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Sunday, July 18, 2010

V Semester Literary theory class notes 5: Syntagm and paradigm

28 June 2010
Syntagm and paradigm
Syn- in Greek means together
Syntagm is in any sign system (language), sign system can be language, cricket match,

All sign systems have their syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships.
Because in any language or sign system the key word is relationships and minus that there is no language. Each sign makes means something in relation with another sign in a system, outside which it makes no sense.
Syntagmatic relationships  
·      Are horizontal relationships
·      Occur together
·      Are irreducible
·      Mutually exclusive

For example,
A dog ate a cat
You can mutually replace dog with cat. You cannot replace A with dog or vice versa, but they are put together.
Therefore they occur together but are irreducible. It will no more make sense. They are syntagmatic.

A dog ate a cat.
The dog ate a cat.
Some dog ate a cat.

Look at this relationship. A, The and some are replaceable, the sentence is still meaningful. They are mutually
inclusive. Remember the story of Oedipus Rex, the story can be read across or up-down.
Or take the example of stories ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’, there is a princess, stepmother, prince. And there can be
seen a syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationship among them.

This can be found in a lot of other places. For example go to a hotel and ask for the menu. It will be something like

Main course
·      Mutton
1.     Mutton biryani
2.     Mutton curry
·      Chicken
·      Bread
·      Rice

So now here we see that the order of starters main course and dessert is a syntagmatic relationship. You cannot replace one with the other. You do not have dessert first and then the main course, at least normally we don’t.
But among starters you can have anything in any order. This is known as the paradigmatic relationship.

Now the point here is that, this, what we have applied in food can be applied to anything.
This kind of paradigmatic structure, and syntagmatic structure can also be seen in different cultures, organizations, even in clothing patterns. 

Pinto, Anil. Class lecture. Introduction to Literary Theory. Christ University. Bangalore, India. 28 June 2010. Lecture.


akkill said...

Sir, what if you put 'human thought' as the centre in Derrida's circle? Human thought can be defined...

Anil Pinto said...

Can you elaborate on your question akkill?

akkill said...

It's like,Human thought can be defined as the reflection of the material world formed with the aid of the sensory organs,a superior brain structure and language.

akkill said...