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Saussure : signs, system, and arbitrariness

Author: David Holdcroft
Publisher: Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Series: Modern European philosophy.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) has exerted a profound influence not only on twentieth century linguistics but on a whole range of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. His central thesis was that the primary object in studying a language is the state of that language at a particular time--a so-called synchronic study. He went on to claim that a language state is a socially  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Holdcroft, David.
Saussure.
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991
(OCoLC)645721607
Named Person: Ferdinand de Saussure; Ferdinand de Saussure; Ferdinand de Saussure
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: David Holdcroft
ISBN: 0521326184 9780521326186 0521339189 9780521339186
OCLC Number: 22451463
Description: x, 180 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Contents: Saussure's work: its context and significance --
The distinction between langue and parole --
Language as a system of signs, I: signs, arbitrariness, linearity, and change --
Language as a system of signs, II: diachronic and synchronic linguistics --
Language as a system of signs, III: identities, system, and relations --
Language as a system of signs, IV: values, differences, and reality --
Successes and failures.
Series Title: Modern European philosophy.
Responsibility: David Holdcroft.
More information:

Abstract:

The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) has exerted a profound influence not only on twentieth century linguistics but on a whole range of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. His central thesis was that the primary object in studying a language is the state of that language at a particular time--a so-called synchronic study. He went on to claim that a language state is a socially constituted system of signs that are quite arbitrary and that can only be defined in terms of their relationship within the system. This new perspective has changed the way people think about linguistics and has led to important attempts to apply structuralist ideas in anthropology, literary criticism, and philosophy. Professor Holdcroft's book expounds and elaborates Saussure's central ideas. It also offers a critical assessment of them, arguing that many of Saussure's claims are either questionable or have been misunderstood. The book will be read with profit by nonspecialists and could be used as a textbook by students of linguistics, philosophy of language, literary criticism and anthropology. -- Publisher description.

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