Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In this article the author elucidates the main aspects of Gustave Guillaume's (1883-1960) linguistic theory and demonstrates that, despite Guillaume's frequent references to the Cours, central portions of his system are quite distinct from Saussure's position. Apart from a number of other differences between the two, there are in particular two important components that receive special treatment, namely, G's attempt at introducing the dynamic aspect into the (synchronic) system of language, and the renunciation of the bilateral concept of the sign (signifié/signifiant) within langue. In an effort to avoid the essentially static conceptions of certain structuralist trends, G regards the content of individual signs as such as not actually existing. In his understanding, on this linguistic level, only a given series of programmes is entitled to be taken as an entity within which individual moneme-signifiers represent merely virtual positions. Whenever needed in actual linguistic expression, these programmes begin ab ovo with each speech-act and may be halted as the case may be by other co-existing and superimposed programmes with different functions. Actualization of these programmes always takes place within a certain minimal, albeit real, time span, the temps opératif. However, the semantic structures thus conceived frequently diverge from the 'semiological' or expression system, and, consequently, its individual constituents (signifiants) are ignored on the level of 'programmes'. In fact, it is only on the threshold between langue and discqurs that these signifiers are related to the contents generated within the framework of a given temps opératif, in order to form a sentence, the basic unit of discours.Taking Saussure's theory as a starting-point, Guillaume's linguistic argument is critically analyzed. In effect, it is shown that G misunderstood S frequently, to the extent that on some occasions it may appear that G knowingly misinterpreted S's doctrine in order to fit its components into his own, at times idiosyncratic, theoretical system.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error