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Saussure's
Course du Logique Generale (circ. 1915)

edited by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye

  • [I am reading this after reading the First Course... notebook, so I'm searching primarily for difference.]
  • History of Linguistics:
    • First came the study of Grammar, initiated by greeks, continued by french mostly under the aegis of logic
    • Friedrich August wolf initiated study of "philology" in 1777.  Linguistic study was concerned with stylistic concerns, say, between auothors, or periods of work, etc.
    • "Comparitive Philology" is the study of linguages compared to one another;  Franz Bopp in Uber das Conjugationsystem der Sanskritsprache Compares Sanskrit with German, Greek, Latin, etc.  And shows that all belong to the same family (!) W. Jones pointed this out earlier, but let it drop.
  • "Scope of Linguistics should be:
    1. to describe and trace the history of all observable languages, which amounts to tracing the history of families of languages and reconstructing as far as possible the mother language of each family;
    2. to determine the forces that are permanently and universally at work in all languages, and to deduce the general laws to which all specific historical phenomena can be reduced; and
    3. to delimit and define itself" (6)
  • "But what is language [langue]?  It is not to be confused with human speech [langage], of which it is only a definite part, though certainly an essential one." (9)
  • "Language is not a function of the speakerl it is a product that is passively assimilated by the individual.  It never requires premediation, and reflection enters in only for the purpose of classification... Speaking on the contrary, is an individual act, we should distinguish between: 1) the combinations by which the speaker uses the language code for expressing his own thought; and the psychophysical mechanism that allows him to exteriorize those combinations." (14)
  • "Whereas speech is heterogeneous, language, as defined, is homogenous.  It is a system of signs in which the only essential thing is the union of meanings and sound-images, and in which both parts of the sign are psychological." (15)
  • "A science that studies the life of signs within society is conceivable; it would be part of social psychology and consequently of general psychology; I shall call it semiology (from the Greek Semeion=sign).  Semiology would show what constitutes signs, what laws govern them." (16)
  • [thus far, this version harps on the term "sign" a hell of a lot more than the lecture notes]
  • external linguistics involves "ethnology" or the linking of the history of languages to the history of races and civilizations; language and political history; language and institutions; language and geography.  VS. language studied in-itself, of course...
  • "Language and writing are two distinct systems of signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first.  The linguistic object is not both the written and the spoken forms of words; the spoken forms alone constitute the object.
  • [much better explication of the Saussurian phonetic alphabet from 26-29. I would copy the table, but I'd have to create symbols, and I'm not that bored]
  • <32> phonology
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