Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I am Professor of Semiotics at Lund University, where I direct the Semiotics Seminar since 1986, and head of the Centre for cognitive semiotics, starting in 2009. I am the initiator of the doctorate in semiotics at Lund University which formally begun its existence in 1998.

I was the first president of the Swedish Society for Semiotic Studies (sffs) and president of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) 1992-2012, as well as Secretary General of the International Association for Visual Semiotics (IAVS/AISV) since 2001.

I hold a doctorate in general linguistics from Lund University, and a doctorate in semiotics from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. From 1974 to 1981, I was a member of the Groupe de recherches sémio-linguistiques, directed by A.J. Greimas, where I headed a section concerned with gestures. Between 1981 and 1982, I conducted research in semiotics and linguistics in Mexico, particularly as applied to Mayan languages and culture.


About the research

I have been concerned with general and visual semiotics, the semiotics of gesture, linguistics, the semiotics of culture and, more recently, evolutionary and developmental semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signification, also outside of language.

Since my return in 1983, I have been instrumental in the introduction of semiotic research into Sweden. For these last few years, the focus of my work has been on the development and evolution of semiotic resources. I was involved in a project, in collaboration with linguistics and cognitive science, the theme of which was the semiotic development of language, gesture, and pictures (SGB). This was followed by an EU-project concerned with Stages in the Evolution and Development of Sign Use (SEDSU), as well a the Centre for cognitive semiotics, initiated in 2009.

I have published numerous articles in such internationally recognized publications of as Semiotica, Degrés, RS/SI, Actes sémiotiques, Zeitschrift für Semiotik, VISIO, Sign System Studies, etc. My book Pictorial concepts (Lund: Lund University Press 1989) has been hailed as a fundamental contribution to the field of visual semiotics. I have also published, in Swedish, the first text book covering the entire field of visual semiotics existing in any language, Bildbetydelser (Lund: Studentlittertur. Moreover, I was advisory editor for visual semiotics of the Encyclopedia of Semiotics, published by Oxford University Press in 1998, for which I wrote many of the entries.


Books (3)
Editorships (4)
Articles (43)
Book chapters (33)
Prefaces (1)
Conference contributions (18)
Working papers (7)
Supervision at Lund University (3)

Research portal (Lund University)



  • Manager of Research and Research Education at Cognitive Semiotics

Göran Sonesson

Professor, Manager of Research and Research Education
Cognitive Semiotics
Centre for Languages and Literature

Contact information

E-mail goran.sonessonsemiotik.luse

Phone +46 46 222 95 31

Room SOL:H405c

Visiting address Helgonabacken 12, Lund

Postal address Box 201, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 20