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Unformatted text preview: THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE CHARLES BALLY ALBERT SECHEHAYE Edited by In and collaboration with ALBERT REIDLINGER Translated from the French by WADE BASKIN PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY New York COPYRIGHT, 1959, BY THE PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY, INC. 15 EAST 40th street, new YORK CITY Printed in the United States of America ^ CONTENTS vi APPENDIX PRINCIPLES OF PHONOLOGY Page Chapter I. Phonological Species 1. 2. 3. Phoneme The Vocal Apparatus and its Functioning Definition of the Classification of 38 ... 41 Sounds According to Their Oral 44 Articulation 11. Phonemes 2. 3. in the Spoken Chain Studying Sounds in the Spoken Chain Implosion and Explosion Different Combinations of Explosions and Im- L Need for Chain Boundary and Vocalic Peak plosions in the 4. Syllabic 49 . 51 54 57 58 .... .... 5. Criticism of Theories of Syllabication 6. Length of Implosion and Explosion Phonemes of Aperture 4; Diphthongs; Questions about Transcription Editor's Note 7. 60 60 62 PART ONE GENERAL PRINCIPLES I. Nature of the Linguistic Sign r"^ 1. 2. III. Principle I: of the Sign 3. 11. Sign, Signified, Signifier Principle the Signifier The Arbitrary Nature II: The Linear Nature of 1 . 70 . Immutability and Mutability of the Sign 1. Immutability 2. Mutability Static and Evolutionary Linguistics 1. Inner Duality of All Sciences Concerned with Values 2. Inner Duality and the History of Linguistics 3. Inner Duality Illustrated by Examples . .... 6 5j \^ . — ^ \ 71 [JUj 79 81 83 CONTENTS vii Page Chapter 4. 5. The Difference between the Two Classes Illustrated by Comparisons The Two Linguistics Contrasted According to Their Methods and Principles Law and Diachronic Law 6. Synchronic 7. 8. There a Panchronic Viewpoint? Consequences of the Confusing of Synchrony and Diachrony 9. 87 90 Conclusions ' . . . . Is 91^ "95 96/ 98 PART TWO SYNCHRONIC LINGUISTICS I. 11. 101 Generalities The Concrete Entities of Language 1. Definition of Entity and Unit 2. Method 3. Practical Difficulties of Delimitation 4. Conclusion of Delimitation III. Identities, Realities, 102 .... 104 105 106 107 Values IV. Linguistic Value 3. Language as Organized Thought Coupled with - ^ rill Sound Linguistic Value from a Conceptual Viewpoint iJu4i Linguistic Value from a Material Viewpoint HZ 4. The Sign Considered 1. 2. . . in Its Totality . .... '>120} "" V. Syntagmatic and Associative Relations Definitions 122 2. Syntagmatic Relations 124 3. Associative Relations 125 1. VI. Mechanism of Language 1. 2. 3. 127 Syntagmatic Solidarities Types of Simultaneous Functioning of the Two Groupings 1^8, Absolute and Relative Arbitrariness \131/ .... , CONTENTS viii Page Chapter VII. Grammar and Its Subdivisions 1. Definitions: Traditional Divisions 2. 134 136 Rational Divisions VIII. Role of Abstract Entities in Grammar 137 PART THREE DIACHRONIC LINGUISTICS I. II. 140 Generalities Phonetic Changes 1. 2. 143 Their Absolute Regularity Conditioned Phonetic Changes 144 on Method 4. Causes of Phonetic Changes 5. The Effect of Phonetic Changes Is Unlimited Grammatical Consequences of Phonetic Evolution 3. . III. 145 Points 147 151 . __ 3. Breaking of the Grammatical Bond Effacement of the Structure of Words There are No Phonetic Doublets 4. Alternation 157 5. Laws 158 6. Alternation and Grammatical 1. 2. .... : ^^J flSi- 155 of Alternation Bond 160 IV. Analogy 1. Definition and Examples 2. Analogical Phenomena Are Not Changes 161 . . . Analogy as a Creative Force in Language V. Analogy and Evolution 1. How an Analogical Innovation Enters Language 2. Analogical Innovations as Symptoms of Changes . . 162 . 165 . 3. 168 in Interpretation Analogy as a Renovating and Conservative Force VI. Folk Etymology 3. 169 171 173 VII. Agglutination 1. Definition 176 2. Agglutination and Analogy 177 CONTENTS ix Page Chapter VIII. Diachronic Units, Identities, and Realities . . . Appendices to Parts Three and Four 1. Subjective and Objective Analysis 2. Subjective Analysis and the Defining of Subunits 3. Etymology 179 173 185 189 PART FOUR GEOGRAPHICAL LINGUISTICS .... 191 .... 195 Concerning the Diversity of Languages Complications of Geographical Diversity 1. Coexistence of Several Languages at the Same I. II. Point 2. Literary Language and Local Idiom Causes of Geographical Diversity Time, the Basic Cause 2. Effect of Time on Continuous Territory 3. Dialects Have No Natural Boundaries 4. Languages Have No Natural Boundaries IV. Spread of Linguistic Waves 1. Intercourse and Provincialism 193 III. 197 1. , . . 199 . . . 201 . . . 203 205 2. The Two Forces Reduced 3. Linguistic Differentiation on Separate Territories to One 207 208 PART FIVE CONCERNING RETROSPECTIVE LINGUISTICS I. 11. III. The Two Perspectives of Diachronic Linguistics The Oldest Language and the Prototype . 212 215 Reconstructions Aim 1. Their Nature and 2. IV. . .... Relative Accuracy of Reconstructions The Contribution of Language .... to Anthropology 218 220 and Prehistory 1. Language and Race 2. Ethnic Unity 222 223 CONTENTS X Page Chapter 3. Linguistic Paleontology 4. Linguistic Type and Mind of the Social V. Language Families and Linguistic Types Index Group . .... 224 227 228 233 TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION Few other figures in the commanded such lasting history of the science of language have and inspired such varied accomphshments as Ferdinand de Saussure. Leonard Bloomfield justly credited the eminent Swiss professor with providing "a theoretic foundation to the newer trend in Unguistics study," and European scholars have seldom failed to consider his views when deaUng with any theoretical problem. But the full implications of his teachings, for both static and evolutionary studies, have still to be elaborated. Saussure succeeded in impressing his individual stamp on respect almost everything within his reach. At the age of twenty, while a student at Leipzig, he published his monumental treatise on the Proto-Indo-European vocalic system. This treatise, though based on theories and facts that were common property in his still day, ment is still recognized as the most inspired and exhaustive treat- of the Proto-Indo-European vocalism. He studied under the neogrammarians Osthoff and Leskien, yet refuted their atomistic approach to linguistics in his attempt to frame a coherent science of linguistics. Despite the paucity of his publications (some 600 pages during his lifetime), Saussure's influence has been far- At Paris, where he taught Sanskrit for ten years (18811891) and served as secretary of the Linguistic Society of Paris, his influence on the development of hnguistics was decisive. His first-hand studies of Phrygian inscriptions and Lithuanian dialects may have been responsible for some of the quahties that subsequently endeared him to his students at the University of Geneva (1906-1911). His unique insight into the phenomenon of language brought to fruition the best of contemporary thinking and long years of patient investigation and penetrating thought. The dominant philosophical system of each age makes its reaching. imprint on each step in the evolution of linguistic science. The nineteenth century had a fragmentary approach to reality which prevented scholars from getting beyond the immediate facts in TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION xu matters of speech. To those investigators, language was simply an inventory or mechanical sum of the units used in speaking. Piecemeal studies precluded the development of an insight into the structure (Gestalteinheit, pattern, or whole) into which the fragmentary facts fit. The atomistic conception of speech, reflected in the historical studies of the give way to the functional comparative philologists, had to and structural conception of language. Saussure was among the first to see that language is a self-contained system whose interdependent parts function and acquire value through their relationship to the whole. By i.e. focusing attention on the distinctly the system 'of his science. Until the publication of his into German and human side of speech, language, Saussure gave unity and direction to Spanish), only those of close association with Saussure work (later translated who enjoyed had access to the privilege his theories. By making available an English translation of his Course, I hope to contribute toward the reaUzation of his goal: the study of language in and for itself. To all those who have given generously of their time and talents in the preparation of this translation, I offer heartfelt thanks: to Gerald Dykstra, Daniel Girard, Lennox Grey, Aileen Kitchin, of Columbia University to Charles Bazell of and Andr^ Martinet ; Istanbul University; to Henri Frei, Robert Godel, and I alone am Geneva Edmond Dwight Bolinger of the University of Southern California; to Rulon Wells of Yale University; and to my good friends Kenneth Jimenez, Paul Swart, and Hugh Whittemore. For the shortcomings of the translation, Sollberger of the University of ; to responsible. Wade Baskin PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION We have often heard Ferdinand de Saussure lament the dearth of and methods that marked linguistics during his developmental period. Throughout his lifetime, he stubbornly continued to search out the laws that would give direction to his thought amid the chaos. Not until 1906, when he took the place of Joseph Wertheimer at the University of Geneva, was he able to make known the ideas that he had nurtured through so many years. Although he taught three courses in general hnguistics in 19061907, 1908-1909, and 1910-1911—his schedule forced him to devote half of each course to the history and description of the IndoEuropean languages, with the result that the basic part of his subject received considerably less attention than it merited. All those who had the privilege of participating in his richly rewarding instruction regretted that no book had resulted from it. After his death, we hoped to find in his manuscripts, obligingly made available to us by Mme. de Saussure, a faithful or at least an adequate outline of his inspiring lectures. At first we thought that we might simply collate F. de Saussure's personal notes and the notes of his students. We were grossly misled. We found nothing or almost nothing that resembled his students' notebooks. As soon as they had served their purpose, F. de Saussure destroyed the rough drafts of the outlines used for his lectures. In the drawers of his secretary we found only older outlines which, principles — — — although certainly not worthless, could not be integrated into the material of the three courses. Our discovery was all the more disappointing since professorial had made it impossible for us to attend F. de Saussure's last lectures and these mark just as brilliant a step in his career as the much earlier one that had witnessed the appearance of his duties — on the vocalic system of Proto-Indo-European. fall back on the notes collected by students during the course of his three series of lectures. Very complete notebooks were placed at our disposal: for the first two courses, by Messrs. treatise We had to — : PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION xiv Louis Caille, Leopold Gautier, Paul Regard, and Albert Riedlinger; — — the most important by Mme. Albert Sechehaye and by Messrs. George D^gallier and Francis Joseph. We are indebted to M. Louis Brtitsch for notes on one special point. All these for the third contributors deserve our sincere thanks. We also wish to express our profound gratitude to M. Jules Ronjat, the eminent Romance scholar, who was kind enough to review the manuscript before and whose suggestions were invaluable. to do with our materials? First, the task of criticism. For each course and for each detail of the course, we had to compare all versions and reconstruct F. de Saussure's thought from faint, sometimes conflicting, hints. For the first two printing, What were we courses we were of the students able to enlist the services of who have M. RiedUnger, one followed the thought of the master with the greatest interest; his work was most valuable. For the third course one of us, A. Sechehaye, performed the same detailed task of collating and synthesizing the material. But after that? Oral delivery, which is often contradictory in form to written exposition, posed the greatest difficulties. Besides, F. de Saussure was one of those men who never stand still; his thought evolved in all directions without ever contradicting itself as a result. To publish everything in the original form was impossible; the repetitions —inevitable in free oral presentation—over- and variant formulations would lend a motley appearance to such a publication. To limit the book to a single course and which one? was to deprive the reader of the rich and varied content of the other two courses; by itself the third, the most definitive of the three courses, would not give a complete accounting of the theories and methods of F. de Saussure. One suggestion was that we publish certain particularly original passages without change. This idea was appealing at first, but soon it became obvious that we would be distorting the thought of our master if we presented but fragments of a plan whose value lappings, — stands out only in its totality. We reached a bolder but also, we think, a more rational solution to attempt a reconstruction, a synthesis, as a starting point and by using all by using the third course other materials at our disposal, including the personal notes of F. de Saussure, as supplementary ; PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION The problem xv de Saussure's thought was because the re-creation had to be wholly objective. At each point we had to get to the crux of each particusources. all the more of re-creating F. difficult thought by trying to see its definitive form in the light of the whole system. We had first to weed out variations and irregularities characteristic of oral delivery, then to fit the thought into its natural framework and present each part of it in the order intended by the author even when his intention, not always apparent, had to be surmised. From this work of assimilation and reconstruction was born the book that we offer, not without apprehension, to the enlightened lar public and to all Our aim was friends of linguistics. draw together an organic whole by omitting nothing that might contribute to the overall impression. But for that very reason, we shall probably be criticized on two counts. to First, critics will say that this "whole" is incomplete. In his teaching the master never pretended to examine all parts of lin- same attention to each of those examined materially, he could not. Besides, his main concern was not that. Guided by some fundamental and personal principles which are found everywhere in his work and which form the woof of this guistics or to devote the — fabric which is as solid as where these principles where they apparently encompass. That is why touched upon. it is varied —he tried to penetrate ; only find particularly striking applications or conflict with some theory did he try to certain disciplines, such as semantics, are hardly We do not overall architecture. feel that these The absence lacunae detract from the of a "hnguistics of speaking" is which had been promised to the students would doubtlessly have had a place of honor; why his promise could not be kept is too well known. All we could do was to collect the fleeting impressions from the rough outlines of this project and put them into their natural place. Conversely, critics may say that we have reproduced facts bearing on points developed by F. de Saussure's predecessors. Not everything in such an extensive treatise can be new. But if known regrettable. This study, of the third course, principles are necessary for the understanding of a whole, shall we be condemned for not having omitted them? The chapter on PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION xvi phonetic changes, for example, includes things that have been said before, and perhaps more fact that this part contains from the valuable and original details, definitively; but, aside many even a superficial reading will show to what extent its omission would detract from an understanding of the principles upon which F. de Saussure erects his system of static hnguistics. We are aware of our responsibility to our critics. We are also aware of our responsibility to the author, who probably would not have authorized the publication of these pages. This responsibility we accept wholly, and we would willingly bear it alone. Will the critics be able to distinguish between the teacher and his interpreters? We would be grateful to them if they would direct toward us the blows which it would be unjust to heap upon one whose memory is dear to us. Charles Bally, Albert Sechehaye Geneva, July 1915. