By Richard Harland

Relocating on from his past ebook, Superstructuralism , Richard Harland argues that the focal point on unmarried phrases within the structuralist thought of language is its key weak spot and that the following strengthen past post-structuralism depends on exchanging word-based with syntagm-based theories. In a lucid Harland lucidly develops a brand new syntagmatic thought which indicates that the impression of mixing phrases grammatically can remodel the very nature of that means. The broad breadth of assurance within the e-book covers either post-Chomskyan' linguistics and Derrida, and units up an competition to analytic and speech-act theories of language. via providing a scientific critique and counter-proposal, Harland demanding situations the very beginning of modern literary and linguistic concept.

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By way of a fresh example, consider the phrase ‘billion-ton pebble’—a phrase I have seen used to describe Ayer’s Rock in a tourist brochure. In this case, the meaning of ‘billion-ton’ runs clean against our ordinary understanding of the meaning of ‘pebble’. When we synthesize ‘big’ and ‘dog’, we merely cut down on the ordinary range of possible dog-sizes. But here we must do more than merely cut down on the ordinary range of possible weights for pebbles. Here we must jettison the ordinary range altogether, totally disregarding the crucial role of weight in the lexical definition of the word ‘pebble’.

Surely it is a natural enough presumption that the position from which all the parts of the sentence can be seen as falling into place is also the position previously occupied by the utterer? Reaching for a thought to fit exactly over the words, projecting beyond our own subjective past experience, are we not entitled to feel that we are striving to match the original intention of the utterer? Of course, I introduce the word ‘intention’ as a deliberate challenge. Has not Derrida expelled that old spectre once and for all?

It is difficult to see how this kind of multiplicatory development could be explained in terms of boundaries and dividing-lines. It is also difficult to see how this kind of development could be compatible with the Saussurean notion of a closed semantic space. On that notion, one word in langue is able to acquire new meaning only as another word in langue loses it. But surely it is more plausible to think of a word in langue acquiring new meaning by capturing it out of the open semantic space of parole?

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