RHETOR 103B Chapter 4: R103B Reading 2.2.2017

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8 Feb 2017

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Reading for 2/2/2017
Course in General Linguistics CHAPTER 2
Ferdinand de Saussure
Chapter 1
- Aim of general synchronic linguistics is to set up the fundamental principles of
any idiosyncronic system, the constituents of any language state
- To synchrony belongs everything called “general grammar”
- Study of static linguistics more difficult than study of historical linguistics
- Linguistics that penetrates values and conexisting relations presents
greater difficulties
- Language state is not a point, but a span of time during which the sum of
the modifications that have supervened is minimal
- Absolute state defined by absence of changes; since language changes
somewhat in spite of everything, studying a language state means
disregarding change of little importance
- Concrete entities of language
- Linguistic entity exists only through the associating of the signifier with the
- Linguistic entity is not accurately defined until it is delimited
- Sum: language does not offer itself as a set of pre-delimited signs that
need only be studied according to their meaning and arrangement -
confused mass and only attentiveness and familiarization reveals its
particular elements
- Method of delimitation
- Difficulties of delimitation
- Concrete unit must be sought, not in the word but elsewhere
- A widely held theory makes sentences the concrete units of language
- Conclusion: in most sciences the question of units never even arises, the units
are delimited from the outset
- Language characterized as a system based entirely on the opposition of its
concrete units
Chapter 3
- What is a synchronic identity?
- Linguistic mechanism is geared to differences, everywhere then the
problem of identities appear and blends with the problem of entities and
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