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION The second edition is essentially the same as the first. The have made some slight changes designed to facilitate Ch. B. Alb. S. reading and clarify certain points. editors PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION With the exception of a few minute corrections, this edition is Ch. B. Alb. S. the same as the preceding. INTRODUCTION Chapter I A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS The science that has been developed around the facts of language passed through three stages before finding its true and unique object. "grammar" was studied. This study, inby the Greeks and continued mainly by the French, was based on logic. It lacked a scientific approach and was detached from language itself. Its only aim was to give rules for distinguishing between correct and incorrect forms; it was a normative discipHne, far removed from actual observation, and its scope was First something called itiated limited. Next appeared philology. A "philological" school had existed but this name is more often applied to the scientific movement which was started by Friedrich August Wolf in 1777 and which continues to this day. Language is not its sole object. The early philologists sought especially to correct, interpret and comment upon written texts. Their studies also led much earlier in Alexandria, to an interest in literary history, customs, institutions, etc.^ apphed the methods of criticism for their own purposes. They When it was for the express purpose comparing texts of different periods, determining the language peculiar to eacK^auihor, or deciphering and explaining inscriptions made in an archaic or obscure language. Doubtless these investigations broke the ground for historical linguistics. Rit^chl'^studies they dealt with linguistic questions, of Plautus are actually linguistic.\put philological criticism is still deficient on one point: it follows the written language too slavishly of 1 At the risk of offending some readers, certain stylistic characteristics of the original French are retained. [Tr.] (The bracketed abbreviations S., Ed. and Tr. indicate whether footnotes are to be attributed to Saussure, to the editors of the Cours de linguistique generale, or to the translator.) 1 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 2 and neglects the living language. Moreover, it is concerned with little except Greek and Latin antiquity. The third stage began when scholars discovered that languages can be compared with one another. This discovery was the origin of "comparative philology." In 1816, in a work entitled tJher das Conjugationssijstem der Sanskritsprache, Franz Bopp compared Sanskrit with German, Greek, Latin, etc. Bopp was not the first to record their similarities and state that all these languages belong to a single family. That had been done before him, notably by the W. Jones (died in 1794) but Jones' few isolated statements do not prove that the significance and importance of comparison had been generally understood before 1816. While Bopp cannot be credited with the discovery that Sanskrit is reEnglish orientalist ; lated to certain languages of Europe and Asia, he did realize that the comparison of related languages could become the subject matter of an independent science. To illuminate one language by means of another, to explain the of the other, that is forms of one through the forms what no one had done before him. Whether Bopp could have created least his science —without the prior discovery of Sanskrit is —so Sanskrit as a third witness beside Latin and Greek, larger and firmer quickly at doubtful. With Bopp had a basis for his studies. Fortunately, Sanskrit was exceptionally well-fitted to the role of illuminating the comparison. For example, a comparison of the paradigms of Latin genus and Greek (genos, (genus, generis, genere, genera, generum, etc.) But the picture changes as soon as we add the corresponding Sanskrit series (ganas, ganasas, ganasi, ganasu, ^anasdm, etc.). A glance reveals the simigineos, genei, genea, geneon, etc.) reveals nothing. larity between the Greek forms and the Latin forms. If we ac- cept tentatively the hypothesis that ^anas represents the primitive state and this step facilitates explanation then we conclude — — must have fallen in Greek forms wherever it occurred between two vowels. Next we conclude that s became r in Latin under the same conditions. Grammatically, then, the Sanskrit paradigm that s exemplifies the concept of radical, a unit (ganas) that is quite and Greek had the same forms as SanHere Sanskrit is instructive precisely because it has preserved all the Indo-European s's. Of course definite and stable. Latin skrit only in their earlier stages. A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS 3 Sanskrit failed in other respects to preserve the features of the it had completely revolutionized the vocaHc system. But in general the original elements that Sanskrit has preserved are remarkably helpful in research and fate decreed prototype; for instance, — that it was to clarify many points in the study of other languages. Other distinguished linguists soon added to the contribution of the founder of Germanic studies (his Deutsche Grammatik was published from 1822 to 1836) Pott, whose etymo- Bopp Jacob Grimm, : ; logical studies made a considerable amount of material available to linguists; Kuhn, whose works dealt with both linguistics and comparative mythology; the Indie scholars Benfey and Aufrecht, etc. among the last representatives of the school, Max G. Curtius, and August Schleicher deserve special attention. In different ways, all three did much to advance comparative studies. Max Miiller popularized them in his brilliant discussions {Lessons in the Science of Language, 1861) but his failing was a Finally, Miiller, ; certain lack of conscientiousness. Curtius, a distinguished philologist known especially for his Grundziige der griechischen Etymologie (1879), was one of the first to reconcile science suspiciously, Schleicher was the investigations. His comparative philology with had watched the progress of the new and each school had mistrusted the other. The classical philology. latter first to try to codify the results of piecemeal Compendium der vergleichenden indogermanischen Sprachen (1861-62) is more Grammatik der or less a systemiza- by Bopp. His book, with its long record than any other the broad outlines of the comparative school, which is the first chapter in the history of Indo-European linguistics. But the comparative school, which had the indisputable merit of opening up a new and fruitful lield, did aot succeed in setting up tion of the science founded of service, recalls better the true science of linguistics.* It failed to seek out the natureoTiIs^ object of study. Obviously, without this elementary step, no can develop a method. The first mistake t)f the comparative philologists was also the source of all their other mistakes. In their investigations (which embraced only the Indo-European languages), they never asked them- teg ience selves the meaning of their comparisons or the significance of the COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 4 method was exclusively comOf course comparison is required for any historical reconstruction, but by itself it cannot be conclusive. And the conclusion was all the more elusive whenever the comparative philologists looked upon the development of two languages as a naturahst might look upon the growth of two plants. For example Schleicher, who always invites us to start from Proto-Indo-European and thus seems in a sense to be a confirmed historian, has no hesitancy in saying that Greek e and o are two grades (Stufen) of the vocalic system. This is because Sanskrit has a system of vocahc alternations that suggests the notion of grades. Schleicher supposed that each language has to pass through those grades separately and in exactly the same way, just as plants of the same species pass through the same developmental stages independently of one another, and saw a reinforced grade of e in Greek o and a reinforced grade of a in Sanskrit a. The fact is that a Proto-Indo-European alternation was reflected differently in Greek and in Sanskrit without there being any necessary equivalence between the grammatical effects produced in either language (see pp. 158 ff.). The exclusively comparative method brought in a set of false notions. Having no basis in reality, these notions simply could not reflect the facts of speech. Language was considered a specific sphere, a fourth natural kingdom this led to methods of reasoning which would have caused astonishment in other sciences. Today one cannot read a dozen lines written at that time without being struck by absurdities of reasoning and by the terminology used relations that they discovered. Their parative, not historical. ; to justify these absurdities. But from the viewpoint of methodology, the mistakes of the comparative philologists are not without value; the mistakes of an infant science give a magnified picture of those made by anyone in the first stages of scientific research, and I shall have occasion to point out several of Not them in the course of this exposition. around 1870 did scholars begin to seek out the principles that govern the life of languages. Then they began to see that similarities between languages are only one side of the linguistic phenomenon, that comparison is only a means or method of until reconstructing the facts. Linguistics proper, which puts comparative studies in their , A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS proper place, owes its origin to the study of the Romance and —his Gram—were begun by Diez Germanic languages. Romance matik der romanischen Sprachen dates from 1836-38 studies, 5 in- strumental in bringing linguistics nearer to its true object. For Romance scholars enjoyed privileged conditions that were un- known to Indo-European scholars. They had direct access to Latin, the prototype of the Romance languages, and an abundance of texts allowed them to trace in detail the evolution of the different two circumstances narrowed the field of conjecture and provided a remarkably solid frame for all their research. Germanic scholars were in a similar situation. Though they could not study the prototype directly, numerous texts enabled them to trace the history of the languages derived from Proto-Germanic through the course of many centuries. The Germanic scholars, coming to closer grips with reality than had the first Indo-European scholars, reached different conclusions. A first impetus was given by the American scholar Whitney, the author of Life and Growth of Language (1875). Shortly afterwards a new school was formed by the neogrammarians (Junggrammatiker), whose leaders were all Germans: K. Brugmann and H. Osthoff; the Germanic scholars W. Braune, E. Sievers, H. Paul; the Slavic scholar Leskien, etc. Their contribution was in placing dialects; these the results of comparative studies in their historical perspective- , and thus linking the facts in their natural order.- Thanks to them, language is no longer looked upon as an organism that develops independently but as a product of the collective mind of linguistic groups.yA't the same time scholars realized how erroneous and inTsufficient were the notions of philology and comparative philology.^ in spite of the services that they rendered, the neogrammarians did not illuminate the whole question, and the fundamental problems of general linguistics still await solution. Still, * The new school, using a more reahstic approach than had its predecessor, fought the terminology of the comparative school, and especially the illogical metaphors that it used. One no longer dared to say, "Language does this or that," or "life of language," etc. since language is not an entity and exists only within speakers. One must not go too far, however, and a compromise is in order. Certain metaphors are indispensable. To require that only words that correspond to the facts of speech be used is to pretend that these facts no longer perplex us. This is by no means true, and in some instances I shall not hesitate to use one of the expressions condemned at that time. [S.] : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS Chapter II SUBJECT MATTER AND SCOPE OF LINGUISTICS; ITS RELATIONS WITH OTHER SCIENCES The subject matter of linguistics comprises human all manifestations of speech, whether that of savages or civilized nations, or of archaic, classical or decadent periods. In each period the linguist must consider not only correct speech other forms of expression as well. and flowery language, but And that often unable to observe speech directly, he texts, for is not all: since he all is must consider written only through them can he reach idioms that are remote in time or space. The scope of linguistics should a) to describe be and trace the history of all observable languages, which amounts to tracing the history of families of languages and reconstructing as far as possible the mother language of each family; 6) at in all languages, all specific historical c) and universally and to deduce the general laws to which phenomena can be reduced; arid to determine the forces that are permanently work to delimit and define itself. very closely related to other sciences that sometimes borrow from its data, sometimes supply it with data. The lines of demarcation do not always show up clearly. For instance, linguistics must be carefully distinguished from ethnography and Linguistics prehistory, is where language is used merely to document. It must from anthropology, which studies man solely from also be set apart the viewpoint of his species, for language linguistics ships between linguistics language is then be combined with sociology? is and a social fact. But must What are the relation- social psychology? Everything in basically psychological, including its material and mechanical manifestations, such as sound changes; and since linguistics provides social psychology with such valuable data, is it THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS not part and parcel of this discipline? Here ilar 7 I shall raise many sim- them at greater length. and the physiology of sounds questions later I shall treat ; The between ties linguistics The relation is unilateral in less difficult to untangle. are the sense that the study of languages exacts clarifications from the science of the physiology of sounds but furnishes none in return. In any event, the two disciplines cannot be confused. The thing that constitutes language is, as I shall show unrelated to the phonic character later, of the linguistic sign. As for philology, we have already drawn the line: it is distinct from linguistics despite points of contact between the two sciences and mutual services that they render. Finally, of what use is linguistics? Very