Course du Logique Generale (circ. 1915)
edited by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye
"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
"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]
- 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;
- 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
- to delimit and define itself" (6)