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Saussure Essay

  • Submitted by: Laura2777
  • on February 19, 2012
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 349 words

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Below is an essay on "Saussure" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Intertexuality is often viewed as taking its origins from the birth of modern linguistics: a discipline emerging in the work of Ferdinand de Saussure. In his Course in General Linguistics, Saussure made a definition in which a sign can be imagined as a two-sided coin combining a signified (concept) and a signifier (sound-image). And the meaning of linguistic sign is non-referential: a sign is not a word’s reference to some object in the world but the combination, conveniently sanctioned, between a signifier and a signified. When humans write or speak they are producing specific acts of linguistic communication (parole) out of the available synchronic system of language (langue). The reference of the sign is to the system, not directly to the world. Thus Saussure’s linguistics   recognizes that all acts of communication stem from choices made within a system which pre-exists any speaker. For Saussure, the linguistic sign is also differential. The placing of words together in sentences involves what is termed the syntagmatic (combinatory) axis of language; the selection of certain words out of sets of possible words involves what is termed the paradigmatic (selection) axis of language. Any piece of language (parole) is produced by processes of combination along the syntagmatic axis and of selection along the paradigmatic axis. The meanings we produce and find within language, then,are relational; Signs are not referential, they only possess what meaning they do possess because of their combinatory and associative relation to other signs.Signs exist within a system and produce meaning through their similarity to and difference from other signs. The implications of such a vision of the sign, and of language generally, can be said to have affected all areas of the human sciences in the twentieth century, including the studying of texts, for texts share the same nature with language. In other words, the meanging of texts exists not just in texts themselves but in the...

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