few people have clear ideas on this point, and this is not the place to specify them. But it is evident, for instance, that linguistic questions interest work with texts —historians, philologists, etc. Still all who more obvious is the importance of linguistics to general culture: in the lives of individuals else. That and societies, speech is more important than anything linguistics should continue to — be the prerogative of a few would be unthinkable everyone is concerned with it in one way or another. But and this is a paradoxical consequence of the interest that is fixed on hnguistics there is no other field in which so many absurd notions, prejudices, mirages, and fictions have sprung up. From the psychological viewpoint these errors are of interest, but the task of the linguist is, above all else, to condemn them and to dispel them as best he can. specialists — — Chapter III THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS 1. Definition of Language What is both question is the integral and concrete object of linguistics? especially difficult; later merely to point up the difficulty. we shall see why; here I The wish : : ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 8 Other sciences work with objects that are given in advance and that can then be considered from different viewpoints; but not Hnguistics. Someone pronounces the French word nu 'bare': a would be tempted to call the word a concrete but a more careful examination would reveal successively three or four quite different things, depending on whether the word is considered as a sound, as the expression of an idea, as the equivalent of Latin nudum, etc. Far from it being the object that antedates the viewpoint, it would seem that it is the viewpoint that creates the object; besides, nothing tells us in advance that one way of considering the fact in question takes precedence over the others or is in any way superior to them. Moreover, regardless of the viewpoint that we adopt, the linguistic phenomenon always has two related sides, each deriving its values from the other. For example superficial observer linguistic object; 1) Articulated syllables are acoustical impressions perceived by the ear, but the sounds would not exist without the vocal organs an n, for example, exists only by virtue of the relation between the two sides. We simply cannot reduce language to sound or detach sound from oral articulation; reciprocally, we cannot define the movements of the vocal organs without taking into account the acoustical impression (see pp. 38 2) ff.). But suppose that sound were a simple tute speech? No, it is thing: would it only the instrument of thought; by consti- itself, it has no existence. At this point a new and redoubtable relationship arises: a sound, a complex acoustical-vocal unit, combines in turn with an idea to form a complex physiological-psychological unit. But that is still not the complete picture. 3) Speech has both an individual and a social side, and we cannot conceive of one without the other. Besides 4) Speech always implies both an established system and an evolution; at every moment it is an existing institution and a product of the past. To distinguish between the system and its history, between what it is and what it was, seems very simple at first glance actually the two things are so closely related that Would we simplify the question ; can scarcely keep them apart. studying the linguistic phenomenon in its earliest — stages if we by we THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS 9 began, for example, by studying the speech of children? No, for in it is completely misleading to assume that the dealing with speech, problem manent of early characteristics differs characteristics. We from the problem of per- are left inside the vicious circle. From whatever direction we approach the question, nowhere do we find the integral object of linguistics. Everywhere we are confronted with a dilemma if we fix our attention on only one side of each problem, we run the risk of failing to perceive the dualities pointed out above; on the other hand, if we study speech from : several viewpoints simultaneously, the object of linguistics appears mass to us as a confused of heterogeneous and unrelated Either procedure opens the door to several sciences — —which anthropology, normative grammar, philology, etc. from things. psychology, are but which might claim speech, in view of the faulty method of linguistics, as one of their objects. As I see it there is only one solution to all the foregoing difl5culties from the very outset we must put both feet on the ground of language and use language as the norm of all other manifestations of speech. Actually, among so many dualities, language alone seems to lend itself to independent definition and provide a fulcrum that satisfies the mind. But what is language [Zangwe]? It is not to be confused with human speech [langage], of which it is only a definite part, though certainly an essential one. It is both a social product of the faculty of speech and a collection of necessary conventions that have been adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty. Taken as a whole, speech is many-sided and heterogenedistinct linguistics, : ous; straddling several areas simultaneously logical, and psychological to society ; we cannot we cannot put discover its — it it into —physical, physio- belongs both to the individual and any category of human facts, for unity. Language, on the contrary, is a seK-contained whole and a prinAs soon as we give language first place among ciple of classification. the facts of speech, we introduce a natural order into a mass that lends itself to no other classification. One might object to that principle of classification on the ground that since the use of speech is based on a natural faculty whereas . COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 10 language not take is something acquired and conventional, language should place but should be subordinated to the natural first instinct. That objection is easily refuted. First, no one has proved that speech, as we speak, entirely natural, is i.e. it manifests itself when that our vocal apparatus was designed for speaking just as our legs were designed for walking. Linguists are far from agreement on this point. For instance Whit- ney, to that whom we use language is one of several social institutions, thinks the vocal apparatus as the instrument of language men might just and used visual symbols instead of purely through luck, for the sake of convenience: as well have chosen gestures acoustical symbols. Doubtless his thesis is too dogmatic language ; not similar in all respects to other social institutions (see p. 73 f and p. 75 f.); moreover, Whitney goes too far in saying that our choice happened to fall on the vocal organs; the choice was more is or less imposed by nature. But on the American and the nature of the essential point the linguist is right: language is a convention, is agreed upon does not matter. The question of the vocal apparatus obviously takes a secondary place in the problem of sign that speech. One definition of articulated speech might confirm that conclusion. In Latin, articulus means a member, part, or subdivision of a sequence applied to speech, articulation designates either the sub; division of a spoken chain into syllables or the subdivision of the chain of meanings into significant units gegliederte Sprache ; is used German. Using the second definition, we can natural to mankind is not oral speech but the in the second sense in say that what is faculty of constructing a language, i.e. a system of distinct signs corresponding to distinct ideas. Broca discovered that the faculty third left frontal convolution ; of speech is localized in the his discovery has been used to sub- But we same part of the brain is the center of everything that that the has to do with speech, including writing. The preceding statements, stantiate the attribution of a natural quality to speech. know together with observations that have been of aphasia resulting from made in different cases seem bound lesion of the centers of localization, to indicate: (1) that the various disorders of oral speech are : ; THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS up in a hundred ways with those what is lost in all cases of aphasia 11 of written speech; or agraphia is less and (2) that the faculty of producing a given sound or writing a given sign than the ability to evoke by means of an instrument, regardless of what it is, the signs of a regular system of speech. The obvious implication is that beyond the functioning of the various organs there exists a more general faculty which governs signs and which would be the linguistic faculty proper. And this brings us to the same conclusion as above. To give language vance a it is final first place in the study of speech, : natural or not ment created by a — is ad- —^whether exercised only with the help of the instru- collectivity and provided to say that language gives unity to speech 2. we can argument the faculty of articulating words for its use; therefore, is not fanciful. Place of Language in the Facts of Speech In order to separate from the whole of speech the part that belongs to language, we must examine the individual act from which the speaking-circuit can be reconstructed. presence of at least two persons; that is The the act requires the minimum number necessary to complete the circuit. Suppose that two people, A and B, are conversing with each other »•-n^, j^jjir-'* Suppose that the opening of the circuit is in A's brain, where mental facts (concepts) are associated with representations of the linguistic sounds (sound-images) that are used for their expression. A given concept unlocks a corresponding sound-image in the brain this purely psychological phenomenon is physiological process the brain transmits : followed in turn by a an impulse corresponding ; ; : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 12 to the image to the organs used in producing sounds. sound waves travel from the mouth of A to the ear of B Then the : a purely physical process. Next, the circuit continues in B, but the order is reversed: from the ear to the brain, the physiological transmission of the sound-image; in the brain, the psychological association of B the image with the corresponding concept. If new act will follow as the I shall then speaks, the —from his brain to A's—exactly the same course act and pass through the same successive phases, which diagram as follows first Phonatlon Audition «C < c = s =z sound-Image concept .>^ Phonation The preceding might also Audition analysis does not purport to be complete. We single out the pure acoustical sensation, the identifi- cation of that sensation with the latent sound-image, the muscular image of phonation, etc. I have included only the elements thought to be essential, but the drawing brings out at a glance the distinction between the physical (sound waves), physiological (phonation and audition), and psychological parts (word-images and concepts). Indeed, we should not stands apart from the sound logical as the concept which fail itself is to note that the word-image and that it is associated with just as psycho- it. The circuit that I have outlined can be further divided into: an outer part that includes the vibrations of the sounds which travel from the mouth to the ear, and an inner part that includes a) everything else h) a psychological and a nonpsychological part, the second in- cluding the physiological productions of the vocal organs as well as the physical facts that are outside the individual THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS 13 an active and a passive part: everything that goes from the c) associative center of the speaker to the ear of the hstener and everything that goes from the ear ative center is active, of the hstener to his associ- passive; is d) finally, everything that is active in the psychological part of the circuit receptive We that is (s executive —> {c -^ s), and everything that is passive is c). should also add the associative and co-ordinating faculty find as soon as we leave isolated signs; this faculty plays we the dominant role in the organization of language as a system (see pp. 122 ff.)But to understand clearly the role of the associative ordinating faculty, we must and co- leave the individual act, which is only the embryo of speech, and approach the social fact. Among some all the individuals that are linked together sort of average will be set of course, but approximately up all will : —the same reproduce by speech, —not exactly signs united with the same concepts. How Which does the social crystallization of language come about? parts of the circuit are involved? For not participate equally in The nonpsychological When we part can be rejected from the outset. is the psychological part of the circuit wholly respon- out by the collectivity. Execution is we do not know, outside the social fact because sible: the executive side is missing, for individual parts probably do hear people speaking a language that we perceive the sounds but remain we do not understand them. Neither all it. always its master: is execution is never carried always individual, I shall call and the the executive side speaking [parole]. Through the functioning and co-ordinating same for all are made of the receptive faculties, impressions that are perceptibly the on the minds of speakers. How can that social product be pictured way that language will stand apart from everything else? If we could embrace the sum of word-images stored in the minds in such a of all individuals, we could tutes language. It is community through bond that constiby the members of a given identify the social a storehouse filled their active use of speaking, a grammatical : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 14 system that has a potential existence in each brain, or, more specifically, in the brains of a group of individuals. For language is not complete in any speaker; it exists perfectly only within a collectivity. we are at the same time what is social from what is individual; and (2) what is essential from what is accessory and more or less accidental. Language is not a function of the speaker it is a product that is passively assimilated by the individual. It never requires premeditation, and reflection enters in only for the purpose of classification, which we shall take up later (pp. 122 ff.). Speaking, on the contrary, is an individual act. It is wilful and intellectual. Within the act, we should distinguish between: (1) the combinations by which the speaker uses the language code for expressing his own thought; and (2) the psychophysical mechanism that allows him to exteriorize those combinations. Note that I have defined things rather than words these definitions are not endangered by certain ambiguous words that do not In separating language from speaking separating: (1) ; — ; have identical meanings in different languages. For instance, German Sprache means both "language" and "speech"; Rede almost corresponds to "speaking" but adds the special connotation of "discourse." Latin sermo designates ing," while lingua means "language," both "speech" and "speaketc. No word exactly to any of the notions specified above that ; is corresponds why all defini- words are made in vain; starting from words in defining a bad procedure. To summarize, these are the characteristics of language 1) Language is a well-defined object in the heterogeneous mass of speech facts. It can be localized in the limited segment of the speaking-circuit where an auditory image becomes associated with tions of things is a concept. It 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. Moreover, the individual must always serve an apprenticeship in order to learn the functioning of language; a child assimilates it only gradually. It is such a distinct thing that a man deprived of the use of speaking retains it provided that he understands the vocal signs that he hears. THE OBJECT OF LINGUISTICS 15 something that we can studyno longer spoken, we can easily assimilate their linguistic organisms. We can dispense with the other elements of speech; indeed, the science of language is possible only if the other elements are excluded. 