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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Literary Theory Class 3- III PSEng

The following note is by Adarsh. Thanks Adarsh.

Names dropped : Saussure, Barthes, Claude Levi-strauss

Concepts dropped : Philology, Diachronic and Synchronic Studies, Language as a sign system; Signifier and Signified (1st Order System)

Points :

1. 'A course in general linguistics' - Ferdinand de Saussure. 1916. Compilation of notes made by his students. The book proved to be the turning point in semiotics.
2. Philology is the study of historical development of language.
3. Diachronic studies study language with history in mind, while Synchronic studies study language at a particular point in time. Saussure was a believer of the Synchronic model.
4. He put forward two propositions :
a. Language is a sign system.
b. Language is arbitrary.
5. A sign is the coming together of the 'signifier' and the 'signified'.
The signifier is word itself while the signifies is the suggestive meaning it creates. This was called the 'First order system'
Barthes Pushed the First order system into the level of visuals, thus making the relation between the signifier and the signified arbitrary.
This led to the loss of sacredness of the language.
Barthes later, in 1954, revised this to say that a it is possible to have a definite meaning which is called a myth. This was thus known as the 'Second order system.'

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