Several current linguistic approaches converge in rejecting the wide-spread idea that language is an autonomous system, i.e. that it is structured independently from the outside world and the natural equipment of language users. Around the world, semiotically biased linguistics (functionalism, naturalism, etc.) takes this position, which differentiates it very clearly from generative linguistics. One of the basic assumptions of such approaches is that language structure includes some non-arbitrary aspects, from the phonological through the textual level, and a great amount of research has occurred in the last decade regarding the "iconic aspects" of language(s). This volume focuses on generally neglected dimensions of language and semiotic activity, featuring contributions by philosophers, linguists, semioticians, and psychologists. After tracing the tradition of iconicity in the history of linguistic thought, the central section is devoted to specific analyses emphasizing the role of non-arbitrary phenomena in language foundation and linguistic structure. Specifically discussed are numeration systems, the gestural systems of communication among deaf people, the genesis of writing in children, and inter-ethnic communication.