3) Whereas speech is heterogeneous, language, as defined, is homogeneous. It is a system of signs in which the only essential thing is the union of meanings and sound-images, and in which 2) Language, unlike speaking, is separately. Although dead languages are both parts of the sign are psychological. 4) Language is concrete, no less so than speaking; and this is a help in our study of it. Linguistic signs, though basically psychological, are not abstractions; associations which bear the stamp of and which added together constitute language collective approval are realities that have their seat in the brain. Besides, linguistic — — it is possible to reduce them to conventional whereas it would be impossible to provide dewritten sjonbols, tailed photographs of acts of speaking [actes de parole] the pronunciation of even the smallest word represents an infinite number of muscular movements that could be identified and put into graphic form only with great difficulty. In language, on the contrary, there is only the sound-image, and the latter can be trans- signs are tangible; ; if we disregard the vast number movements necessary for the realization of sound-images in speaking, we see that each sound-image is nothing more than the sum of a limited number of elements or phonemes that can in turn be called up by a corresponding number of written symbols (see pp. 61 ff.). The very possibihty of putting the things that relate to language into graphic form allows dictionaries and grammars to lated into a fixed visual image. For of represent it accurately, for language images, and writing 3. is is a storehouse of sound- the tangible form of those images. Place of Language in Human Facts: Semiology foregoing characteristics of language reveal an even more The important characteristic. Language, once its boundaries have been marked off within the speech data, can be classified among human phenomena, whereas speech cannot. We have just seen that language is a social institution; but several features set it apart from other political, legal, etc. institutions. :; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 16 We must call in a new type of facts in order to illuminate the special nature of language. Language is a system of signs that express ideas, and is therefore comparable to a system of writing, the alphabet of deaf-mutes, S5Tnbolic rites, polite formulas, military signals, etc. most important A But it is the of all these systems. science that studies the life of signs within society is conceivable psychology and consequently of general (from Greek semeion 'sign'). Semiology would show what constitutes signs, what laws govern them. Since the science does not yet exist, no one can say what it would be but it has a right to existence, a place staked out in advance. Linguistics is only a part of the general science of semiology; the laws discovered by semiology will be applicable to linguistics, and the latter will circumscribe a well-defined area within the mass it would be a part of social I shall call it semiology^ psychology; ; of anthropological facts. To determine the exact place of semiology is the task of the The task of the linguist is to find out what makes language a special system within the mass of semiological data. This issue will be taken up again later; here I wish merely to call attention to one thing if I have succeeded in assigning linguistics a psychologist.'* : place among the sciences, it is because I have related it to semi- ology. Why has semiology not yet been recognized as an independent science with its own object like all the other sciences? Linguists have been going around in circles language, better than anything else, offers a basis for understanding the semiological problem but language must, to put it correctly, be studied in itself; heretofore language has almost always been studied in connection with something else, from other viewpoints. There is first of all the superficial notion of the general public people see nothing more than a name-giving system in language : ; (see p. 65), thereby prohibiting any research into its true nature. ' Semiology should not be confused with semantics, which studies changes in meaning, and which Saussure did not treat methodically; the fundamental principle of semantics is formulated on page 75. [Ed.] * Cf. A. NaviUe, Classification des Sciences, (2nd. ed.), p. 104. [Ed.] The scope of semiology (or semiotics) is treated at length in Charles Morris' Signs, Language and Behavior (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1946). [Tr.] LINGUISTICS OF LANGUAGE AND OF SPEAKING 17 Then there is the viewpoint of the psychologist, who studies the sign-mechanism in the individual; this is the easiest method, but it does not lead beyond individual execution and does not reach the sign, which is social. Or even when signs are studied from a social viewpoint, only the those traits that attach language to the other social institutions that are more or less voluntary are emphasized; as a result, the — — is by-passed and the specific characteristics of semiological systems in general and of language in partichlar-ace. completely ignored,/ I^orTFe distinguishing characteristic of the sign— but the"^) one that is least apparent at first sight is that in some way it goal — arv^a.yb' '' eludBSHfeheJndividual or .social will. In short, the characteristic that distinguishes semiological systems from all other institutions shows up clearly only in language where it manifests itself in the things which are studied least, and the necessity or specific value of a semiological science is therefore not clearly recognized. But to me the language problem is mainly semiological, and all developments derive their significance from that important fact. If we are to discover the true nature of lan- guage we must learn what it has in common with ological systems; linguistic forces that all other semi- seem very important at first glance (e.g., the role of the vocal apparatus) will receive only secondary consideration if they serve only to set language apart from the other systems. This procedure will do more than to clarify the linguistic problem. By studying rites, customs, etc. as signs, I believe that up we shall explaining them by throw new them the need for including light on the facts and point in a science of semiology and its laws. Chapter IV LINGUISTICS OF LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS OF SPEAKING In setting up the science of language within the overall study of speech, I have also outlined the whole of linguistics. All other ele- / COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 18 —those that constitute speaking— merits of speech nate themselves to the first science, and it is by freely subordi- virtue of this sub- ordination that the parts of linguistics find their natural place. Consider, for example, the production of sounds necessary for The speaking. vocal organs are as external to language as are the used in transmitting the Morse code to the code i.e., the execution of sound-images, in no way affects the system itself. Language is comparable to a symphony in that what the sjnnphony actually is stands completely apart from how it is performed; the mistakes that musicians make in playing the symphony do not compromise this fact. electrical devices and phonation, itself; An argument against separating phonation from language might be phonetic changes, the alterations of the sounds which occur in speaking and which exert such a profound influence on the future of language itself. Do we really have the right to pretend that language exists independently of phonetic changes? Yes, for they affect only the material substance of words. If they attack language as a system of signs, it is only indirectly, through subsequent changes of interpretation; there is nothing phonetic in the phenomenon (see p. 84). Determining the causes of phonetic changes may be of interest, and the study of sounds will be helpful on this point but none of this is essential in the science of language, all we need do is to observe the transformations of sounds and to ; : calculate their effects. What have said about phonation applies to I The speaking. other parts of all activity of the speaker should be studied in a num- ber of disciplines which have no place in linguistics except through their relation to language. The study of speech is object language, which — individual has as its is then twofold is : its exclusively psychological its secondary part ; object the individual side of speech, ing phonation —^having as basic part — is its purely social and independent of the i.e. —which speaking, includ- psychophysical. Doubtless the two objects are closely connected, each depending on the other language is necessary if speaking is to be intelligible and produce all its effects; but speaking is necessary for the establishment of language, and historically its actuality always comes first. How would a speaker take it upon himself to associate an idea : : AND OF SPEAKING LINGUISTICS OF LANGUAGE 19 with a word-image if he had not first come across the association in an act of speaking? Moreover, we learn our mother language by listening to others; only after countless experiences is it deposited in our brain. Finally, speaking is what causes language to evolve: impressions gathered from listening to others modify our linguistic Language and speaking are then interdependent the former both the instrument and the product of the latter. But their interdependence does not prevent their being two absolutely habits. ; is distinct things. Language exists in the form member sum of a of impressions deposited in community, almost like a dictionary of which identical copies have been distributed to each individual (see p. 13). Language exists in each individual, yet is common to the brain of each all. Nor is it existence affected of a by the will of the depositaries. Its mode of expressed by the formula: is +1+ 1 1 + 1... = 1 (collective pattern) What part does speaking play in the same community? It is the sum of what people say and includes (a) individual combinations : that depend on the will of speakers, and (b) equally wilful phonational acts that are necessary for the execution of these combinations. Speaking is are individual thus not a collective instrument; its manifestations and momentary. In speaking there is only the sum particular acts, as in the (1 of formula +r+ 1" + 1'". . .) For all the foregoing reasons, to consider language and speaking from the same viewpoint would be fanciful. Taken as a whole, speech cannot be studied, for it is not homogeneous; but the distinction and subordination proposed here clarify the whole issue. Such is the first bifurcation that we find in trying to formulate the theory of speech. We must choose between two routes that cannot be followed simultaneously; they must be followed separately. One might of the two if linguistics to each of a linguistics of speaking. But really necessary apply the disciplines and speak term COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 20 that science must not be confused with Hnguistics proper, whose sole object is language. I shall deal only with linguistics of language, and if I sub- sequently use material belonging to speaking to illustrate a point, I shall try never to erase the boundaries that separate the two domains. Chapter V INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE My definition of language presupposes the exclusion of everything that is known outside its organism or system as "external linguistics." many important things —in a word, of everything But external linguistics deals with —the very ones that we think of when we begin the study of speech. First and foremost come all the points where linguistics borders on ethnology, all the relations that link the history of a language and the history of a race or civilization. The close interaction of language and ethnography brings to mind the bonds that join linguistic phenomena proper (see pp. 7 f.). The culture of a nation exerts an influence on its language, and the language, on the other hand, is largely responsible for the nation. Second come the relations between language and political history. Great historical events like the Roman conquest have an incalculable influence on a host of hnguistic facts. Colonization, which is only one form that conquest may take, brings about changes in an idiom by transporting it into different surroundings. All kinds of facts could be cited as substantiating evidence. For instance, Norway adopted Danish when she united politically with Denmark; the Norwegians are trying today to throw off that linguistic influence. The internal politics of states is no less important to the life of languages; certain governments (Uke the Swiss) allow the coexistence of several idioms; others (like the French) strive for linguistic unity. An advanced state of civihzation INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE 21 favors the development of special languages (juridical language, scientific terminology, etc.). Here we come to a third point: the relations between language and all sorts of institutions (the Church, the school, etc.). All these institutions in turn are closely tied to the literary development of a language, a general phenomenon that is all the more inseparable from political history. At every point the literary language oversteps the boundaries that literature apparently marks off; we need only consider the influence of salons, the court, and national academies. Moreover, the literary language raises the important question of conflicts between it and local dialects (see pp. 195 ff.); the linguist must also examine the reciprocal relations of book language and the vernacular; for every literary language, being the product of the culture, finally breaks away from its natural sphere, the spoken language. Finally, everything that relates to the geographical spreading of languages and dialectal splitting belongs to external linguistics. Doubtless the distinction between internal and external linguistics seems most paradoxical here, since the geographical phenomenon is so closely linked to the existence of any language but geographical spreading and dialectal splitting do not actually affect the inner organism of an idiom. Some have maintained that the foregoing issues simply cannot be separated from the study of language proper. The viewpoint has been prevalent especially since the placing of so much emphasis on "Realia."