Now you can view this blog on your mobile phones! Give a try.

Friday, January 07, 2011


13th December 2010

Main concepts:
1.       Signifier and Signified
2.       Sign
3.       Signifying system
4.       Sign is arbitrary
5.       Diachronic, synchronic
6.       Langue, Parole
7.       Time
8.       Value, Difference

The relation between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary.
Diachronic means across time. Studies how language was and has evolved across the centuries.
Synchronic: studies language of the present. Not interested in studying how it used to be and how it should be, but how it is at this given point of time.
1.       Surface Structure  or Parole
2.       Deep Structure or Langue               

Noam Chomsky
When a child learns a language, it does not learn the surface structure but the deep structure and hence produces words that it has never heard or learnt before.
Saussure called the surface structure as “Parole” and the deep structure as “Langue”.
Chomsky said that every language has a deep structure, but not the same deep structure.

Saussure did not use the word semiotics but the word Semiology.
Semiotics-Charles Sanders Pierce. Saussure and Pierce worked around the same time on similar concepts but they did not know each other.
A signifier is always expressed in time. Only one word is written at a time.

Thoughts and Language:
You have access to thoughts through language and your thoughts are structured in language.
There is no thought beyond language.
HEGEL-gave the concept of dialectic (for more information on this topic: )
Each history has a spirit of its time and one cannot view it beyond its spirit.

Naming process- calling the object into your world.
The origin of the word in not important to structuralits.
Deleuze- Psychoanalyst, Zizek believed that the origin of a word was perpetually not to be answered.
Only fundamentalists go back to origins.
Origin-no point in arguing how or why it exists. The fact is that it exists.
Language does not require humans to exist. It is independent but it cannot exist despite us. We cannot explain why certain languages are spoken in two completely unrelated places.
“Language of the Gods” (book by B. John Zavrel) maps the history of Sanskrit.
 3rd and 4th century- Sanskrit spread to the west without any conquests or trade. Language requires only one person to exist.

18th December 2010
One signifier in the system has value because it is not any of the other signifiers in the system.
Language cannot have synonyms because each word has a different value.
E.g: ” bachelor” is different from “unmarried man”
Performance studies- speech act. Study speech as an act.

20th December 2010
1.       Syntagm
2.       Paradigm/ associative.
“Student”= one who studies. No flexibility.
Meaning = value and difference.

A word gets its meaning because of the relationship between syntagm and paradigm in a science system.
Horizontal or Syntagmatic relations- One cannot replace the other. E.g: MENU: Starters, Main course, Desserts- starters cannot be replaced by desserts.
Vertical or Associative relations-  One can be replaced by the other. E.g: MENU: Starters>Soup, momos, fries etc;

No comments: