triadic model of meaning specifying its various aspects across all her writings through to her 1911 encyclopaedia entry, “Significs”: “Sense” refers to “the organic response to environment” and “essentially expressive element in all experience”; “Meaning” is purposive and refers to the specific sense which a word “is intended to convey”; “Significance,” which includes sense and meaning and transcends them, refers to “the far-reaching consequence, implication, ultimate result or outcome of some event or experience” (in Hardwick 1977[1911]): 169; cf. Petrilli 2009: 345–350). 

Welby traced a tendency towards triadism throughout the existent (altogether separately from Hegel’s triadism which she criticised), dedicating an essay to the topic in 1886, “Threefold Laws,” only published posthumously for the first time (in Petrilli 2009: 331–340). She also took a critical stand towards Auguste Comte with his law of three stages. To Welby’s own meaning triad and distinction between “sense,” “meaning,” and “interpretant,” Charles Peirce associated his own triadic distinction in logic between “Immediate Interpretant,” “Dynamical Interpretant,” and “Final Interpretant” (in Hardwick, 1977: 109–111).

Questions of terminology

With “significs,” Welby introduced other neologisms, or new meanings for established terms. These include “significian” for the practitioner of significs, or simply for the everyday person generating meaning, or reflecting on its practical consequences and ethical implications; the verbs “to signify” for meaning value in terms of significance; and “to signalise” for the act of investing the sign with meaning. In her essay of 1896, “Sense, Meaning and Interpretation,” Welby maintained “sensifics” and the corresponding verb “to sensify” as possible alternatives to “significs” and “to signify,” though she ended up setting them aside to avoid the risk of misunderstanding given their close association with the world of the senses. She coined “sensal” for the word’s signifying value beyond reference to sense in prevalently instinctive and perceptual terms. “Sensal” is contrasted to “verbal” which more simply recalls linguistic value in terms of phonic and graphic form (see Petrilli 2009: 194-196). Another key expression in Welby’s research is “interpretation” which figures in the title of her 1896 paper. Originally introduced to designate one of three levels in meaning, the other two being “sense” and “meaning” (for her meaning triad, see below), the term interpretation was subsequently substituted with “significance” on the principle that the interpretive capacity invests all levels and aspects of signifying processes. 

Figurative language

An important part of Welby’s research is dedicated to the figurative dimension of meaning, therefore to the capacity for establishing associations, comparisons, and parallels between different fields of experience. She focused on the various devices of figurative expression, on the use of imagery, figures of speech, metaphor, and simile. In addition to the publications mentioned so far, she had also dedicated a series of unpublished studies to the topic, deposited in the Welby Collection, York University Archives, a substantial selection of which is available in Signifying and Understanding (see, e.g., Welby, “Significs – Imagery (1899-1911)”, in Petrilli 2009: 482-494). 

In Welby, theory of meaning is associated with her “critique of language”. Welby elaborates a “critique of language,” in particular a “critique of imagery,” with special reference to figurative language, and evidences the need to develop a “critical linguistic consciousness,” involving not only the specialist, but the everyday person in daily life and language (cf. Petrilli 2009: 351-405).

She promoted scientific research on the role of metaphor in thought and discourse, in the development of reasoning and processes of acquisition of new knowledge, underlining the need to enhance awareness of the meaning value of metaphor and figurative expression from early childhood.

In “Meaning and Metaphor” Welby theorises the relation between “metaphorical,” “indirect,” or “figurative meaning,” on the one hand, and “literal,” “direct,” or “actual meaning,” on the other. In real signifying processes these two poles cannot be separated, but are only identified as such on the basis of an abstraction. The literal is never truly literal, but rather is imbued at all times with figurative meaning to varying degrees.

From a “significal” perspective, meaning cannot be classified in terms of a rigid binary distinction between the literal and the figurative. “One is tempted to say that there is only one term more figurative as well as more ambiguous than 'metaphorical,' and that is 'literal.' Most certainly much that is called 'literal' is tinged with the figurative in varying degrees, not always easy to distinguish, even with the help of context. The word 'literal' itself is indeed a case in point. It has rarely, if ever, any reference to writing” (Welby 1985[1893]: 512; in Petrilli 2009: 421-430). Welby developed a dynamical, structural, and generative theory of meaning, and critiqued approaches that conceptualise meaning in terms of invariability, uniformity, univocality as though words and phrases were numerals, labels, or symbols “of unanimous consent” (Ibid.: 14). She hypothesised a third region or third value of meaning which characterises linguistic usage at large, from the ordinary spheres of discourse to the more specialised, a “third value, neither wholly literal, nor wholly figurative” in which the “literal” and “figurative” are present to varying degrees.

