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[Xmca-l] Re: semiotics / language

I'm curious as to why you say l'arbitraire does not apply to the line that
separates (connects?) wording and meaning?

On Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 6:12 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks, Andy. I am a critical fan of both men. Your interpretation of
> Barthes I recognize like an garrulous old friend who likes to give
> outlandish layers of meaning to perfectly normal, commonsense insights:
> semiotics is an overgeneralization of linguistics that is the exclusive
> preserve of well-tenured linguists. Maybe if poor old Roland had simply had
> a formal, set-theoretic way of understanding the relationship he would have
> been paying more attention to iconicity on his way home from the cinema and
> wouldn't have gotten hit by that laundry truck.
> Saussure is a little different. I too have struggled with his crude,
> associative psychology, his war on history, and above all his concept of
> "l'arbitraire". But in my dotage I have made some peace with the latter.
> First of all, it's one of those false friends they warn you about in French
> class;it only means "arbitrary" in English; in French it really just means
> "conventional"; that is, cultural. Secondly, it's just a way of saying that
> a meaning can, in theory, have any sound at all in a given language, and
> this is what makes all languages equal in their meaning potential--so in
> meaning potential all cultures are intellectually equivalent, and Mike's
> problem of whether college professors think like children is solved.
> Thirdly, it it only applies at a single point--the line that separates
> wording from sounding, not the line that separates wording from meaning.
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> On Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 7:59 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> > David, I am no fan of either Barthes nor Saussure, but I interpret this
> > odd claim somewhat like this: Barthes asks you not to see the
> relationship
> > in a formal, set-theoretic way, but rather in terms of activities and how
> > we use and understand them. We come to reflect on Semiotics as beings
> > already imbued with, indeed produced by language; we learn its principles
> > through language and appropriate them as a special activity as linguistic
> > beings. Semiotics is a specialised activity, which some linguists engage
> in.
> >
> > Andy
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > Andy Blunden
> > http://home.mira.net/~andy
> > http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> > On 17/06/2016 8:34 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> >
> >> ...
> >> I can't agree with the Barthesian inversion of Saussure's location of
> >> linguistics as part of semiotics. Semiotics and linguistics both deal
> with
> >> meaning. But semiotics includes types of meaning which are not
> linguistic.
> >> Can you think of any linguistic meaning which is not semiotic? I can't.
> >>
> >> David Kellogg
> >> Macquarie University
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602