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НазваLanguage as a System of Signs (реферат)
РозділІноземна мова, реферати англійською, німецькою
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Реферат на тему:


Language as a System of Signs



Meaning as sign


Kramsch C. Language and Culture. –


Oxford University Press, 1998. – pp. 15-23.


Language can mean in two fundamental ways, both of which are intimately

linked to culture: through what it says or what it refers to as an

encoded sign (semantics), and through what it does as an action in

context (pragmatics). We consider in this chapter how language means as

an encoded sign.


The linguistic sign


The crucial feature that distinguishes humans from animals is humans'

capacity to create signs that mediate between them and their

environment. Every meaning-making practice makes use of two elements: a

signifier and a signified. Thus, for example, the sound /rouz/ or the

four letters of the word 'rose' are signifiers for a concept related to

an object in the real world with a thorny stem and many petals. The

signifier (sound or word) in itself is not a sign unless someone

recognizes it as such and relates it to a signified (concept); for

example, for someone who doesn't know English, the sound /rouz/

signifies nothing because it is not a sign, but only a meaningless

sound. A sign is therefore neither the word itself nor the object it

refers to but the relation between the two.


There is nothing necessary about the relation between a given word

as linguistic signifier and a signified object. The word 'rose' can be

related to flowers of various shapes, consistencies, colors, and smells,

it can also refer to a color, or to a smell. Conversely, the object

'rose' can be given meaning by a variety of signifiers: Morning Glory,

Madame Meillon, flower, die Rose, une rose. Because there is nothing

inherent in the nature of a rose that makes the four letters of its

English signifier more plausible than, say, the five letters of the

Greek word ?????, the linguistic sign has been called arbitrary.

Furthermore, because there is no one-to-one correspondence, no perfect

fit between signifier and signified, the dualism of the linguistic sign

has been called asymmetrical.


The meaning of signs


What is the nature of the relation between signifier and signified? In

other words, how do signs mean? When Emily Dickinson*uses in her poem

words like 'rose', or 'rosemary', these words point to (are the

referents of) objects that grow in the real gardens of the real world.

They refer to a definable reality. Their meaning, that can be looked up

in the dictionary, is denotative. On the other hand, the meaning of

'rose' and 'rosemary' is more than just the plants they refer to. It is

linked to the many associations they evoke in the minds of their

readers: a rose might be associated with love, passion, beauty; rosemary

might be associated with the fragrance of summer and the preservation of

dried herbs. Both words draw their meaning from their connotations.


In addition to denotation and connotation, there is a third kind of

meaning that words can entertain with their objects. For, as with all

signifiers, they not only point to, and are associated with, their

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