Figurative meaning can be so deeply rooted in human consciousness that it is often mistaken for so-called “plain meaning.” Nor must figurative meaning be literalised. Welby criticised what she called “plain meaning” fallacy, a “linguistic trap” and major cause of confusion and error. Other causes of confusion include lack of an adequate linguistic consciousness, the bad use of language, and the proliferation of mistaken metaphors and other forms of linguistic imprecision. To critique the plain meaning fallacy means to critique the erroneous idea that meaning is literal or univocal, defined once and for all, as well as the correlative concept of “hard dry facts” that can be referred to directly (“Metaphor and Meaning,” 512-513; cf. Petrilli 2009: 357-358).

Welby theorised the essential ambiguity of meaning, whether actual and direct meaning or symbolic and indirect meaning, distinguishing ambiguity understood negatively as generating confusion, obscurity, and misunderstanding, and ambiguity understood in a positive sense as a necessary condition for adaptation to new communicative contexts, interpretation, and innovation. 

The life sciences enter Welby’s theory of meaning. From biology, for example, she borrows the term “plasticity” to describe the essential vitality of thought and language. Like living organisms, linguistic expressions are alive and dynamic. Plasticity indicates the capacity for adaptiveness to the expressive environment, to new expressive needs, the capacity for creating connections and associations, a necessary condition for successful communication whether in the historical-cultural world or the organic (Welby 1983 [1903]: 60).


Welby broke new ground as she conducted the sense of “translation” into the territory of reflection on sign and meaning, and theorised translation as an interpretive-cognitive method involving all signifying processes without limits. In What is Meaning? she describes translation as “inter-translation,” a method of interpretation and understanding. Translative processes are structural to sign processes which develop across systemic and typological boundaries. Meaning is generated in the translational relation among signs so that from a significal perspective, theory of translation and theory of sign and meaning are interconnected (cf. Welby 1983 [1903]: 120; Petrilli 2009: 517-518).

Significs describes a method for the acquisition of knowledge, for the enhancement of meaning and conscious awareness, of significance through translative processes. It ensues that translation is a condition for understanding and interpretation, for signifying behaviour generally. In terms of Roman Jakobson’s translation typology (1959), Welby thematises “intralingual” translation or “rewording” (interpretation of verbal signs by means of other verbal signs from the same historical-natural language) and “intersemiotic” translation or “transmutation” (interpretation of verbal signs with nonverbal signs, and vice versa, and of nonverbal signs of a given sign system with nonverbal signs of another sign system) beyond “interlingual” translation, or as Jakobson also says “translation properly understood,” (interpretation of verbal signs of a given historical-natural language by means of the verbal signs of another historical-natural language).

Welby’s main focus was on translation as a cognitive method: as “reformulation” or “definition” (where this expression is understood in a broad, “plastic” sense). Welby was commissioned to provide the entry “Translation” for the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology in Three Volumes, 1901–1905, in addition to the entries “Sensal” (co-authored with George Stout) and “Significs” (co-authored with Stout and James M. Baldwin) (in Petrilli 2009: 194-196).

Welby made a serious study of the sciences with special reference to biology and evolutionary theory which she read critically and which also enter her theory of meaning or significs. It was her conviction that all discourse, including the religious, could be updated and enhanced through processes of translation that keep account of new experiences and of progress in the sciences (see Petrilli 1999; also “Reading Significs as “Biosensifics”, in Petrilli and Ponzio 2005: 80-137). 


