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Columbia School and Saussure’s langue

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Abstract

This paper argues that William Diver’s signal-meaning pair is Saussure’s <i>signe linguistique </i>in all basic respects, and that Diver’s innovation of a grammatical system is the functional equivalent of Saussure’s <i>langue</i>. Thus Columbia School linguistics rests squarely on a Saussurean foundation. In the course of making this case, this paper proposes a resolution of the apparent contradiction between Saussure’s definition of the linguistic sign in terms of substance – the union of concept and acoustic image – and his dictum that “<i>la langue </i>is a form not a substance”.

References

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