What is “showing” in language?
Keywords:language, meaning, showing, telling, ontology
In this squib, I discuss the issue of showing meaning in language. I consider showing to form a continuum with telling (traditional language use with lexico-grammatical units and processes) and define showing in its purest form as a way of signaling meaning through depiction. For this purpose, showing makes use of relatively gradient and non-conventional means which are not typically considered to belong to language proper. I situate showing together with telling in ontology in which language is conceived as being simultaneously a physical, cognitive and social activity on a par with other such types of activities. In mainstream linguistics, showing has been marginalized and set aside from the focus of research. However, I suggest that accepting showing as an inherent part of language and its use has, after closer empirical scrutiny, not only theoretical but also practical implications.