Language and the origin of semiosis

Allott, Robin (1994) Language and the origin of semiosis. [Book Chapter]

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Language is the type of semiosis which has been most closely examined and which has served as a model for considering other forms of semiosis. Semiotics has been based, certainly in the case of language, very much on the proposition of Saussure that the sign is arbitrary - a questionable idea (Holdcroft 1991) - and that the sign is conventional or social. If this fundamental idea of semiotics, and linguistics, is discarded, what does this do for semiotics, the 'science' of signs ? This paper seeks to trace out the implications for semiotics of a very different account from Saussure's of the origin, development and functioning of language, leaving it open whether one should conclude, in the light of this, that language does not constitute a paradigm or model for a general science of semiotics (and is not a typical or useful example of a semiotic system) or that language should be treated as the paradigm but a totally changed paradigm, so that the new view of language will require a restructuring of semiotics and lead to a much more biological and indeed neurological approach to the science of signs.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:semiotics, language, Peirce, Saussure, Barthes, motor theory,perception, sign systems
Subjects:Linguistics > Semantics
ID Code:3113
Deposited By: Allott, R M
Deposited On:16 Aug 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

References in Article

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Allott, Robin 1989 The Motor Theory of Language Origin. Lewes: Book Guild.

Holdcroft, David 1991 Saussure: Signs, System and Arbitrariness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Koch, Walter A. (ed.) 1989 Culture and Semiotics. Bochum: Brockmeyer.

Kristeva, Julia 1969 Semeiotike: Recherches pour une sémanalyse. Paris: Seuil.

Locke, John 1706 [1972] An essay concerning human understanding. (5th edition.) [1972] 2 vols. London: Dent

Morris, Charles 1946 Signs, Language and Behavior. New York: Prentice-Hall.

Peirce, Charles S. 1931-1958 Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. 8 vols. Eds. Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss and Arthur W. Burks. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Peirce, Charles S. 1982 Writings. Vol. I (1857-1865). Ed. Max H. Fisch et al. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Pinxten, Rik 1989 "Culture and Semiotics", in: Walter A. Koch (ed.), 34-35.

Saussure, Ferdinand de. 1916 [1966] Course in General Linguistics. [Trans. Wade Baskin.] New York: McGraw-Hill.


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