2. The Sign is Arbitrary
• The link between signal and signification is
• For example : there is no inner connection
between the idea sister and the sound s-o-r
which serves as signal in French.
• Two objections raised are :
Onomatopoeic words prove that the choice of the
signal is not always arbitrary. But Saussure
encounters that they are never organic elements.
3. NATURE OF LINGUISTIC SIGN
• Sign , Signification and Signal
• Two fundamental characteristics of linguistic
The Sign is Arbitrary
Linear Character of the signal.
4. Sign , Signification and Signal
• A linguistic unit is dual in nature.
• A verbal sign have two sides : the sound image
and the concept.
• A linguistic sign is a link between a concept and
a sound pattern.
• Saussure replace concept by signification and
sound pattern by signal .
• Sign = signification (signified) + signal
5. Interjections may also be sited to question.
There is no fixed link between exclamatory
signal and its signification.
Example: the English equivalent of French “aie”
• Saussure is a key figure in the development of
modern approaches to language study .
• Most important feature of his work is theory of
• Literature may be understood as a parts of a
system of signs.
• Saussure study language as a synchronic system
rather than a diachronic phenomenon.
• Saussure coined the term langue and parole .
7. Linear Character of the Signal
• The linguistic signal being auditory in nature has
a temporal aspects .
• This occupies a space and is measured in a line.
• The whole mechanism of linguistic structure
depends upon it .
• Auditory signals have at their command only the
linearity of time.
• A spatial line of graphic sign is substituted for a
succession of sounds in time.
8. • The linear nature of the signal is not obvious.
• The syllable and its stress constitute only one
phonetically act .
• There is no duality within this act.
• Ferdinand de Saussure, Cours de Linguistiue
generale (Geneva,1916), ed.Charles Bally and
Albert Secherhaye in collaboration with Albert
Reindlinger; ed. And trans.as course in General
Linguistics by Wade Baskin (London : Peter
Owen, 1959), p.9