^ Just as the inner organism of a plant is modified by alien forces (terrain, cUmate, etc.) does not the grammatical organism depend constantly on the external forces of linguistic change? It seems that we can scarcely give a satisfactory explanation of the technical terms and loan-words that abound in language without considering their development. Is it possible to distinguish the natural, organic growth of an idiom from its artificial forms, such as the literary language, which are due to ex; ternal, and therefore inorganic forces? always developing alongside local Common languages are dialects, ^ Realien is used in German to refer to all material facts of life, the shape, dimensions, and the like of objects, things, etc. Cf. the numerous works in German entitled Reallexicon. [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 22 the study of external linguistic phenomena is most but to say that we cannot understand the internal linguistic organism without studying external phenomena is wrong. Take as an example the borrowing of foreign words. We observe from the outset that borrowing is not a constant force in the life of a language. In certain isolated valleys there are dialects that have never taken a single artificial term from the outside. Should we say that such idioms are outside the conditions of normal speech and that they require "teratological"* study inasmuch as they have never suffered admixture? More important still, a loan-word no longer counts as such whenever it is studied within a system; it exists only through its relation with, and opposition to, words associated with it, just like any other genuine sign. Knowledge of the circumstances that contributed to the development of a language, generally speaking, is never indispensable. For certain languages e.g. Zend and Old Slavic even the identity of the original speakers is unknown, but lack of such information in no way hinders us in studying these languages internally and learning about the transformations that they have undergone. In any case, separation of the two viewpoints is mandatory, and the more I believe that fruitful; — — rigidly they are kept apart, the better The it will be. best proof of the need for separating the two viewpoints is that each creates a distinct method. External linguistics can add detail to detail without being caught in the vise of a system. Each facts about the spreadhe looks for the forces that created a literary language beside local dialects, he can always use simple enumeration. If he arranges the facts more or less systematically, he will do this solely for the sake of clarity. writer, for instance, will group as he sees ing of a language beyond fit its territory. If In internal linguistics the picture differs completely. Just any will not do. Language is a system that has its own arrangement. Comparison with chess will bring out the point. In arrangement chess, what is is external and is external can be separated relatively easily from The internal. ; fact that the its system chessmen instead of wooden on the system, but if I decrease or against that, everything having to do with no effect what Persia to Europe rules is internal. If I use ivory ones, the change has • game passed from 'Pertaining to the study of monsters,' see p. 54, footnote. [Tr.] GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE 23 number of chessmen, this change has a profound effect on the "grammar" of the game. One must always distinguish between what is internal and what is external. In each instance one can determine the nature of the phenomenon by applying this rule: everything that changes the system in any way is internal. increase the Chapter VI GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE 1. Need for Studying The the Subject concrete object of linguistic science deposited in the brain of each individual, is i.e. the social product language. But the with linguistic groups: we have to work with languages. The linguist is obliged to acquaint himself with the greatest possible number of languages in order to determine what is uniproduct differs them by observing and comparing them. But we generally learn about languages only through writing. Even in studying our native language, we constantly make use of written texts. The necessity of using written evidence increases when dealing with remote idioms, and all the more when studying versal in idioms that no longer exist. posal in every instance only We would have direct texts at our disif people had always done what being done in Paris and Vienna. There, samples of are being recorded. Even so, all is now languages recorded specimens could be made available to others only through writing. Writing, though unrelated to to represent language. acquainted with We its inner system, is used continually cannot simply disregard it. We must be its usefulness, shortcomings, and dangers. Writing; Reasons for Its Ascendance Spoken Form Language and writing are two distinct systems of 2. Influence of over the signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first. The linguistic object is not both the written and the spoken forms of COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 24 words; the spoken forms alone constitute the object. But the spoken word is so intimately bound to its written image that the manages to usurp the main role. People attach even more importance to the written image of a vocal sign than to the sign itself. A similar mistake would be in thinking that more can be learned about someone by looking at his photograph than by viewing him directly. This illusion, which has always existed, is reflected in many of the notions that are currently bandied about on the subject of language. Take the notion that an idiom changes more rapidly when writing does not exist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Writing may retard the process of change under certain conditions, but its absence in no way jeopardizes the preservation of language. The oldest written texts of Lithuanian, which is still spoken in eastern Prussia and in a part of Russia, date from 1540; but the language of even that late period offers a more faithful picture of Proto-Indo-European than does Latin of 300 B.C. This one example is enough to show the extent to which languages are independent of writing. Certain very slight linguistic facts have been preserved without the help of any notation. During the whole Old High German period, people wrote tdten,fuolen, stozen; near the end of the twelfth century the forms toten, fHelen appeared, but stozen subsisted. How latter did the difference originate? Wherever the umlaut occurred, there was a in the following syllable. Proto-Germanic had *daupyan, but *stautan. At the very beginning of the literary period (about 800) the y became so weak that no trace of it appears in writing for three centuries still, a slight trace had remained in the spoken form that is how it miraculously reappeared as an umlaut around 1180! Without the help of writing, a slight difference in ?/ *folyan, ; ; pronunciation was accurately transmitted. Thus language does have a definite and stable oral tradition that independent of writing, but the influence of the written form this. The first linguists confused language and writing, just as the humanists had done before them. Even Bopp failed to distinguish clearly between letters and sounds. His works is prevents our seeing give the impression that a language and its alphabet are insepa- GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE rable. His immediate successors scription th (for the fricative J^) into the fell caused same Grimm 25 trap; the tran- to think not only it was an aspirated occluand he accordingly assigned it a specific place in his law of consonantal mutation or Lautverschiebung (see p. 144). Scholars still confuse language and writing. Gaston Deschamps said that Berthelot "had saved French from ruin" because he had opposed that th was a double sound but also that sive, spelling reform! But how 1) is the influence of writing to be explained? form of words strikes us as being something than sound to account for the language throughout time. Though it creates a purely First, the graphic permanent and unity of stable, better suited fictitious unity, the superficial bond of writing is much easier to grasp than the only true bond, the bond of sound. 2) Most people pay more attention to visual impressions simply because these are sharper and more lasting than aural impressions; is why they show a preference for the former. The graphic form manages to force itself upon them at the expense of sound. 3) The literary language adds to the undeserved importance of writing. It has its dictionaries and grammars; in school, children are taught from and by means of books; language is apparently governed by a code the code itself consists of a written set of strict rules of usage, orthography and that is why writing acquires pri- that ; ; mary importance. The result is that people forget that to speak before they learn to write, they learn and the natural sequence is reversed. 4) Finally, when there is a disagreement between language and orthography, settlement of the dispute except the linguist; and since he is is difiicult for everyone given no voice in the matter, the written form almost inevitably wins out, for any solution supported by it is easier; thus writing assumes undeserved im- portance. Systems of Writing There are only two systems of writing: 1) In an ideographic system each word is represented by a single sign that is unrelated to the sounds of the word itself. Each written 3. : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 26 sign stands for a whole pressed by the word. of writing is word and, consequently, The classic for the idea ex- example of an ideographic system Chinese. The system commonly known as "phonetic" tries to reproduce the succession of sounds that make up a word. Phonetic systems are sometimes syllabic, sometimes alphabetic, i.e., based on the irreducible elements used in speaking. Moreover, ideographic systems freely become mixtures when certain ideograms lose their original value and become symbols of 2) isolated sounds. The statement that the written word tends to replace the spoken one in our minds is true of both systems of writing, but the tendency is stronger in the ideographic system. To a Chinese, an ideogram and a spoken word are both symbols of an idea to him writing is a second language, and if two words that have the same sound are used in conversation, he may resort to writing in order to express his thought. But in Chinese the mental substitution of the written word for the spoken word does not have the annoying consequences that it has in a phonetic system, for the substitution is absolute; the same graphic symbol can stand for words from different Chinese dialects. I shall hmit discussion to the phonetic system, and especially to the one used today, the system that stems from the Greek ; alphabet.' ' The correspondence between Saussure'e system of transcription and that is roughly as follows recommended by the International Phonetic Association SAUSSURE IPA GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE When first 27 —unless borrowed and rational repre—gives a devised a phonetic alphabet already marked by inconsistencies fairly With respect to logic, Greek is especially 64). But the harmonious relation between sentation of language. noteworthy (see p. writing and pronunciation does not last. Why? This question must be examined. Reasons for the Discrepancy between Writing and Pronunciation Of the numerous causes of lack of agreement between writing and pronunciation, I shall recall only the more important ones. First, language is constantly evolving, whereas writing tends to remain stable. The result is that a point is reached where writing no longer corresponds to what it is supposed to record. A transcription that is accurate at a particular moment will be absurd a century later. For a time people may change their graphic symbols to conform with changes in pronunciation, then relinquish the effort. This happened in French in the case of oi: 4. Written Forms Pronunciation Eleventh Century 1 rei, lei Thirteenth Century .... 2 roi, loi Fourteenth Century .... 3 roe, loe Nineteenth Century .... 4 rwa, Iwa rei, lei roi, loi roi, loi roi, loi Up until period 2 changes in pronunciation were recorded; each step in the history of the language was matched by a corresponding step in the history of writing. But after the fourteenth century the written form of the words remained unchanged while the evolution of the language continued; from that discrepancy between the language and moment the^ orthography increased progressively. Finally, the practice of joining discordant terms had its repercussion on the graphic system itself: the combination oi its acquired a value that was unrelated to either o or z i. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 28 Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely. For instance, should the French write mats 'but' and fait 'fact' when the words are pronounced me and fef Why does c often have the value of sf The answer is that French has retained outmoded spellings, SpeUing always lags behind pronunciation. The I in French is today changing to ]j; speakers say eveyer, mouyer, just as they say essuyer 'wipe,' nettoyer 'clean'; but the written forms of these words why are still eveiller 'awaken,' mouiller 'soak.' Another reason for discrepancy between spelling and pronunciation is this: if an alphabet is borrowed from another language, its resources may not be appropriate for their new function; expedi- ents will have to be found (e.g. the use of two letters to designate a single sound). Take the voiceless dental fricative \> of the Germanic languages. Since Latin had no sign for this sound, th was used. The Merovingian king Chilperic tried to add a special symbol for this sound to the Latin alphabet, but his attempt was unsuccessful and ih won acceptance. During the Middle Ages English had a closed e (e.g. sed) and an open e (e.g. led) since the alphabet ; symbols for the two sounds, the spellings seed and lead were devised. French uses the double symbol ch to stand for hushing I, etc. The influence of etymology also helps to widen the gap between spelling and pronunciation. It has been especially strong during certain periods (e.g. the Renaissance). Even a false etymology often forces itself into the spelling of a word: d was inserted in French jpoids 'weight' as if the word were derived from Latin pondus; poids actually comes from pensum.^ Whether the application of the principle is correct matters little; the fallacy is in spelling words according to their etymology. Other reasons for the discrepancy are not so obvious; some absurdities cannot be excused even on etymological grounds. Why was thun used instead of tun in German? The h was said to represent the aspiration that followed the initial consonant but it would failed to provide distinct ; have to be inserted wherever aspiration occurs, and many similar words were never written with h (Tugend, Tisch, etc.). 8 by Cf. English island, derived form from doubt, derived from Old with Latin dubitare. [Tr.] isle, and and land 'land' but influenced French douter but later changed to con- ig 'island' ; ; GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE 5. 29 Results of the Discrepancy To One classify the inconsistencies of writing would take too long. symbols that stand salient disadvantage is the multiplicity of same sound. For for the z 'freeze,' geai 'jay'); for z, French uses j, g, ge (joU 'pretty/ geler both z and s; for s, c, g and t (nation 'nation'), sc (acquiescer 'acquiesce'), sg (acquiesgant 'acquiescent'), X {dix 'ten') ; and for k it uses c, qu, k, ch, cc, cqu (acquerir 'acquire'). Conversely, a single symbol stands for several values t or s, g for g or z, : t stands for etc.