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Journal Articles Semiotica Year : 2022

Semiology: in the light of Saussure’ words


Abstract What does Saussure really mean by “semiology”? This is the question we try to answer in this text. In fact, reading his writings and notes, we realize that Saussure uses the term “semiology” in different contexts and with different meanings. So the notion of “semiology” issued from his works is more complex than it seems because it undergoes several transformations throughout the development of Saussurian thought. The term “semiology” never appears in the texts published during in his lifetime, but we find several mentions of this notion in the manuscript sources that make up the Saussurian corpus. While this term appears first during the period between 1881 and 1891, especially in all the documents known under the title of Phonétique (1881–1885), in the Gothic lessons (1885–1886), and in the manuscript “De l’essence double du langage” (1891), the notion of “semiology” is presented to the public in the Cours de linguistique générale with a very precise meaning that has been taken up in Adrien Naville’s Nouvelle Classification des sciences (1901). Then, after the publication of a large part of Saussure’s autograph writings, Ecrits de linguistique générale (2002), we can return to this notion not only to trace its genesis, but also to better understand its complexity. And this is what we propose to do in this article.


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hal-04226708 , version 1 (03-10-2023)



Rossana De Angelis. Semiology: in the light of Saussure’ words. Semiotica, 2022, 244, pp.131-144. ⟨10.1515/sem-2019-0051⟩. ⟨hal-04226708⟩


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