2 In separating language (langue) from speaking (parole) we are at the same time separating: (1) what is social from what is individual; and (2) what is essential from what is accessory and more or less accidental.It [langue] is the social side of speech, outside the individual who can never create nor modify it by himself; it exists only by virtue of a sort of contract signed by the members of a community.Ferdinand de SaussureCourse in General LinguisticsTr. by W. Baskin. New York: McGraw-Hill Page 14.
3 “[Language] is a set of signs fixed by agreement between the members of that society; these signs evoke ideas, but in that respectit's rather like rituals, for instance.Nearly all institutions, it might be said, are based on signs, but thesesigns do not directly evoke things A language must thus be classedamong semiological institutions Writing is likewise a vastsystem of signs. Any psychology of sign systems will be part of socialpsychology - that is to say, will be exclusively social; it will involvethe same psychology as is applicable in the case of languages.”Saussure
4 A specific performance vs. the rules or grammar WordLanguageLiteratureSignified, a conceptLangue, a set of grammatical rulesCodes, eg., genre, structure, rolesSignifier, a wordParole, a person’s utteranceText, a specific poem, novel, or other text
5 Saussure emphasized that meaning arises from the differences between signifiers; these differences are of two kinds: syntagmatic(concerning positioning) and paradigmatic (concerning substitution).Saussure called the latter associative relations.Semiotics for BeginnersDaniel Chandler
6 These two dimensions are often presented as 'axes', where the horizontal axis is the syntagmatic and thevertical axis is the paradigmatic. The plane of thesyntagm is that of the combination of'this-and-this-and-this' (as in the sentence, 'the man cried')whilst the plane of the paradigm is that of the selection of'this-or-this-or-this' (e.g. the replacement of the last wordin the same sentence with 'died' or 'sang'). Whilst syntagmaticrelations are possibilities of combination, paradigmatic relationsare functional contrasts - they involve differentiation.Chandler
7 According to Ferdinand de Saussure, “the binary opposition is the ‘means by which the units of language have value or meaning;each unit is defined against what it is not.’ Essentially, the conceptof the binary opposition is engendered by the Western propensity toorganize everything into a hierarchical structure; terms and conceptsare related to positives or negatives, with no apparent latitude fordeviation: i.e. Man/Woman, Black/White, Life/Death, Inside/Outside,Presence/Absence, and so on. Thus, the binary opposition is fundamentallya structurally derived notion which acknowledges the human inclination tothink antagonistically. Significantly, the primary elements of binaryoppositions are delineated by what they proscribe: for example, Blackexcludes White, Man excludes Woman, and as long as these divisionsare sustained, then the entire hierarchical structure can operate agreeably.”Fogarty, Sorcha. "Binary Oppositions." The Literary Encyclopedia. 15 February [http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=122, accessed 24 January 2009.]
8 Claude Lévi-Strauss on Myths Myth is an allegory intended to account for the origin of human institutions, yet, according to Lévi-Strauss, behind the allegorical myth lies profound abstract thought.[B]eyond the strangeness, the myth's different versions intertwine to form a single system based on a common structure, for beyond the surface level, myth contains, at the deep level, a conflict between polarized values, and the myth story is supposed to reconcile the conflict.Lévi-Strauss holds that the structure consisting of a pair of dialectic notions is universal and timeless. It lies in our consciousness, through which it is projected onto an array of texts–myths that describe and explain the world; it is a universal structure which Lévi-Strauss calls a "binary structure.”Dr. Ouzi Elyada, University of Haifa, “The Raw and the Cooked: Claude Lévi-Strauss and the Hidden Structures of Myth”
9 Story and Discourse“ the theory of narrative requires a distinction between what Ishall call ‘story’--a sequence of actions or events, conceived asindependent of their manifestation in discourse--and what I shallcall ‘discourse,’ the discursive presentation or narration of events,”(169-70).“In Russian Formalism this is the distinction between fabulaand sjuzhet: the story as a series of events and the story asreported in the narrative” (170).Culler, Jonathan. The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature,Deconstruction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1981.
10 Vladimir Propp, fairytale character roles VillainDonor, providerHelperPrincessDispatcherHeroFalse Hero
11 Ivan M Tordorov’s Structure of the Fantastic A state of equilibrium and plenitude existsThis is challenged by the arrival of an opposing forceThis creates a situation of disruption and disequilibriumA unifying and equalizing force arisesA quest takes placeThe opposing and equalizing force meetDisequilibrium continues as battle is joinedA new equilibrium and state of plenitude is achieved following the victory of the equalizing force.
12 “. . . the narrative of the fantastic is not the only one to emphasize the work’s time of perception: the detective story is even more emphatic in this regard. Since there is a truth to be discovered, we shall be confronted with a strict chain or series, no one link of which can be shifted; for this very reason we do not reread detective novels.”The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary GenreBy Tzvetan Todorov, Richard Howard, Robert ScholesTranslated by Richard Howard, Robert ScholesContributor Richard Howard, Robert ScholesEdition: 5Published by Cornell University Press, 1975Page 90
13 Whereas Propp had extrapolated his thirty-one function sequence from the linear order of events recounted in his100 fairy tale corpus, Levi-Strauss sought to discover whathe felt was the underlying paradigm (of oppositions).Levi-Strauss did recognize the "order" of events as presentedin narrative as told, but he elected to ignore that "order.”In The Naked Man, the final volume of the four-volumeMythologiques, in a chapter entitled "Binary Operators,"[Levi-Strauss] has this to say of "mythemes," his neologismintended to refer to basic units of myth: "Of course, all mythemesof whatever kind, must, generally speaking, lend themselves tobinary operations, since such operations are an inherent feature ofthe means invented by nature to make possible the functioning oflanguage and thought.”Binary opposition in myth: The Propp/Levi-Strauss debate in retrospectWestern Folklore, Winter by Alan Dundes
14 Robert Scholes on literariness: based on duplicities Duplicity of sender--role playing, actingDuplicity of receiver--eavesdropping, voyeurismDuplicty of message--opacity, ambiguityDuplicity of context--allusion, fictionDuplicity of contact--translation, fictionDuplicty of code--inovlved in all of the above (31)Scholes, Robert. Semiotics and Interpretation. New Haven:Yale UP, 1982.
15 The terminology [for isolating literariness] I wish to offer is based on three related binary oppositions : absent versuspresent, semiotic versus phenomenal, and abstract versusconcrete. Scholes 25Unliterary contexts consist of both speaker and hearer beingco-present, of the reference being phenomenal (to observablereality around them), and of the language being abstract (without accumulated detail).Literary contexts consist of the writer being absent, the reference being semiotic (to something that must be imagined by the reader--fictional--rather than observed), and the language being concrete (it fills in the fictional world with detail).
16 The more an essay alludes or fictionalizes, the more the author adopts a role or suggestsone for the reader, the more the languagebecomes sonorous or figured, the more literarythe essay (or the letter, the prayer, thespeech, etc.) becomes.Scholes 34
17 As semiotic interpreters we are not free to make meaning, but we are free to find it by following thevarious semantic, and pragmatic paths that lead awayfrom the words of the text.Scholes 30