^ "Indirect spellings" also merit our attention. There is no double consonant in Zettel, Teller, etc. German uses tt, II, etc. for the sole purpose of indicating that the preceding vowel is open and short. Through a similar aberration English adds a final silent e to lengthen the preceding vowel: mad, made. The e, which actually affects only the preceding syllable, creates a second syllable for ; the eye. These irrational spellings still stand for something in language but others have neither rime nor reason. French has no double consonants except the old futures mourrai '(I) shall die,' courrai *(I) shall run,' etc.; yet illegitimate double consonants abound in the orthography of the language (bourru 'surly,' sottise 'foolish- ness,' souffrir 'suffer,' etc.). Being unstable and striving always for regularity, writing vacillate at times the result ; is may fluctuating orthographies that stem sounds at different periods. Take ertha, erdha, Old High German: th, dh, d stand for the same phonic element. But which element? Writing does not provide the answer. The complication that arises is this: confronted with from efforts to record erda, or thrl, dhri, dri in two spellings for the same word, we cannot always decide whether two pronunciations are actually represented. Suppose that texts of neighboring dialects show the spelling asca for a word in one of the dialects and ascha for the same word in the other; if the sound is the same, the transcriptions point to an orthographic fluctuation if not, the difference is phonological and dialectal, as in the Greek forms paizo, paizdo, palddo. Or two successive periods may be ' The discrepancy between spelling and pronunciation is of course more Btriking in English than in French: two perfectly riming sounds are WTitten fight and bite; c stands for the same sound as both s and k; etc. [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 30 The English forms involved. by what, wheel, etc. Does hwat, hweel, etc. were later replaced this point to a graphic change or to a phonetic change? discussion boils down to this: writing obscures not a guise for language but a disguise. That fact is The preceding language ; it is clearly illustrated by the spoken sound (wazo) is spelling of indicated by 'bird.' Not one own symbol. Here writing French oiseau its to record any part of the picture of language. Another result is that the less writing represents what it is supposed to represent, the stronger the tendency to use it as a basis becomes. Grammarians never fail to draw attention to the written form. Psychologically, the tendency is easily explained, but its consequences are annoying. Free use of the words "pronounce" and "pronunciation" sanctions the abuse and reverses the real, legitimate relationship between writing and language. Whoever says that a certain letter must be pronounced a certain way is mistaking the written image of a sound for the sound itself. For French oi to be pronounced wa, this spelling would have to fails exist independently; actually wa is written oi. oddity to an exceptional pronunciation of o and for this impUes that language depends on certain hberties may its be taken in writing, as To i is attribute the also misleading, written form and that if the graphic symbols were the norm. False notions about the relationship between sound and graphic symbols appear even in grammatical rules, as in the case of French h. Some words that begin with an unaspirated vowel are written with h through remembrance of their Latin forms: homme 'man' (formerly ome) because of Latin homo. But in words of Germanic origin, initial h was actually pronounced: hache 'hatchet,' hareng 'herring,' honte 'shame,' etc. As long as aspiration was used, words of Germanic origin obeyed the laws governing initial consonants: speakers said deu haches 'two hatchets,' le hereng 'the herring'; other words obeyed the laws governing initial vowels speakers said deu-z-ommes 'two men,' Vomme 'the man.' For that period the rule, "Liaison and elision do not occur before aspirated /i," was correct. But nowadays the formula is meaningless. Aspirated h no longer exists unless the label is applied to something which is not ; : •. GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE 31 a sound but which prevents liaison and elision. Again we are circle, and h is but a fictitious offspring of involved in a vicious writing. The pronunciation of a word is determined, not by its spelling, its history. The form of a word at a particular moment but by moment govern determined by the preceding step. The only thing to consider is the one most often forgotten the evolution of the word, its etymology. The name of the town of Auch is o§ in phonetic transcription. That is the only French word in which final ch stands for I. But we explain nothing by saying, "Final ch is pronounced 5 only in Auch." The only question that concerns us is this How could Latin Auscii have changed to o§? Orthography is unimportant. Should French gageure 'wager' be pronounced with o or ii? Some speakers say gazor, for heure 'hour' is pronounced dr. Others say No, it is gazilr, for ge is equivalent z, as in gedle 'jail.' The argument is pointless. The real issue is etymological gageure was formed from gager 'earn' just as tournure 'figure' was formed from tourner 'turn'; only gaziir is justifiable; gazor is due solely to the equivocal nature stands for a its evolution. Each in its enforced evolution. Precise laws step is : : : : of writing. But the tyranny of writing goes even further. By imposing itself upon the masses, spelling influences and modifies language. This happens only in highly literate languages where written texts play an important role. Then visual images lead to wrong pronunciations; such mistakes are really pathological.^" Spelling practices many French words. For surname Lef^vre (from Latin /a6er), one popular and simple, the other learned and etymological: Lefevre and Lefebvre. Because v and u were not kept apart in the old system of writing, Lefebvre was read as Lefebure, with a b that had never really existed and a u that was the result of ambiguity. Now, the latter form is actually pronounced. Mispronunciations due to spelling will probably appear more frequently as time goes on, and the number of letters pronounced cause mistakes in the pronunciation of instance, there were two spellings for the '" Pathology was given currency in French by Littr6. It was used subsequently by Gilli6ron and Darmsteter as well as by Saussure. See note 6. [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 32 by speakers will probably increase. Some Parisians already pronounce the t in sept femmes 'seven women' ;^^ Darmsteter foresees the day when even the last two letters of vingt 'twenty' will be pronounced truly an orthographic monstrosity. Such phonic deformations belong to language but do not stem from its natural functioning. They are due to an external influence. Linguistics should put them into a special compartment for observation: they are teratological cases.^ — Chapter VII PHONOLOGY^' 1. Definition Whoever consciously deprives himseK of the perceptible image word runs the risk of perceiving only a shapeless and unmanageable mass. Taking away the written form is like deprivof the written ing a beginning To swimmer of his substitute immediately life belt. what is natural for what is artificial would be desirable; but this is impossible without first studying the sounds of language apart from their graphic symbols, sounds are only vague notions, and the prop provided by writing, though ; deceptive, is still preferable. The first linguists, w^ho knew nothing about the physiology of articulated sounds, were constantly falling it means a first step in the direction of truth, for sounds themselves furnishes the desired prop. Modern the study of into a trap to me, ; " The pronunciation [se] is now obsolescent. Cf. the trend toward pronouncing the t in often. [Tr.] '2 Saussure's terminology is reminiscent of the biological parlance of Gillieron (e.g. in Pathologie et therapeidique verbales, Paris, 1921). [Tr.] Saussure later modifies and expands his definition of phonology (see especially pp. 34, 42 ff., 117 ff. and 131). Only M. Grammont has followed Saussure's practice. English and American linguists often use phonology to indicate the historical study of sounds or the study of the functioning of Bounds in a particular language, phonetics for the study of the modaUtiea of sounds used in speaking, and phonemics (corresponding to French phonologie and German Phonologie) for the study of the distinctive sounds of language. '^ [Tr.] — PHONOLOGY have linguists finally seen the light; investigations started by others 33 pursuing for their own ends (physiologists, theoreticians of have given linguists an auxiliary science that from the written word. The physiology of sounds (German Laut- or Sprachphysiologie) singing, etc.), they has freed is it often called phonetics (French phonetique, me this name seems German Phonetik) To . inappropriate. Instead, I shall use -phonology. For phonetics first designated —and should continue to designate the study of the evolutions of sounds. Two absolutely distinct dis- lumped together under the same name. a historical science; it analyses events and changes, ciplines should not be Phonetics is and moves through time. Phonology is outside time, for the articulatory mechanism never changes. The two studies are distinct but not opposites. Phonetics is a basic part of the science of language; phonology this bears repeating is only an auxiliary discipline and belongs exclusively to speaking (see pp. 17 ff.). Just what phonational movements could accomplish if language did not exist is not clear; but they do not constitute language, and even after we have explained all the movements of the vocal apparatus necessary for the production of each auditory impression, we have in no way illuminated the problem — — of language. It is a system based on the mental opposition of audi- tory impressions, just as a tapestry is a work of art produced by the visual oppositions of threads of different colors; the important is the role of the oppositions, not the process through which the colors were obtained. An outUne of the phonological system is given in the Appendix; here I am trying merely to determine the extent to which pho- thing in analysis nology can help linguistics to escape the delusions of writing. 2. Phonological Writing The linguist needs above all else a means of transcribing articu- lated sounds that will rule out all ambiguity. Actually, countless graphic systems have been proposed. What are the requirements for a truly phonological system of writing? First, there should be one symbol for each element of the spoken chain. This requirement is not always considered. Thus English phonologists, concerned with classification rather than COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 34 analysis, have two- and three-letter S5anbols for certam sounds. Second, there should be some means for making a rigid distinction between implosive and explosive sounds (see pp. 49 ff.). Are there grounds for substituting a phonological alphabet for a system already in use? Here I can only broach this interesting subject. I think that phonological writing should be for the use of it be possible to make the English, adopt a uniform system! Next, an alphabet applicable to all languages would probably be weighed down by to say nothing of the distressing appeardiacritical marks; and ance of a page of phonological writing attempts to gain precision linguists only. First, Germans, French, how would etc. — — would obviously confuse the reader by obscuring what the writing was designed to express. The advantages would not be sufficient to compensate for the inconveniences. Phonological exactitude is not very desirable outside science. Reading is another issue. We read in two ways: a new or unbut a common, ordinary known word is spelled out word is embraced by a single glance, independently of its letters, so that the image of the whole word acquires an ideographic value. letter by letter; Here traditional orthography takes revenge. It is useful to distinguish between French tant 'so much' and temps 'weather'; et 'and,' est 'is,' and ait 'have'; du 'of the' and diX 'had to'; il devait *he owed' and Us devaienl 'they owed,' etc.^* Let us hope only that the most flagrant absurdities of writing will be eliminated. Although a phonological alphabet is helpful in the teaching of languages, its use should not be generalized. Validity of Evidence Furnished by Writing spelling reform should immediately 3. One must not think that follow the realization that writing tribution of phonology is is deceptive. dealing with the written form through which to reach language. Evidence furnished when interpreted. We phonological system, must draw up i.e. The genuine con- in providing precautionary we must by writing Cf. English valid only a description of the sounds with which differentiated phonemes. This system " pass in order is for each language studied a functions; for each language operates on a fixed ; measures for sow and sew; to, too, is number it of well- the only set of facts that and two; due and dew, etc. [Tr.] PHONOLOGY interests the linguist. blance to it; 35 Graphic symbols bear but a faint resem- the difficulty of determining the accuracy of the resemblance varies according to the idiom and circumstances. The linguist who deals with a language of the past has only indirect data at his disposal. What resources can he use in setting up its phonological system? and foremost is external evidence, especially contemporary descriptions of the sounds and pronunciations of the period. French grammarians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially those interested in teaching foreigners, left us many interesting observations. But the information contained in the 1) First writings of contemporaries phonological method. whimsical and lacks is often vague, for the authors have no The terminology evidence must in turn be interpreted. of their descriptions is The result is that their Names given to sounds, for scientific precision. Greek grammarians called voiced b, d, g, etc. "middle" consonants (mesai), and voiceless p, t, k, etc. psllai, which Latin grammarians translated by tenues. 2) More accurate information will result from combining external data with internal evidence, which I shall class under two instance, are often misleading: headings. a) The first class phonetic evolutions. another period is comprises evidence based on the regidarity of letter stood for during Knowing what sound a important in determining the value of that letter. an evolution that allows us to cast aside certain hypotheses from the outset. For instance, the exact value of Sanskrit q is unknown, but the fact that it replaced palatal Proto-Indo-European k clearly limits the field of conjecture. If the hnguist knows both the point of departure and the parallel evolution of similar sounds of a particular language during the same period, he can use analogical reasoning and set up a proIts present value is the result of portion. Naturally, the problem of determining an intermediate prois easier when both the starting point and the end unknown. French an (e.g. in sauter 'jump') must have been a diphthong during the Middle Ages, for it is half-way between older al and modern o. And if we learn by some other means that the diphthong still existed at a particular moment, we nunciation result are COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 36 are safe in assuming that it also existed during the preceding period. We do not know exactly what z stands for in a word like Old German High wazer; but our guideposts are the older form water on the one hand and Modern German Wasser on the other. The z must be a sound half-way between t and s; we can reject any hypothesis that fails to consider both t and s; to hold that z stands for a palatal sound, for example, would be impossible, for only a dental articulation can logically come between two other dental articulations. b) There are several types of contemporary evidence. Spelling differences furnish one of many types. During one period we find that Old High German has wazer, zehan, ezan but never wacer, cehan, etc. When we find the forms esan and essan, waser and wasser, etc., however, we easily conclude that the sound of z was close to s but different from the sound that c stood for during the same period. The subsequent appearance of such forms as wacer proves that the two originally distinct phonemes became somewhat mingled. Poetic texts are invaluable documents in the study of pro- They furnish many types of information, depending on whether the system of versification is based on the number of syllables, quantity, or similarity of sounds (alliteration, assonance, and rime). Greek indicated certain long vowels in writing (e.g. o, transcribed co) but not others. We must consult the poets in order to find out about the quantity of a, i, and u. Thus rime