The structuralist position on linguistic communication by Ferdinand de Saussure, and the deconstructuralist constructs of Jacques Derrida are frequently deemed as opposing theories. It is true that these constructs have many different thoughts on how linguistic communication should be approached and studied and in some cases over what the term ‘language ‘ even means. There are nevertheless many cases where the two can be understood. It is for this ground that this essay will look at Saussure ‘s cardinal thoughts and how they have both influenced Derrida ‘s and sparked a re-reading and alteration of traditional structural linguistics, instead than rebuting it all together. It will besides look at the fact that reading these thoughts together can be extremely advantageous when using it to the survey of literature.
Before structural linguistics, linguistics had been chiefly focused on the historical development of linguistic communications ; how they have altered through clip and how languages relate to each other.[ 1 ]This position posed a cardinal weakness for Saussure due to the nature of linguistic communication which makes it extremely hard to analyze compared to most other subjects ; which frequently have a chiseled, if non partially concrete, capable affair. Harmonizing to Saussure, generalizations about linguistic communication in the stuff sense are all excessively easy made and this wholly misses the point of the lingual phenomenon.[ 2 ]Language is heterogenous, intending it has many variables and other scientific disciplines outside the kingdom of linguistic communication, such as psychological science, that are closely linked to it. This creates dichotomies and means that it is fluid as a construct unless, Saussure argues, the differences between ‘linguistic construction ‘ and ‘languages ‘ are made. In his Course on General Linguistics,[ 3 ]Saussure coins these different facets as ‘langue ‘ and ‘parole ‘ . The latter refers to speech ( and composing ) as linguistic communication in a specific action. ( Saussure does non separate any difference between address and authorship as ‘the 2nd exists for the exclusive intent of stand foring the first ‘ ;[ 4 ]a cardinal characteristic differentiation between structural linguistics and deconstruction ; which will be discussed subsequently ) . ‘Langue ‘ refers to the system of conventions which pre-exists, single users.[ 5 ]Because it can be understood in a system it is more homogeneous, as it is possible to insulate and understand it synchronically ; that is the thought that all regulations and variables can be examined at any one point in clip. This leads structural linguistics to disregard the beginning of linguistic communication as it is focussed on how the linguistic communication exists in the present. It is this that Saussure topographic points above all other facets of linguistic communication in his surveies, due to the fact that it ‘introduce [ s ] a natural orderaˆ¦which lends itself no other categorization. ‘[ 6 ]
This synchronous system is made up of ‘signs that express thoughts ‘ .[ 7 ]Signs, harmonizing to this semiotics, are made up of a ‘double entity ‘[ 8 ]of the form, which is the sound image of a word psychologically imprinted in a talker ‘s head, and secondly of the signified which is the construct that is attached to this sound image. The relationship between these two entities is both complex and self-contradictory due to the fact that linguistic communication is non a terminology, it creates its ain classs ; forms do non simply name their signified world but build them, naming and re-calling into being a ‘more definite form to uniform idea ‘ .[ 9 ]Saussure says no thoughts can pre-exist linguistic communication as it is linguistic communication that givesA form to thoughts and makes them expressible. In other words, ideas can non be without linguistic communication.
The connexion between form and signified is besides arbitrary, which is why Saussure argues that there are non straight tantamount words for the same constructs in different linguistic communications. Critics have used the illustration of onomatopoeia to seek and reason that there is possibly a nexus between words and significances, nevertheless there are little differences. For illustration the English “ woof-woof ” finds its nearest equivalent in French as “ ouaf-ouaf ” .[ 10 ]An illustration of this flightiness in literature can be seen in Lewis Carroll ‘s, Jabberwocky,[ 11 ]as he to the full exploits the thought of arbitrary form and signified in order to guarantee the bunk footings in his verse form have significance to the reader. Readers will attach value to Carroll ‘s invented words, such as ‘frumious ‘ and ‘frabjous ‘ , by comparing them to footings that they already recognise in the constituted system of linguistic communication ; slotting them into topographic point as constructs by how they differ from words like ‘furious ‘ and ‘fabulous ‘ .
Harmonizing to Saussure, finding how footings differ from each other is how all values and significances of marks are founded and understood. Language is mutualist and no word can be in isolation and ‘are defined non positively, in footings of their content, but negatively by contrast with other points in the same system. What characterizes each most precisely is being whatever the others are non ‘ .[ 12 ]Aboard this Saussure dictates that there are merely two different ways of associating linguistic communication footings in to detect their value ; the first, syntagmatic, is the association of words in a additive sequence, such as the association with the word ‘Happy ‘ with ‘Birthday ‘ or the acknowledgment of the demand for word order for a sentence to do lexical and grammatical sense.[ 13 ]The 2nd is paradigmatic relation, which is the grouping of similar words such as equivalent word or rhyming words, etc. Through this Saussure argues that value and significance, whilst arbitrary, can be found every bit long as the translator remains synchronous in their apprehension.
Interpretation of literature from a structuralist point of position therefore is based on the thought of the texts present construction, subject and regulations and critics argue that with structuralist analysis the translator is provided with a methodological analysis of how to read a text.[ 14 ]By sing literature as a theoretical account the codifications and conventions of texts both singularly and within intertextuality can be easy identified, giving rise to the ability to construe construction, significance, genre, character development etc. Not merely this, it allows a model within which readings can be made rationally without the influence of such variables as authorial/reader purpose or social/historical context. By insulating linguistic communication and composing synchronically avoids the complication of the beginning of the linguistic communication and allows for close reading.