Another original concept introduced by Victoria Welby is that of “mother-sense,” which she thematised in a series of unpublished manuscripts (essaylets, notes, letters) written at the beginning of the twentieth century, between 1904 and 1910. These are grouped together in a file entitled “Mother-sense (1904-1910)” (WCYABox 28, Subject File 24, in Petrilli 2009: 670-750). Other files collecting materials relating to the same topic are available in the Welby Collection: one is entitled “Primal Sense (1904-1910)” (Box 29, File 36, in Petrilli 2009: 715-722), the other "Primitive Mind" (WCYA, Box 29, File 37). The concept of "mother-sense” (alternatives include "primal sense," "primary sense," “original sense,” “racial sense,” and “native sense”) had already been formulated by Welby in approximately 1890 and plays an important role in the overall architecture of her thought system, whether implicitly or explicitly. Mother-sense is described as the generating matrix of the human capacity for signifying processes, for experience, language, and knowledge acquisition, for the development of consciousness and subjectivity, ultimately of worldview. 

However, it was only from 1904 onwards that Welby worked on the concept of mother-sense systematically, encouraged among other things by the public debate on eugenics (a new science founded by the English psychologist Sir Francis Galton [1822–1911]), to which she contributed with two papers delivered at the Sociological Society, respectively in May 1904 and February 1905 (cf. Welby 1905 and 1906, in Petrilli 2009: 726-728, 728-730), the only woman to take part in the discussion.

Mother-sense is an inheritance common to all of humanity, without gender limitations. It is the generating matrix of the human capacity for signification, experience, expression, knowledge, consciousness, and worldview, for interpretation and creativity. We all owe our lives to mother-sense. The faculty of critique and rational construction, the rationalising intellect presupposes mother-sense, its condition of possibility. She distinguishes between “mother-sense” and “father-reason,” i.e. “sense” and “intellect,” two modalities in sense-generation, in modelling sense, though strictly interrelated in relations of complementarity: neither logic of reason, nor sense of logic, nor well-reasoned logic, nor logical sensing, but reason-becoming and sense-becoming, beyond bivalent logic. Sexual identity is ambiguous, consonant with Peirce’s “logic of vagueness” (Petrilli 2014: 139-154; 2016: 279-307). Mother-sense recovers the relation between “intuitive knowledge” and “rational knowledge.” Critique is a condition for healthy communication, but to flourish must recover the connection with mother-sense. 

Welby acknowledged the significian, thus the pragmatist (referring in particular to the pragmatism of Charles Peirce) with a form of humanism that arises from “mother-sense,” while at once criticising feminist movements of her day. She conceived a project for the emancipation and development of humanity in its wholeness, beginning with improvement of the expressive instruments at one’s disposal through an adequate education. In this light, feminist movements that made claims exclusively to the rights of women, the “cult of effeminacy,” seemed reductive to her. She warned militant feminists against the danger of “monkeyish imitation” of the male behaviour they were contesting, while the “ruling female,” in turn, would soon be imitated by man, thereby favouring the reign of power and violence over good and beauty. Welby appreciated feminist movements with their commitment to values and practices that she endorsed, but at the same time she insisted on the broader vision for the development of a new humanism and improvement of interpersonal relations beyond division among sexes and subjectivities. Therefore, whilst acknowledging the importance of feminist movements, Welby addressed the so-called “woman question” as part of her plan to promote the principles of interrelatedness, mutual understanding, listening, and hospitality among human beings, that is among unique human beings in their singularity as each one, outside and beyond identity affiliations, outside mutual opposition and competition. 


Mother-sense and otherness are central concepts in Welby’s description of subjectivity and its dialogical nature. The Welby Collection includes the file “I and Self” (Box 27, file 13) dedicated to the problem of subjectivity with texts written between 1903 to 1910, a selection is available in Signifying and Understanding (cf. Petrilli 2009: 606-616, 640-670).

Welby focussed on the meaning implications of such expressions as “conscious identity,” “conscious being,” and “human identity”. Among other things, coming to awareness implies to become aware of one’s own otherness beyond the otherness of others. In her analysis of the problem of subjectivity, Welby made an important distinction between “I” and “self,” describing the complex and articulated relation between these terms. As it emerges from the dialogic relation among its parts, identity of the subject is modelled in this relation as multiplex, plurifaceted, and plurivocal identity.