allows us to determine until what period the final consonants of Old French gras and faz (Latin facio '1 do') were different and from what moment they were brought together and merged. Rime and assonance also show that e derived from Latin a (e.g. yere 'father* from patrem, tel 'such' from talem, mer 'sea' from mare) was not pronounced like other e's. These words never appear in rime or assonance with elle 'she' (from ilia), vert 'green' (from viridem), nunciation. belle 'beautiful' Finally there (from is bella), etc. the evidence furnished by the spelling of loan- words, puns, cock-and-bull stories, etc. In Gothic, for example, kawtsjo reveals information about the pronunciation of cautio in Vulgar Latin. That French roi 'king' was pronounced rwe at the end of the eighteenth century is attested by the following story cited by Nyrop (Grammaire historique de la langue frangaise. PHONOLOGY 37 A woman who had been brought before the revolutionary was asked whether she had not said in the presence of witnesses that a king {roi) was needed; she replied "that she was not speaking of a king like Capet or the others at all, but of a p. 178) : tribunal rouet mattre 'spinning wheel.' " some knowledge system of a period as well as to interpret and All the foregoing procedures help us to acquire of the phonological use profitably the evidence furnished by writing. In dealing with a living language, the only rational method consists of (a) setting observation, sent and (b) up the system —imperfectly—these to the old letter is method that pronounced of sounds as revealed by direct observing the system of signs used to repreI sounds. have Many criticized in the language grammarians still hold and simply tell how each they wish to describe. By using the older method, however, they cannot present clearly the phonological system of an idiom. Nevertheless, great strides in the right direction have already been taken, and phonologists have made an important contribution toward reforming our ideas about writing and spelling. APPENDIX Principles of Phonology Chapter I PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES L Definition of the Phoneme we were able to use given by Saussure in [For this part a stenographic reproduction of 1897, "Theorie de la syllabe," which he also touches upon the general principles discussed in Chapter I; moreover, much of the material in his personal notes deals with phonology; on many points, the notes illuminate and complete the data furnished by Courses I and III. (Editors' note.)] three lectures in Many phonologists limit themselves almost exclusively to the phonational act, i.e. the production of sound by the vocal organs and neglect the auditory side. Their method wrong. Not only does the auditory impression come to us just as directly as the image of the moving vocal organs, but it is also the basis of any theory. Auditory impressions exist unconsciously before phonological units are studied; our ear tells us what b, t, etc. (larynx, mouth, etc.) is are. Even if all the movements made by the mouth and larynx in pronouncing a chain of sounds could be photographed, the observer would still be unable to single out the subdivisions in the series of articulatory movements; he would not know where one sound began and the next one ended. Without the auditory impression, how can we say that in fal, for instance, there are three units rather than two or four? But when we hear a sound in a spoken chain, we can identify it immediately; as long as there is an impression of homogeneity, the sound is unique. What matters is not the length of the sound (cf fdl and fdl) but the quahty of the impression. The sound-chain is not divided into equal beats but . homogeneous ones; each beat is characterized by unity of impression, and that is the natural point of departure for into phonology. 38 PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES 39 Here the early Greek alphabet is noteworthy. Each simple sound is represented in Greek by a single graphic sign, and each sign always stands for the same simple sound. The Greek alphabet was an ingenious discovery that was later handed down to the Romans. In the transcription of bdrharos 'barbarian/ each corresponds to a homogeneous beat: letter BAPBAPOS In the drawing above, the horizontal line stands for the phonetic chain, and the short vertical bars indicate passage from one sound to another. In the early Greek alphabet there are no complex graphs like English sh for s, no interchangeable letters for single sounds like c and s for s, no single signs for double sounds — A like x for one-to-one ratio between sounds and graphs the necessary and sufficient basis for a good phonological system of writing was realized almost completely by the Greeks.^ ks. — Other nations did not grasp this principle, and their alphabets do not analyze the spoken chain according to its homogeneous auditory beats. The Cypriots, for example, stopped at more complex units like pa, ti, do, etc. Such notation is called syllabic, but this name is hardly accurate since there are still other types of The Semites indicated only the con- syllables (e.g. pak, tra, etc.). They would have sonants. transcribed a word like bdrbaros as BRBRS. Delimitation of the sounds of the spoken chain can be based only on auditory impressions; but description of these sounds is an entirely different process. Description can be carried out only on for kh, th, ph; <^EPO stands for ph^ro; they wrote X, 0, a later innovation; archaic inscriptions read KHAPIS and not XAPIS. The same inscriptions have two signs for k, kappa and koppa, but the situation is different: two real differences in pronunciation were involved, 1 but To be this sure, is being sometimes palatal and sometimes velar; besides, koppa later disA; appeared. Finally and this is a more subtle point in early Greek and Latin inscriptions a double consonant is often indicated by a simple letter (e.g. Latin fuisse, written FUISE) this is an infraction of the principle since the doul)le s lasts two beats beats that are not homogeneous, as we shall see later, and that make distinct impressions; but the mistake is excusable since the two sounds have a common characteristic even though they are distinct (cf. pp. 51 ff.). [S.] — — ; — COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 40 the basis of the articulatory act, for ments involved in own it is impossible to analyze the We must go back to the movephonation there, a given sound obviously cor- units of sound in their chain. ; responds to a given act: b (auditory beat) = b' (articulatory beat). The first units obtained by cutting the spoken chain are made up of b and b' they are phonemes; a phoneme is the sum of the auditory impressions and articulatory movements, the unit heard and ; the unit spoken, each conditioning the other: thus it is a complex unit with a foot in each chain. The elements first obtained through analysis of the spoken chain they are irreducible moments that are like the links of this chain : cannot be studied outside the time that they occupy. A grouping Uke ta, for instance, will always be one moment plus another, one fragment of a certain length plus another. Against this, the irtaken separately, can be studied in the abstract, outside can speak of t in general as the T species (I use capitals to indicate species), of i in general as the / species, etc. if we consider only the distinctive character of a sound and neglect everything that depends on succession in time. Similarly, a musical reducible time. t, We series do, re, but if I mi can be one of select treated only as a concrete series in time, its irreducible elements, I can study it in the abstract. Having analyzed a sufficient number of spoken chains from different languages, the phonologist can identify and classify the elements with which each language operates. Then, if he ignores acoustically unimportant variations, he will find that the number of species describe is not indefinite. Special works hst these species and in detail.^ Here I wish merely to show the simple, them invariable principles upon which any such classification is based. me say a few words about the vocal apparatus, the possible functioning of the different organs, and the role of these same organs as producers of sound. But first let 2 Cf Sievers, Grundziige der Phonetik, fifth ed., 1902; Jespersen, Lehrbtich der Phonetik, second ed., 1913; Roudet, Elements de phonetique generale, 1910. [Ed.] . — . PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES The Vocal Apparatus and 2. 1) I 41 Its Functioning^ limit description of the vocal apparatus to a schematic drawing in which A designates the nasal cavity, B the oral cavity, and C the larynx (with the glottis e between the two vocal cords) In the mouth, the parts of the vocal apparatus that should be singled out are these the lips a : ing the point and 7 the rest) up of the bony hard palate f-h brane or soft palate The Greek lation ; ; i and a; the tongue jS y (/? designat- the upper teeth d; the palate, in the front made and the movable mem- in the back; and, finally, the letters indicate uvula 5. organs that are active during articu- the Latin letters identify the passive parts. z, made up of two parallel muscles or vocal cords, opens when the cords are drawn apart and closes when they come together. Complete closure does not occur; the opening is sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. When the opening is wide, allowing The glottis ' Saussure's brief description has been supplemented by material based on Jespersen's Lehrbuch der Phonetik, from which we have also borrowed the principle used in setting up the table of phonemes below (see pp. 44 ff.). But we are merely carrying out Saussure's intent, and the reader may be assured that these additions do not alter his thought in any way. [Ed.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 42 the air to pass freely, no vibration is heard; voicing occurs when through a narrow opening, causing the cords to vibrate. There is no other alternative in the normal emission of sounds. The nasal cavity is a completely immobile organ the stream of air can be stopped only by raising the uvula 6; it is an open or a air passes ; closed door. The oral cavity offers a wide range of possibilities; the lips can be used to increase the length of the channel, the jaws can be puffed out or drawn in, and a great variety of movements of the lips and tongue can be used to contract or even to close the cavity. The role played by the same organs in producing sounds is directly proportional to their mobility uniformity in the function; ing of the larynx and nasal cavity is matched by diversity in the functioning of the oral cavity. expelled from the lungs first passes through the produce a laryngeal sound by tightening the vocal cords, but the larynx cannot produce phonological varieties that allow us to separate and classify the sounds of language; in this respect, the laryngeal sound is uniform. Perceived directly as it emitted by the glottis the sound seems to have an almost invariable quality. The nasal channel serves as nothing more than a resonator for the vocal vibrations that pass through it. It does not function as a producer of sound. The oral cavity, on the contrary, functions both as a producer of sound and as a resonator. When the glottis is wide-open, there is no laryngeal vibration the sound that is heard originates in the oral cavity (I leave to the physicist the task of deciding whether it is a sound or merely a noise). But when tightening of the vocal cords causes the glottis to vibrate, the mouth serves mainly to modify the laryngeal sound. In short, the factors involved in the production of sound are Air that is glottis. It is possible to ; expiration, oral articulation, vibration of the larynx, and nasal resonance. But simple enumeration does not identify the differential prop- phonemes. In classifying phonemes, what constitutes them is of much less importance than what distinguishes them from each other. A negative force can be more important in classifying a erties of : PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES phoneme than a that is positive one. Thus expiration, a positive element part of every phonational act, has no dififerentiating value; but nasal resonance may phonemes by characterize negative force, just as well as by is 43 its presence. its absence, a The important thing that two of the elements enumerated above are constant, and that they are necessary and sufficient for the production of sound a) expiration 6) oral articulation; whereas the other two the first two: c) may be either absent or superimposed on vibration of the larynx d) nasal resonance. Moreover, we know that while possible the production of many a, c, and d are uniform, b makes varieties of sounds. We should also bear in mind that a phoneme is identified when its phonational act is determined, and that be determined when all species of phonemes phonational acts are identified. all The will fore- going classification of forces involved in the production of sound shows that phonational acts are differentiated only by b, c, and d. For each phoneme we must determine its oral articulation, whether a laryngeal sound is present (—-) or absent ([ ]), and whether nasal resonance is present (....) or absent ([ ]). When one of these three is unknown, the identification of a sound is incomplete. But as soon as all three are known, their different combinations determine all the basic species of phonational acts. The following table gives the possible variations: II III IV Expiration Oral Articulation Expiration Oral Articulation Expiration Oral Articulation I a Expiration 6 Oral Articulation c [ d [ Column [ [ I designates voiceless sounds, II voiced sounds. III and IV voiced nasalized sounds. But one unknown remains: the nature of the oral articulation; voiceless nasalized sounds, 44 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS therefore, the most important thing is to determine the possible varieties of oral articulation. Sounds According to Their Oral Articulation Sounds are generally classed according to the place of their 3. Classification of articulation. of My point of departure will be different. Regardless where articulation takes place, there is always a certain aperture, a certain degree of opening that ranges between two extremes, complete closure and maximum opening. On that basis, and proi.e., ceeding from minimum to maximum aperture, sounds will fall into seven categories that I shall designate by the numbers 0, 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Only within each category shall I distribute phonemes into different types according to their place of articulation. I shall conform to current terminology even though it is immany points: words like guttural, palatal, perfect or incorrect at more dental, liquid, etc. are all or less illogical. plan would be to divide the palate into a certain A more rational number of areas. Then by focusing attention on lingual articulation, it would always be possible to specify the main point of contact. In devising a formula, I shall draw upon this notion and use the letters of the sketch of the vocal apparatus (see p. 41) the number of the aper: ture is placed between a Greek letter (indicating an active organ) and a Latin letter (indicating a passive organ). Thus /30e means maintained while the tip of the tongue is placed against the upper alveolar ridge. Finally, within each articulation the different species of phonemes are marked by concomitant features laryngeal sound and nasal resonance which differentiate by their absence as well as that complete closure is — — by their presence. The two accompanying simple, rational means of should not expect to find and the formula provide a phonemes. Of course, one here phonemes that have a complex or features classifying special character, regardless of their practical importance (e.g. the aspirates