What does it mean to drive a Cadillac? What does `cuckoo' suggest about the bird? -- two examples explored in this investigation of the history of language signs and of what philosophers, linguists, and others have had to say about them. Rudi Keller shows how signs emerge, function, and develop in the permanent process of language change. He recombines thoughts and ideas from Plato to the present day to create a new theory of the meaning and evolution of icons and symbols. By assuming no prior knowledge and by developing hisargument from first principles, Rudi Keller has written a basic text which includes all the necessary features: easy style, good organization, original scholarship, and historical depth. This is a non-technical book which will interest linguists, philosophers, students of communications and culturalstudies, semioticians/semanticists, sociologists, and anthropologists.