She distinguished between “self” and “Ident.” What Welby called “I,” or introducing a neologism, “Ident” (from which derives the adjective “identic”) develops in the relation with “self” or, better, with the multiple selves forming the different faces of the “Ident.” Consequently, in Welby’s analysis otherness clearly emerges as a necessary condition for the constitution of subjectivity. Indeed, a margin of distancing, of otherness is necessary for there to be a relation between the terms “I” and “self.” In Welby’s view, ethics itself is founded in the relation of otherness and non-correspondence between I and self.

The subject’s identity is multiplex and emerges in the dialogic relation among its parts. The “I” or “Ident” develops with the self, in a relation where multiple selves model the different and interconnected faces of the “Ident.” Ident is associated with mother-sense; self is one of its possible “representations.” The vocation of identity is otherness. As centrifugal material, dialogical and intercorporeal interrelatedness in becoming, the Ident transcends centripetal forces polarised in the self, yet necessary for it to subsist as self, as “ephemeron.” As the knower, the Ident is unknowable. The Ident is an orientation toward the self insofar as it is other. As such it continuously supersedes the limits of the world-as-it-is and of the already-given subject that inhabits it. The more self-reflective behaviour is multifaceted, the greater its capacity for critique and metadiscursivity.

Welby promoted the need for a “significal education,” understood firstly in terms of education for the development of critical consciousness in relation to meaning and signifying value. A preliminary from the perspective of a significal education was the capacity to interrogate meaning. Significs proposes a “significal method” that transcends pure descriptivism and strictly logico-gnoseological boundaries to foster development of the human capacity for critique and creativity. Welby underlines the importance of understanding the conditions that make meaningful behaviour possible. In her own words, significs is “a method of mental training” which concentrates intellectual activities on “meaning,” the main value and condition for all forms of study and knowledge (Welby 1983[1903]: 83). Again, significs is “a method of observation, a mode of experiment” which “includes the inductive and deductive methods in one process” (ibid.: 161). 

The term “significs” designates a transdisciplinary approach and not a “supplanting system,” so that its scope and reference is universal. Most significantly: “[t]he principle involved forms a natural self-acting Critique of every system in turn, including the common-sense ideal” (Welby 1983[1903]: 162), therefore significs is also metadisciplinary. 

Charles K. Ogden delivered a paper in February 1911 to the Heretic Society at the University of Cambridge, titled “The Progress of Significs” (Ogden 1911, see Petrilli 2009: 731-736). In this address he maintained that the most urgent reference and the most promising field for significs “lies in the direction of education,” citing Welby in her 1911 article for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (in Petrilli 2009: 345-349). Ogden’s address was only published in 1994, and in it a section is effectively dedicated to the question of education as one of the most important aspects of significs.

Educating for meaning and significance

Welby redacted another series of unpublished papers between 1903 and 1911, collected in the file “Significs – Education” (Box 30, File 45), stored in the Welby Collection, York University Archives, presented in Signifying and Understanding (Petrilli 2009: 494-515), that testify to the importance of her ongoing research in relation to education.

Transformation and improvement in culture and society call for the acquisition of a critical conscience, above all critical linguistic consciousness through training in critical and responsible thinking. In Welby’s account social change and educational reform go together and must be related (cf. 1983 [1903]: Chp. XXVIII and XXIX). Welby’s lifelong inquiry into language, logic, and meaning was accompanied by her lifelong interest in education understood as education in signifying value, the way to critical thinking and responsibility, relevant to all – from early infancy to adulthood, through all phases and aspects of life. According to Welby both teaching and learning procedures were largely founded on the capacity to establish connections and comparisons, likenesses and correspondence between different facts, phenomena, experiences, and expressions. Indeed, the first analogy on the basis of which all other analogies may be constructed is that between one’s own mind and that of others. In Welby’s words: “we forget that we cannot say one word to our fellow without assuming the analogy between his 'mind' and our own” (1983 [1903]: 43).

Education for meaning implies developing the capacity to identify distinctions and to establish connections among different subjects, ideas, problematics, fields of research, to link together all parts of growing experience, and thus to apply the principle of translation, understood as transsystemic and transdisciplinary translation.

