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"meaning" Re: [xmca] Vygotsky and Saussure Again

On Mon, 23 Nov 2009, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

Hi David, Saussure never has written about 'meaning', and the problem with many translations into English is precisely the shift that occurs when Saussurean (Derrida, any one else writing not in English) is translated into the word 'meaning', when in fact there is no such word in other languages, and when the semantic relations that subtend the words such as Bedeutung or Sinn, or sens and signification are rendered as 'meaning'.

Bakhtin read Saussure, but not in English.

Moreover, what people do not seem to understand about the Saussurean approach to the sign is that it is a relation, between a signifié and signifiant. The signifiant is not 'meaning', because sens and signification are also translated as meaning.

I don't know about Russian, and whether it cuts up the world in ways that there is a useful equivalent.


Strangely, what I think is the most used as an authoritative translation of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, with facing pages in German and English--in a book where such matters should be handled meticulously--"meaning" is used indifferently for Sinn, Bedeutung, and even Meinung.

As for Derrida, one of his locutions that gets translated as "meaning" is "vouloir-dire." "Meaning" might work for "vouloir-dire" in some contexts (in a novel, maybe); but they are not equivalents when the "meaning" of "meaning" is at issue.
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