Linguistic turn plc v


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Linguistic turn plc v

  1. 1. Saussure & the Linguistic Turn <ul><li>Principles of Literary Criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Oscar V. Campomanes </li></ul><ul><li>Department of English, Ateneo de Manila </li></ul>
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><ul><li>To track, via Saussure’s theory, the modernization of language study so as to appreciate the Linguistic Turn and its many epistemological consequences for the human sciences, esp. for the study & critique of Literature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To introduce and examine the specific terminology, methods, and axioms of Saussurean structuralism esp. in terms of their production of radical concepts of human subjectivity, ‘realia,’ communication & community, media, thought, and language </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>To raise and scrutinize the problems of and the gaps in structuralist linguistics as these may explain the emergence of semiotics/semiology and the Turn from Language to Culture, Discourse, & Other Objects of structuralist & post-structuralist theorizing. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Saussure: A Man of Science <ul><li>Found many problems with the older and previous forms of language study and sought to make an exact (or at least, precise ) science of “linguistics.” </li></ul><ul><li>Later: He himself became a Sign for the very theory that both professionalized linguistics & became the basis or hotbed for such major offshoots of the LT as Semiotics/Semiology, Cultural Studies, etc. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Jameson: <ul><li>p5: ‘first & foremost a reaction to the doctrines of the Neo-Grammarians. For the interest in change & evolution….’ </li></ul><ul><li>p5: ‘historical philology proves to have taken as its object only individual changes, isolated facts: even its laws are somehow local & contingent…’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pp5-6: ‘Saussure’s originality was to have insisted on the fact that language is a total system…’ </li></ul>
  6. 6. Jameson: <ul><li>p11: ‘Saussure’s dissatisfaction with the older linguistics was in its very essence a methodological, a terminological one…’ </li></ul><ul><li>P. 13: ‘Saussure himself: “The utter ineptness of current terminology, the need for reform, and TO SHOW WHAT KIND OF AN OBJECT LANGUAGE IS IN GENERAL—these things over & over again spoil whatever pleasure I can take in historical studies….”’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. Jameson: <ul><li>Re Richards (& Ogden), p22-23: “….the dominant opposition is between the langue ….& the parole ….” </li></ul><ul><li>p 23: ‘….The vice of Anglo-American empiricism lies indeed in its stubborn will to isolate the object in question from everything else, whether it be a material thing, an “event” in Wittsgenstein’s sense, a word, a sentence, or meaning….’ </li></ul>
  8. 8. As a Man of Science <ul><li>Sought to supersede and systematize, refine the study of language phenomena by staging a critique of previous forms of language study </li></ul><ul><li>On the basis of this critique, broached the radical, fundamental Q: What is the “true & unique object” [p. 1; not in reader] of a modern linguistics that could be envisioned? </li></ul>
  9. 9. As a Man of Science <ul><li>Believed that the founding objective of the new science should be “to seek out the nature of its object of study, [as] obviously, without this elementary step, no science can develop a method .” [p. 3; not in Reader] </li></ul><ul><li>“ What is both the integral and concrete object of linguistics?” [p. 7] </li></ul>
  10. 10. As a Man of Science <ul><li>Dwell on his scientific bent of mind and his adherence to what we usually call “the scientific method.” [to understand the genesis of his science of language study, his experimental, tentative, even self-conflicted explorations of language, and also to clarify what a ‘scientific method’ consists in] </li></ul>
  11. 11. As a Man of Science <ul><li>Of the three objectives that should constitute the “subject matter & scope of linguistics” [see p. 6], b) & c) are the most telling in this regard </li></ul><ul><li>Like colleagues in the natural and physical sciences, Saussure sought to isolate and study the structure , the constitutive/constituent units of his general object of study [“linguistic phenomenon” –p. 4] ; but only to reground it in its ‘relations’ eventually.... </li></ul><ul><li><<analytical, x dialectical </li></ul>
  12. 12. Structural or “nuclear” unit of the Object <ul><li>Cell: Cellular Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Molecule: Molecular Chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Atom: Particle or Atomic Physics </li></ul><ul><li>*the idea is isolate this basic structure & unit of the “linguistic phenomenon” so as to be able to explain its self-reproductive power, its elevation to a principle or law governing its reality [see b)] </li></ul>
  13. 13. Problems with Previous Schools of Language Study 1. Grammarians [Ancient Greeks to the Modern French]: normative approach to Language 2. Classical Philologists: slavish attention to written texts, “to the neglect of the living language” 3. Comparative Philologists: naturalist approach to Language; method exclusively comparative, not historical [Whitney & Bopp however introduce the necessity to historicize language development] *all are unable to train their focus on the real object of study
  14. 14. Basic Difficulties of Language Study *range of linguistic phenomena is enormous **object of Language Study is not given in advance ***”linguistic phenomenon always has two related sides:” [p. 8] 1. acoustic—vocal 2. acoustic-vocal unit + idea [‘complex physiological-psychological unit’] 3. individual & social side of speech 4. implies an ‘established system’ & an ‘evolution’ [Kristeva: synchrony/diachrony]