A significal education would focus on developing the power of interpretation and the ability to express facts from different points of view, under different aspects. The student, whether child or adult, would learn to make distinctions and to detect fallacy, error, and confusion, whether intentional or unconscious. In cognitive terms the capacity to ask questions is a condition for the acquisition of knowledge and practical competencies in all areas of study and experience, from everyday life to the different spheres of intellectual life. Welby insistently underlined the importance of linguistic education, for the sake of developing the powers of critical thinking as much as for the acquisition of practical competencies.

The value of education was a constant theme in Welby’s correspondence, in particular a good linguistic education. It was important to cultivate the interpretive capacity and learn to focus on the problem of the relation between language, logic, and meaning, preferably from early childhood. She signalled the importance of studies on the development of the child’s mind, and criticised the educational system of her time for not sufficiently recognising the child’s typical capacity to interrogate the reason of things, to ask questions that were logically connected, and for systematically blunting the child’s interest in and control over language. As anticipated, educational reform was considered a necessary condition for social reform at large. Teaching methods needed to be revised and updated in light of research on language and meaning, on the relation to values, and application of the principle of translation. 

To educate for meaning, which for Welby was to educate for sense, meaning, and significance, also means to educate for fitness, freedom, beauty, grace, and dignity, as she says in her letter to Peirce of 1909, echoing What is Meaning?. Moreover, all human beings, whether male or female, are indistinctly endowed with what Welby designated as “mother-sense” or “primal sense” (see “Mother-sense and subjectivity,” in Petrilli 2009: Ch. 6), the a priori condition for the development of critical consciousness, creativity, and responsibility. Welby maintained that mother-sense could be developed through a correct signific education, and denounced educational systems of her time for tending to “inducate” rather than “educate.”

The file “Significs-Ambiguity (1892-1912)” (in Petrilli 2009: 476-482), containing papers written between 1892 and 1912, presents notes by Welby for a series of lessons on “the duty of saying what we mean, meaning what we say, and understanding what we hear or read.” In these papers attention is drawn to the problem of the relation between language, meaning, and understanding. In her constant search for adequate terminology, Welby also introduced the term “metalemma” to designate linguistic metaphors. Her reflections on the problem of ambiguity, figurative language, and imagery are closely interconnected to her reflections on education and the need to teach people to reflect on such issues; just as her theory of meaning and her theory of education are, in turn, closely interconnected with her theory of translation. The study of significance was considered as a vital element in education, given that it is the nexus of all experience and expression. Educating for significance implies educating to apply the principle of translation from one sphere of experience and expression to another. From the point of view of education and educational methods, Welby underlined the importance of training in the principles and workings of imagery – popular, poetical, philosophical, and scientific, and of theorising and elaborating teaching strategies oriented by such awareness. A critique of imagery was considered as a method against confusion and fallacious inferential processes (cf. Welby 1983 [1903]: Ch. XXIX).

Relaunching significs

Editorial events that have contributed to relaunching significs today include, as mentioned at the beginning of this presentation, republication of Welby’s 1903 and 1911 books, What is Meaning?, in 1983, and Significs and Language, in 1985. The latter in a volume with the same title that also includes her essays “Meaning and Metaphor,” 1893, and “Sense, Meaning and Interpretation,” 1896, a series of previously unpublished “essaylets,” and a series of short texts written between 1907 and 1908 from the Welby Collection at the York Archives. This important collection of Welby’s writings opens with an introductory essay by the editor, H. Walter Schmitz, entitled “Victoria Welby’s Significs: The Origin of the Signific Movement” (pp. ix–ccxxxv), of circa two hundred pages , which describes materials available in the archives, reconstructs the history of significs, focuses on its theoretical concerns, and also presents aspects of Welby’s biography. The volume is complete with a bibliography of writings by Welby and of the secondary literature on Welby and her significs, as well as of writings somehow inspired by her.

Another two important volumes that have contributed to relaunching significs is publication of the collective volume Essays on Significs, edited by H. Walter Schmitz, 1990, and of Significs, Mathematics and Semiotics: The Significs Movement in the Netherlands, edited by the same Schmitz with Erik (Albertus Frederik) Heijerman, 1991, which collects the proceedings of an International Conference held in Bonn in 1986. Essays on Significs was published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Welby’s birth, which develops an editorial project dedicated to key concepts in significs, originally conceived by George F. Stout and John W. Slaughter, the editors, and approved by Welby. Contributions were scheduled from Höffding GiovanniVailati, Mario Calderoni, Charles S. Peirce, Ferdinand Tönnies, William W. Carlile, Philip Jourdain, Alfred Sidgwick, and John P. Postgate, as well as from the editors. Though most essays had been collected, publication was repeatedly postponed until the project was abandoned with Welby’s death in 1912 (see Hardwick 1977: 176–177; for further information on the history of this project, see Schmitz 1985b: lxv, cxli–cxliv), only to be taken up again by Schmitz and published in 1990.

