Writings in General Linguistics

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Overview


Ferdinand de Saussure's Cours de linguistique générale was posthumously composed by his students from the notes they had made at his lectures. The book became one of the most influential works of the twentieth century, giving direction to modern linguistics and inspiration to literary and cultural theory. Before he died Saussure told friends he was writing up the lectures himself but no evidence of this was found. Eighty years later in 1996 a manuscript in Saussure's hand was discovered in the orangerie of his family house in Geneva. This proved to be the missing original of the great work. It is published now in English for the first time in an edition edited by Simon Bouquet and Rudolf Engler, and translated and introduced by Carol Sanders and Matthew Pires, all leading Saussure scholars. The book includes an earlier discovered manuscript on the philosophy of language, Saussure's own notes for lectures, and a comprehensive bibliography of major work on Saussure from 1970 to 2004.

It is remarkable that for eighty years the understanding of Saussure's thought has depended on an incomplete and non-definitive text, the sometimes aphoristic formulations of which gave rise to many creative interpretations and arguments for and against Saussure. Did he, or did he not, see language as a-social and a-historical? Did he, or did he not, rule out the study of speech within linguistics? Was he a reductionist? These disputes and many others can now be resolved on the basis of the work now published. This reveals new depth and subtetly in Saussure's thoughts on the nature and complex workings of language, particularly his famous binary oppositions between form and meaning, the sign and what is signified, and language (langue) and its performance (parole).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199261444
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was professor at the University of Geneva (1901-13). Mémoire sur le système primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-européennes was published in 1879 but his Cours de linguistique générale was posthumously compiled from his students' lecture notes and did not appear until 1916. "It became," wrote Giulio Lepschy, "arguably the most influential work of linguistics of the twentieth century, and can be considered the foundation stone of structuralism."

Simon Bouquet is President of the Institut Ferdinand de Saussure in Switzerland. He is a researcher at the University of Berne and lectures at the University of Paris. He has made the manuscript texts of Saussure better known through critical editions: his and Rudolph Engler's edition of the Écrits de linguistique générale is frequently referred to in this volume.

Rudolf Engler (1930-2003) taught for many years at the University of Berne. He wrote prolifically on Saussure, making frequent contributions to the Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure. He is known for his comparative critical edition of the student notes for Saussure's lectures on general linguistics and for co-editing the Écrits de linguistique générale with Simon Bouquet.

Translators

Carol Sanders is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Surrey. She was the founding president of the Association for French Language Studies and has lectured in French at universities in Great Britain, Australia, and the West Indies. She is the editor of The French Language Today (1993), and the Cambridge Companion to Saussure (2004) both published by Cambridge University Press.

Matthew Pires is Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Franche-Comté, and a visiting lecturer at the University of London Institute in Paris. In addition to his work on Saussure, his research concerns sociolinguistic approaches to onomastics and address forms in writing.

Peter Figueroa studied philosophy in Italy, Belgium and France before doing a doctorate in sociology at the LSE. He was a Research Officer in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Oxford and has lectured at the Australian National University, the University of Southampton, and at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

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Table of Contents

Introduction, Carol Sanders
Preface, Simon Bouquet and Rudolf Engler
Part I On the Dual Essence of Language
Part II Miscellany and Aphorisms
Part III Other Writings in General Linguistics
Part IV Preparatory Notes for the Course in General Linguistics
Bibliography of Writings on Saussure, Matthew Pires and Carol Sanders
Index

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