  15. 15. Langue/Langage Language “not to be confused with human speech, of which it is only a definite part , though certainly an essential one” *both “a product of the faculty of speech ” & “a collection of necessary conventions …. adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty.” Speech [by contrast] is “many-sided, and heterogeneous….we cannot discover its unity.” [p. 9]
  16. 16. Langue/LANGUAGE <ul><li>‘ A self-contained whole’ [its structure can be isolated and self-sonservative, systematic in nature] </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A principle of classification’ [given ‘first place among the facts of speech,’ it can ‘introduce a natural order into a mass that lends itself to no other classification’] </li></ul><ul><li>But if ‘speech is based on a natural faculty & language something acquired or conventional,’ shouldn’t speech take precedence? [pp. 9-10] </li></ul><ul><li>This objection “is easily refuted” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Is Langue/Language Natural, Organismic? <ul><li>Cites the American linguist Whitney on the natural, organismic basis for Language (has implications for human signification: there can be other means) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>“ language is a convention and the nature of the sign that is agreed upon does not matter” [p. 10] </li></ul><ul><li>“ WHAT IS NATURAL TO MANKIND IS NOT ORAL SPEECH BUT THE FACULTY OF CONSTRUCTING A LANGUAGE , ie, a system of distinct signs corresponding to distinct ideas.” [p. 11: linguistic faculty proper] </li></ul>
  18. 18. Language in Speech
  19. 19. Further Divisions of the Circuit *outer-inner *psychological & non-psychological *active-receptive
  20. 20. Associative & Coordinating Faculty *”this faculty plays the dominant role in the organization of language as a system” [p. 12] *”to understand this….leave the individual act….approach the social fact” AVERAGE: COMMON BOND
  21. 21. The Social Crystallization of Language *nonpsychological part OUT psychological part OUT: execution is individual (executive side to be called speaking [ parole ]) SO: toward “the social bond that constitutes language”
  22. 22. “ Language is not complete in any speaker; it exists perfectly only within a collectivity.” [p. 14] *to separate language FROM speaking: social from individual; essential from what is accessory or accidental!
  23. 23. ‘ Language is not a function of the speaker.’ [On the contrary, the speaker is a function in/of Language’] p. 14 *implications or consequences of an axiom like this?
  24. 24. SUMMARY <ul><li>L a well-defined object within heterogeneous mass of speech facts [can be ‘localized’—p. 14] </li></ul><ul><li>L, unlike speaking, can be studied separately </li></ul><ul><li>L is homogeneous: “It is a system of signs in which the only ESSENTIAL thing is the union of meanings and sound-images and in which both parts of the sign are psychological” [p. 15] </li></ul><ul><li>Language is CONCRETE, representable in graphic form whereas actes de parole [individual speech acts] cannot be ‘photographed’ or similarly imaged. </li></ul>
  25. 25. ‘ SEMIOLOGY’ “We must call a new type of facts in order to illuminate the special nature [and structure] of L” *’L is a system of signs that express ideas, and is THEREFORE COMPARABLE TO A SYSTEM OF WRITING, THE ALPHABET OF DEAF-MUTES, SYMBOLIC RITES, POLITE FORMULAS, MILITARY SIGNALS, etc. But it is the most important of all these systems . [LT;L Analogy; Linguistic Model] p. 16
  26. 26. FORESEEING SEMIOLOGY “A science that studies the life of signs within society is conceivable….I shall call it semiology (from the Greek s*em*ion ‘sign’). Semiology would show what would constitute signs [no longer exclusively ‘linguistic’], what laws govern them….” p. 16; also pp. 16-17 remarks
  27. 27. Nature of the Linguistic Sign
  28. 28. Language not a naming process or system “The linguistic unit is a double entity: one formed by the associating of two terms” [pp. 65-66]
  29. 29. TERMINOLOGY (p. 67) ‏ <ul><li>‘ Our definition of the linguistic sign poses an important question of terminology’ [problem of ambiguity; demand for precision’] </li></ul><ul><li>“ The thing that constitutes language….is unrelated to the phonic character of the linguistic sign.” </li></ul>
  30. 30. Sign [signe]=Signified [ Signifie ] + Signifier [ Signifiant ] <ul><li>Sd to replace concept; Sfr to replace sound-image </li></ul>
  31. 31. Saussure’s Anti-Substantialism <ul><li>p111: ‘…language is only a system of pure values [‘differences’]….’ </li></ul><ul><li>p113: ‘Language can also be compared to a sheet of paper…their combination produces a form not a substance ’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ use of words….’— </li></ul><ul><li>p114: ‘Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others…’ </li></ul>
  32. 32. Linguistic Value(s) ‏ <ul><li>p115: ‘even outside of language all values are apparently governed by the same paradoxical principle….’ </li></ul><ul><li>Analogy with exchange market or political economy </li></ul><ul><li>Fr. Mouton, Engl sheep (thru next page) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>P116: ‘Everything said about words applies to any term of language’/Fr & Grman </li></ul>
  33. 33. Linguistic Value(s): Formal not Substantial <ul><li>“… .it is impossible for sound alone, a material element, to belong to language. It is only a secondary thing, substance to be put to use. All our conventional values have the characteristic of not being confused with the tangible element which supports them. For instance, it is not the metal in a piece of money that fixes its value…” [pp118-119] </li></ul>