Signifying and Understanding. Reading Victoria Welby and the Signific Movement, 2009, edited by the present author, presents a vast selection of Victoria Lady Welby’s writings, published and unpublished, from the Welby Collection, York University and from the Lady Welby Library, University of London Library. A large corpus of other printed matter by Welby or relating to her is available in the Welby library housed in the London University Library, London (UK). The whole course of Welby’s production is delineated in its various phases from its inception through to developments beyond Welby herself with the Signific Movement in the Netherlands, and still other ramifications, contemporary and subsequent to her. 

In addition to writings by Welby and her correspondence with preeminent figures of the time, Signifying and Understanding also includes a complete description of the materials available at the Welby Archives in York and three updated bibliographies listing all her writings as well as writings on Welby, her significs, as well as on the Signific Movement in the Netherlands and its developments. This movement was originally inspired by Welby through mediation of the Dutch poet and psychiatrist F. van Eeden (1860-1932), and flourished across the first half of the twentieth century (cf. Schmitz 1990; Heijerman-Schmitz 1991).

In addition to a large selection of unpublished manuscripts on different topics, this volume also presents several epistolaries with important personalities, published for the first time from the massive corpus of unpublished correspondence stored in the Welby Collection; a choice of “essaylets” originally printed during her lifetime for private circulation; a series of excerpts from her two early monographs long out of print, Links and Clues (1881) and Grains of Sense (1897); a selection of essays published between the 1880s and the first decade of the 20th century. The important essays “Metaphor and Meaning” (1893) and “Sense, Meaning, Interpretation” (1896) have also been included. 

Welby’s correspondence with Charles S. Peirce is generally known to the specialist thanks to the editions produced first by Irwin C. Lieb, Charles S. Peirce’s Letters to Lady Welby, 1953, and subsequently by Charles S. Hardwick, Semiotic and Significs. The Correspondence Between Charles S. Peirce and Victoria Lady Welby, 1977. 

A selection of essays by first generation significians and precisely Frederik van Eeden, Gerrit Mannoury, L. E. J. Brouwer, and David Vuysje, major representatives of the Signific Movement in the Netherlands, completes the volume with the aim of providing historical documentation testifying to the progress of significs after Welby and even independently from her. These papers are like signposts indicating itineraries in significal research followed during the first half of the twentieth century and beyond, in developments across the second half of the twentieth century, influenced by significs or somehow connected to significs, or prefigured by Welby’s significs, as in the case of linguistic philosophy, pragmatism, anglo-american speech act theory, psycholinguistics, translation studies, and semioethics.

In addition to numerous writings on Welby and her significs, I have authored four books on her, two in Italian, two in English: Su Victoria Welby. Significs e filosofia del linguaggio (1998), Signifying and Understanding (2009), Victoria Welby and the Science of Signs. Significs, Semiotics, Philosophy of Language (2015), and, finally, Significs e filosofia del linguaggio. Sul significato del significato in Victoria Welby (2022). 

On and Beyond Significs: Centennial Issue for Victoria Lady Welby (1837–1912), a collective volume on Welby’s significs, was published in the journal Semiotica (see Colapietro, Nuessel and Petrilli 2013).

I have published extensively on Welby in the form of journal articles and book chapters. Here I will simply signal the following: the dictionary entries “Significs,” and “Welby, Victoria, Lady Welby,” commissioned by Paul Cobley for The Routledge Companion to Semiotics and Linguistics, 2001 (also, Cobley ed., The Routledge Companion to Semiotics, 2009); the entry “Welby, Victoria Alexandrina, Lady Welby (1837–1912),” commissioned by the Oxford New Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; the encyclopedia entry “Significs,” in Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, 2005, commissioned by Marcel  Danesi; and the entry “Victoria Lady Welby,” in Enciclopedia filosofica, 2006, in Italy.