Harmonizing to Derrida, ‘the presence of an component is ever a signifying and substitutive mention inscribed in a system of differences and the motion of a concatenation ‘ ; which upon superficial review seems to agree with the ideas of Saussure. However he argues that Saussure ‘s theory that linguistic communication should be viewed as a synchronous system is flawed and full of ‘spaces ‘ which he so attempts to make full. By puting the survey of linguistic communication into a system and thereby giving intending a fixed Centre or presence ‘limits [ s ] aˆ¦ theA freeplayA of the construction ‘[ 15 ]and this has a self-contradictory affect ; if this Centre of the synchronous construction of linguistic communication, which has hence constructed the construction around it, it is at the same time alone from the construction and hence outside its confines. This would so contradictorily suggest that the Centre is non the Centre. Presence of intending can non be found to be present as it would be invariably substituted. Examples of this can be seen in the history of philosophical idea which is represented in literary thought with the replacing of God at the Centre of the system of the existence during the Renaissance with the ideas of adult male as being the Centre. By common rule, the same happens at the Centre of the lingual construction as the evident cardinal signified, or the nonnatural signified, is ne’er perfectly present outside a system of differences.[ 16 ]
This is a motion ofA Differance ; a term created by Derrida in his essay[ 17 ]of the same name which refers to the self-contradictory nature of the thought that the significance of marks are merely found through differences with other marks. Derrida believes that while these marks differ from each other in making so they defer their significances further into the hereafter through a changeless concatenation of marks. An illustration of this in action is the thought that when a word is looked up in a dictionary more footings are given in order to specify this word. In order to understand this significance wholly, harmonizing to Saussurian theory, all the words in the definition would in bend have to be defined, making an infinite circle. This is what Derrida refers to as ‘spacing ‘ in the lingual system. The presence of the initial mark is invariably postponing its ain presence onto a concatenation of marks past, present and future. This interval displaces presentation and remains definitively and ‘implacably postponed, it is non that a certain nowadays remains absent or concealed ‘ .[ 18 ]The concrete system that Saussure was so certain of is get downing to deconstruct under Derrida ‘s examination.
This deconstruction of the lingual construction is continued in Derrida ‘s essay, Of Grammatology.[ 19 ]Derrida argues that Saussure ‘s logocentrism is one of his greatest weaknesss and limits his thought of the being of a synchronous system and means that ‘the built-in and concrete object of linguistics ‘[ 20 ]is wholly missed. Saussure states that the ground he leaves out authorship is because it simply ‘exists for the exclusive intent of stand foring [ linguistic communication ] ‘[ 21 ]and does non suit into the synchronous analysis as it is excessively heterogenous and would affect the inclusion of context which he has so far excluded. But for Derrida historical analysis is merely every bit, if non more so, of import as, ‘il n’ya pas de hors-texte ‘ .[ 22 ]Context is everything, as the usage and significance of words, both in speech production and in authorship, will be affected by the variables around the user as the percipient ‘s mental province is in a changeless province of flux. This he argues means that no one theory can be applied every bit cosmopolitan as it can non embrace the full web of linguistic communication. He suggests that the theory of composing can counter logocentric repression and release semiotics from the trouble of being both its ain Centre and its telos.[ 23 ]It will assist the percipient to understand this web of linguistic communication and hunt for the world of llinguistics at any one point in clip. Here is where the existent significance of marks can be found harmonizing to Derrida.
Deconstructive literary analysis therefore is chiefly concerned with happening the significance of a text by exposing where it counters the thoughts that are expected of a text of that type. Through uncovering these supposed contradictions and resistances theoretically show that its significance is complex, unstable, or impossible. This lends itself to the thought that any text can hold more than one reading and therefore that an interpretive reading such as structural linguistics can non travel beyond a certain point. Derrida places a batch of focal point on the reader holding authorization over reading as no 1 reading will of all time be the same as another, which runs closely alongside reader-response unfavorable judgment. However this response leaves many inquiries unanswerable due to the fact that arguably the true context of literature can ne’er be found. It is extremely philosophical and based on thoughts instead than construction or guidelines.
Jaques Derrida argues that Saussure ‘s theory of there being a definite construction and that the significance of marks is concrete is an out-dated theory. What he does to battle this is to raise inquiries that go beyond structural linguistics ‘s concerns, spread outing them and let go ofing them from their ain restrictive nature. There is more focal point on the philosophical nature of linguistic communication, paying peculiar attending to context in the survey of linguistics including all countries of linguistic communication particularly composing. He does non rebut Saussure ‘s thoughts all together. In fact he supports the thought of a system but seeks to utilize it as a vas in order to detect the concealed significance of footings. Through the usage of these theories in tandem a reader can understand more to the full the nature and arguably happen deeper significance behind the marks. The extent to which these theories could stand on their ain nevertheless I would reason is debateable as structural linguistics relies on the exclusion of arguable of import factors through near reading, whilst Derrida ‘s deconstructionism can arguably non happen any more significance than the fact that it could be hidden deeper in context.