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by: Sara Rahimzadeh

Saussure ENG 3803

Sara Rahimzadeh
GPA 3.408

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Previous lecture continued. Saussure lecture. Discussion of abstract language.
History of Text
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sara Rahimzadeh on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENG 3803 at Florida State University taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views.


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Date Created: 09/15/16
DeSaussure How does writing as a structure allow analytical thinking?  You don’t need to memorize it.  Writing is significant  Manguel teaches us that reading is necessary to our humanity because it is a different activity. Without writing, you have to do twice as much reading to understand  Language is in between reading and writing; it connects them. Without language can we write? o De Certeau would say there’s different ways to read and write. But he’s speaking about a way that still uses language. To record our experiences, we need to learn about universal language.  Do you need language in order to read? o You need some sort of referential system in order to read. DeSaussure  Swiss, 1857-1913  considered to be the founder of modern linguistics o He was the first person in the world to actually theorize and describe the structure of language. o Linguistics was historical linguistics before him.  Structural Linguistics  He addresses previously held conceptions about what language is o Do you call trees ARBOR or a horse EQUOS? o Naming has lots of variations o Language and naming is regional. The variance has some social issues attached. o The process of where we get our words from doesn’t effect the structure.  Begin to think about language as something that’s abstract.  The words you use aren’t just naming tools. He’s saying that’s an old fashioned form of thinking about language.  As a naming system, he implies that there’s a positive relationship between the name and the object. o We know what objects are. o There’s no way that this isn’t a marker. Or a tree. Or a horse.  Linguistic signs  there’s a concept between sound and image  it becomes more and more abstract. o The entity of the linguistic sign maybe “marker”. As a word, sound, and written word, is all apart of the linguistic sign.  Sign = signifier; signified o The sign represents the relationship between the two. o They recall each other; they are not mutually exclusive o A word is a sign o Tree = “tree”/ (picture of tree)  All of those elements to constitute a sign ARE signs. The word tree is a sign. “tree” is a sign. The picture is a tree.  Symbols have ritualistic meaning and direct representation. Symbols are direct 2  The sign is essentially arbitrary o It doesn’t really matter o The sign described as arbitrary means the relationship is negative and not relative. o If the sign creates a different impression or thought in different people’s minds, it is negative. The sign is unstable. It isn’t communicating correctly.  Signs are negative  Why is the sign arbitrary? Why is it negative?  His analysis of the system is synchronic o Taking a snapshot of a time o Diachronic is across time.  All of the signs are coexisting with other signs. That’s over a million signs. We have 1 million individual units with a shifting, arbitrary signifier and signified.  You can only look at language when you separate the word from the object  The tree is a tree because the sign of a tree is not the sign of the cat. Vise, versa.  We’ve decided, through usage, that X should be labeled X not because of the appropriate signifier, but because we socially accepted it.  Language is only difference.  There no natural relationship between a door and the object you open to exit the room. It’s door because it’s not a book, or chair, or desk, etc.  Language has neither words nor sounds before the linguistic system.  THERE ARE NO WORDS THAT EXIST NATURALLY. 3  Language as a construct has no meaning.  Language makes language  There’s no author. Is there a true originality with this kind of structure?  Writing is a variation of sign. 4


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