Appended to this presentation, after the References section, is the Table of Contents from Signifying and Understanding. Reading Welby and the Signific Movement in the Netherlands, 2009.



 Baldwin, James Mark. Ed. 1901–05. Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology in Three Volumes. New York/London: Macmillan.

Colapietro, Vincent; Nuessel, Frank, and Susan Petrilli. Eds. 2013. On and Beyond Significs: Centennial Issue for Victoria Lady Welby (1837–1912). Semiotica 196, 1/4. 

Cust, Mrs. Henry (i.e Emmeline Mary Elizabeth, alias Nina) (Ed.). 1928. Wanderers: Episodes From the Travels of Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley and Her Daughter Victoria, 1849–1955. Preface by Sir Ronald Storrs. London: Jonathan Cape.

–Ed. 1929. Echoes of Larger Life: A Selection from the Early Correspondence of Victoria Lady Welby. London: Jonathan Cape. 

–Ed. 1931 Other Dimensions: A Selection from the Later Correspondence of Victoria Lady Welby. London: Jonathan Cape. 

Fisch, Max H. 1986. Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Jakobson, Roman. 1959. “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation.” In Selected Writings, Vol. II: 260-266. The Hague: Mouton, 1971.

Hardwick, Charles. Ed. 1977. Semiotic and Significs. The Correspondence Between Charles S. Peirce and Victoria Lady Welby. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 

Heijerman, Erik, Schmitz, Walter  H. (Eds.). 1991, Significs, Mathematics and Semiotics. The Significs Movement in the Netherlands. Proceedings of the International Conference, Bonn, 19–21 Nov. 1986. Münster: Nodus Publikationen.

Mind. 1920. “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’.” A symposium with B. Russell and H. H. Joachim. Mind 29, no. 116: 387-97.

–1921a. “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’.” Mind 30, no. 118: 185-90.

–1921b. “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’.” Mind 30, no. 120: 444-7. 

Ogden, Charles K., and Ivor A. Richards. 1923. The Meaning of Meaning. A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism, Supplementary essays by Malinowski and Crookshank. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. New edition, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989. 

Ogden, Charles K. 1911. “The Progress of Significs” (Lesson 19 February 1911). In C.K. Ogden, 1994, Vol. 1, From Significs to Orthology, 1-47.

–1994. C. K. Ogden and Linguistics, 5 Vols, ed. Terrence Gordon. London: Routledge-Thoemmes Press. 

Ogden, Charles K., and Ivor A. Richards. 1923. The Meaning of Meaning. A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism. With supplementary essays by B. Malinowski and F. G. Crookshank. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989. 

Petrilli, Susan. 1998. Su Victoria Welby. Significs e filosofia del linguaggio. Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.

–2004. “Welby, Victoria Alexandrina, Lady Welby (1837–1912).” In Colin Matthew, ed., Oxford New Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

–2009. Signifying and Understanding. Reading the Works of Victoria Welby and the Signific Movement, Foreword Paul Cobley, vii-x. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

–2010. Sign Crossroads in Global Perspective. Semioethics and Responsibility. New Brunswick: Transaction. 

–2012. Expression and Interpretation in Language. New Brunswick: Transaction.

–2013. “Early recognitions of Welby’s significs and the movement it inspired in the Netherlands.” Semiotica 196, 1/4: 551-570. 

–2014. Sign Studies and Semioethics. Communication, Translation and Values. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

–2015a. Victoria Welby and the Science of Signs. Significs, Semiotics, Philosophy of Language. New Brunswick: Transaction.

–2015b. “Ethics and Significance: Insights from Welby for Meaningful Education”. In Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory, ed. Michael Peters, Section “Edusemiotics”, ed. Inna Semetsky, 1-5. Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Singapore: Springer.

–2016. The Global World and Its Manifold Faces. Otherness as the Basis of Communication. Berne: Peter Lang.

–2019. Signs, Language and Listening. Semioethic Perspectives. Ottawa: Legas.

–2022. Significs e filosofia del linguaggio. Sul significato del significato in Victoria Welby. Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.

Petrilli, Susan, and Augusto Ponzio. 2003. Semioetica. Rome: Meltemi. [Now in S. Petrilli, ed., Semioetica e comunicazione globale, 127-251. Milan: Mimesis, 2014.]

–2005. Semiotics Unbounded. Interpretive Routes through the Open Network of Signs. Toronto: Toronto University Press.

–2010. “Semioethics.” In The Routledge Companion to Semiotics, ed. Paul Cobley. London: Routledge.

Pietarinen, Ahti-Veikko. 2009a. “Significs and the Origins of Analytic Philosophy.” Journal of the History of Ideas 70(3): 467-490.

–2009b Welby, Peirce, and Russell: The Role of Language in Early Analytic Philosophy. Paper delivered at the Conference “200 Years of Analytic Philosophy,” Riga, September 2008. Now available online: 

–2013. “Christine Ladd-Franklin's and Victoria Welby's Correspondence with Charles Peirce.” Semiotica 196: 139-161.

Sebeok, Thomas, and Susan Petrilli. 2001. “Women in Semiotics.” In Thomas Sebeok, Global Semiotics, 145-153. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Schmitz, Walter H. 1985 “Victoria Lady Welby’s Significs: The Origin of the Signific Movement.” In V. Welby 1985: ix–ccxxxv. 

–1990. Essays on Significs. Papers Presented on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Victoria Lady Welby, Preface, i–ix. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Welby, Victoria. 1852. A Young Traveller’s Journal of a Tour in North and South America during the Year 1850. With numerous illustrations by the authoress engraved by T. Bolton. London: T. Bosworth.

–1881 Links and Clues. London: Macmillan.

–1890. “Is there a Break in Mental Evolution?” (Paper read at the Leeds Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Leeds, 5 September 1890). Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 60, 972–973. Now in S. Petrilli 2009:

–1891. “An Apparent Paradox in Mental Evolution” (Paper read by the Secretary at the Anthropological Institute, 9 December 1890). The Journal of the Anthropological Institute, Vol. 21 (May 1891): 304–329. Includes ‘Discussion.’

–1892. “The Significance of Folk-Lore.” In J. Jacobs and A. Nutt, eds. The International Folk-Lore Congress, 1891. Papers and Transactions, 394–407. London: David Nutt.

–1893. “Meaning and Metaphor.” The Monist 3(4): 510-525. Now in S. Petrilli 2009.

–1896. “Sense, Meaning and Interpretation.” Mind, N. S. 5(17): 24-37, 5(18): 186-202. Now in Petrilli 2009. 

–1897. Grains of Sense. London: Dent.

–1905. “Eugenics”. From V. Lady Welby. [Written Communication on “Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims.” By Mr. Francis Galton.] Sociological Papers 1(1904): 76–78. London: Macmillan.

–1906. From the Hon. Lady Welby. [Written Communication on “Eugenics.” By Mr. Francis Galton.] Sociological Papers 2(1905): 43–45. London: Macmillan.

–1911. “Significs.” In The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. Vol. XXV: 78-81. Cambridge: At the University Press. Now in C. S. Hardwick 1977: 167-175. 

–1983. What is Meaning?, Introductory essay Gerrit Mannoury, Preface Achim Eschbach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 19031.

–1985a. Significs and Language, ed. and intro. H. W. Schmitz. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

–1985b. Significato, metafora, interpretazione, ed. S. Petrilli. Bari: Adriatica.

–2007. Senso, significato, significatività, ed. S. Petrilli. Bari: Graphis.

–2010. Interpretare, comprendere, comunicare, ed. S. Petrilli. Rome: Carocci.

–2021. Senso, significato, significatività, ed. S. Petrilli. Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia.

Authored by Professor Susan Petrilli

Professor Susan Petrilli

Susan A. Petrilli is Full Professor of Philosophy and Theory of Languages at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro,” Italy; 7th Sebeok Fellow of the Semiotic Society of America; Fellow of the International Communicology Institute (ICI); vice-President of the International Association for Semiotic Studies. She has been acting as Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at The University of Adelaide, South Australia, since February 2016. Her principal research interests relate to such areas as Philosophy of Language, Semiotics, Ethics, General Linguistics, Translation Studies, Cultural Studies, Communication Studies.

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