ph, dh, etc. ; the affricates t§, dz, pf, etc. to find ; palatalized con- weak vowels like 9 or mute e, etc.). Nor should one expect simple phonemes that have no practical importance and sonants; that are not considered differentiated sounds. : PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES 45 A. Zero Aperture: Occlusives Occlusives include all phonemes produced by complete the airtight but brief sealing of the oral cavity. This is closure, not the place is produced when closure or release be produced in either way (see pp. 51 ff.). to discuss whether a sound occurs; actually The three it may main types of occlusives are places of articulation: labials (p, gutturals (A;, g, n). The first type of the tongue is is h, named according m); dentals {t, d, to their n); and articulated with the lips; for the second, the tip placed against the front of the palate for the third, ; the back of the tongue makes contact with the back part of the palate. Many languages, notably the Indo-European, tion between area) two guttural and the other velar articulations, (in the i area), make a one palatal (in but elsewhere distinc- the f-h (e.g. in English) the difference goes unnoticed and the ear likens a back k (such as the sound of The following phonemes LABIALS c in cart) to a front k (as in king). table gives the formulas for the various occlusive . COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 46 mouth is completely closed during their articulation, the opening them wider aperture (see Class C). of the nasal channel gives B. Aperture 1: Fricatives or Spirants The phonemes of Class B are characterized by incomplete closure air to pass through the oral cavity. The name too general; while the word fricative tells nothing about the degree of closure, it does suggest friction resulting from the expulsion of air (Latin fricdre) The phonemes of Class B, unlike those of Class A, do not fall into which allows the spirant is all three types. First, labials proper (corresponding to p and b) are by them between the lower lip labiodentals, which are produced by contact and upper teeth (/ and v). Dentals are divided into several vararely used I shall disregard ; ; they are ordinarily replaced depending on the shape which the tip of the tongue takes on making contact; without going into detail, I shall use jS, 0', and rieties, j8" to designate the different shapes of the tip of the tongue. Among the sounds that involve the palate, the ear generally singles out a front articulation (palatal) and a back articulation (velar) ^ LABIO- DENTALS ^ . PHONOLOGICAL SPECIES Is there a among sound among the the occlusives — i.e. fricatives to a nasal v, z, 47 match n, m, etc.? It is easy to n, etc. imagine is; for instance, a nasal v is heard in French inventer but in most languages the nasal fricative is not a dis- that there 'invent'; tinctive sound. C. Aperture 2: Nasals (see above, p. 46) D. Aperture Two 3: Liquids kinds of articulation are classed as liquids. In lateral articulation (indicated by (1) I in the formulas below) the tongue rests against the front palate but leaves an opening on both sides. It is possible to single out, languages lateral according to the place of and guttural of velar I. In most phonemes are voiced in the same way as 6, z, etc. articulation, dental /, palatal V , a voiceless lateral is not impossible it exists even in French, where an I that follows a voiceless phoneme may be pronounced without the laryngeal sound (e.g. the I of pluie 'rain' against the I of bleu 'blue') but speakers are not conscious of the difference. There is no point in discussing nasal /, which is very rare and Still, ; ; nondifferentiating, although sound (2) (e.g. the in I it does occur, especially after a nasal French branlant 'shaking'). In vibrant articulation (indicated by v in the formula below) is held farther from the palate than for I, but a variable the tongue number of contacts between the tongue and palate makes the aperture for vibrants equivalent to the aperture for laterals. Vibration is produced in two ways: with the tip of the thrust forward against the alveolar ridge (trilled back of the tongue in contact with the palate said about voiced or nasal laterals What was vibrants. 1 r), tongue or with the (a dorsal r or burr) is also applicable to COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 48 Beyond aperture pass to vowels. 3, Up is ; two tinction between the mechanism we enter into a new field from consonants we up the dis- to this point, I have not brought for a very simple reason the phonational : the same for both. parable in every way The formula for a vowel is to the formula for a voiced consonant. com- From the viewpoint of oral articulation, no distinction need be made. Only the acoustical aperture, the effect is different. mouth of the laryngeal Beyond a certain degree of functions mainly as a resonator: the timbre sound stands out, and oral noise decreases. How much of the larjmgeal sound is cut out depends on how tightly the mouth is closed; the wider the mouth is opened, the more noise lessens; thus sound predominates in vowels through a purely mechanical process. E. Aperture 4: h u, The vowels of Class ii E require much more closure than the other vowels almost as much as consonants. Certain consequences that will appear later justify the name semi- vowels, which is generally given to phonemes of Class E. The phoneme i is pronounced with retracted lips ( ) and front — — u with rounded hps (O) and back articulation, and ii with the lip position of u and the articulation of i. Like all other vowels, i, u, and ii have nasaUzed forms. Here we can disregard them since they are rare. It is worth noting, however, that the sounds written in and un in French are really not nasalized i and u (see below). articulation, Is there a voiceless The same i, i.e. articulated without a laryngeal sound? question arises for u and iX, and for all vowels. Such phonemes, corresponding to voiceless consonants, exist but are not to be confused with whispered vowels, i.e., vowels articulated with the glottis relaxed. Voiceless vowels are like the aspirated /I's that are pronounced before first heard, then a normal F. Aperture 5: e, o, them : in hi, an i. 6 i with no vibration is PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN The articulation of the to the articulation of (e.g. French e, i, of Class F corresponds exactly Nasalized vowels occur frequently phonemes u, ii. o as in pin 'pine,' pont 'bridge/ 6, 49 brun 'brown'). Voiceless forms are the aspirated h of he, ho, ho. N. B. Many languages single out several degrees of aperture within Class F; French, for instance, has at least two closed (e, o, other open e o as in de 'thimble,' dos 'back,' (e, p, p as in mer 'sea,' series, one deux 'two') and the mort 'death,' meurtre 'murder'). COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 50 sounds but also of expanses of spoken sounds; they still do not devote enough attention to the reciprocal relations of sounds. These relations are not immediately discernible; syllables are We have seen than their sounds. easier to identify some primitive systems of writing noted was the alphabetic system devised. Besides, it is (pp. 25 ff.) that syllabic units; only later never a simple unit that proves embarrassing in moment every a became o in a parwould result from the change; the linguist may simply record the phenomenon without trying to explain it phonologically. The science of sounds becomes invaluable only when two or more elements are involved in a relationship based upon their inner dependence, for the variations of each element are limited by the variations of the other element or elements the single fact that there are two elements calls for a relationship and a rule and this is quite different from a simple statement. In linguistics. If at a particular ticular language, nothing ; — trying to find a phonological principle, this science is then contra- by showing partiality to isolated sounds. Two phonemes are enough to lead to bewilderment. In Old High German, for instance, hagl, balg, wagn, lang, donr, dorn later became hagal, dicting itself halg, wagan, lang, donnar, dorn; the result differs according to the nature and the order of the phonemes involved sometimes a vowel occurs between the original consonants, sometimes the combina; tion is left intact. But how can the law be formulated? Where did the difference originate? Doubtless in the combinations of the con- sonants {gl, Ig, gn, etc.) contained in the words. obviously contains an occlusive that is Each combination either preceded or followed by a liquid or a nasal. But what does that prove? As long as we look upon g and n as homogeneous quantities, we cannot understand why the mere order of contact in g-n and n-g should affect the results. Beside the phonology of species, there is then room for a com- pletely different science that uses binary combinations and se- quences of phonemes as a point of departure, and this is something else entirely. In the study of isolated sounds, to note the position of the vocal organs is sufficient the acoustical quality of a phoneme ; is not an issue, for it is determined by the ear; as for articulation, — . PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN the speaker has unlimited freedom. 51 But when we come to the pronunciation of two sounds that are joined, the problem is not so simple we must bear in mind the possible discrepancy between ; the effect desired and the effect produced. We do not alwaj^s have what we intend. Freedom in linking phonological species is checked by the possibility of linking articulatory movements. To give an account of what takes place within groups, there should be a science of sound that would treat articulatory movements like algebraic equations: a binary combination implies a certain number of mechanical and acoustical elements the ability to pronounce that mutually condition each other; the variation of one has a necessary and calculable repercussion on the others. In a phonational act, the one thing which has a universal character that it above all the local differences of its phonemes is the mechanical regularity of the articulatory movements. The importance of combinatory phonology in general linguistics is obvious. places Whereas ing all traditional phonology generally gives rules for articulat- —variable and accidental elements of languages sounds and stops there, combinatory phonology limits the possibilities defines the constant relations of interdependent phonemes. and The case of hagl, balg, etc. (see p. 50) brings up the much discussed question of Proto-Indo-European sonants; now combinatory pho- most helpful grouping of phonemes nology is Though that is in resolving the question, for the syllabic is its sole concern from start to finish. not the only problem to be solved by the same method, one fact is of sonants unless we certain; we simply cannot discuss the question give full consideration to the laws that govern the combining of phonemes. 2. Implosion and Explosion from a basic observation: there is a perceptible two p's of appa. The first p from closure, the second from release. The two impressions I shall start difference in the pronunciation of the results are so similar that phoneticians used a single sequence pp (see indicate this difference identify p to transcribe the But we can use special signs (><) between the two p's of appa (appa) and p. 41, note). them when they do not to to follow each other (cf apta, aipa) . COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 52 This distinction holds for all other occlusives and for fricatives {ajja) nasals (aThma) liquids (alia) , including , all and for all phonemes in general, , vowels except a{a6oa). A p is speak in the same Closure has been termed implosion and release explosion. either implosive (p) or explosive (p). We may sense of closing and opening sounds. Doubtless we can single out, besides implosion and explosion, an is prolonged at will; and if a phoneme has wider aperture (cf. the I of alia) the emission of the sound itself continues while the vocal organs remain motionless. Generally, all spoken chains contain intermediate stretches that I interval during which occlusion shall call holds or sistants. But they are like implosive articulations, for their effect is the same. In the following pages I am going to consider only implosions and explosions.® The method I have outlined would be unacceptable prehensive treatment of phonology, but it is justifiable in a com- in a sketch designed to reduce the essentials of syllabication to as simple a plan as possible. I do not pretend to resolve thereby all the difficulties brought about by dividing the spoken chain into syllables, but simply to provide a rational basis for studying the problem. One further remark. Opening and closing movements necessary for the emission of sounds must not be confused with the different apertures of the sounds themselves. Any given phoneme can be both implosive and explosive, but aperture does not influence implosion and explosion in the sense that the two movements be- come still i: less distinct as ; similarly, in auua, i, u, u the difference is we can detect a closing i and an opening aperture increases. In quite apparent in alia auua the implosive sound and the following explosive sound differ so sharply that writing sometimes breaks its regular pattern and records the difference; English w, German j, Saussure's treatment of holds is one of the most debatable points in his theory. To prevent certain objections one should note that any sistant (e.g. that in the articulation of/) is the result of two forces: (1) the pressure of air against the opposing organs and (2) the resistance of the organs as they tighten to equalize the pressure. A hold is thus only continued implosion. That is why the effect is the same throughout whenever a hold and an implosive sound of the same species are uttered in sequence. Accordingly, to unite the two types of articulation in one mechanical and acoustical entity is not illogical. Explosion, on the contrary, is opposed to both: by definition it is a release. See also Section 6. [Ed.i ^ : PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN 53 and often French y (in yeux 'eyes/ etc.) stand for opening sounds u and i, which are used for u and I. But when the aperture is wider (e.g. e and o) it is hardly possible to distinguish between implosion and explosion in practice, although a difference is theoretically conceivable (cf. aeea, aboa). Finally, as we have in opposition to already seen, maximum aperture wipes out all difference; a has neither implosion nor explosion. The a, table of phonemes must therefore be redoubled, except and the following list of irreducible units set up V for COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 54 combination being clearly decomposable and if we consider it it is a thing which has no independent existence and with which we can do nothing. By itself, what does a combination like I + g mean? Two abstractions cannot form a this ; outside the spoken chain, moment in time. But to talk about Ik, tic, together the genuine elements of speaking why two Ik, tk, is and thus to draw quite different. Then embarrass traditional phonology, and the impossibility of working with abstract phonological units as it did is demonstrated. we see elements suffice to — — any simple phoneme considered in the pa or aya), implosion and explosion {dpa) occur successively. Doubtless any release must be preceded by closure. To take still another example, in pronouncing fp I must first establish closure for r, then articulate an opening r while closure for p is being formed by the lips. But I need only specify my viewpoint in order to answer that objection. In analyzing a phonational act, I One theory chain (e.g., p states that in in shall consider only the differential elements that make a distinct impression on the ear, allowing delimitation of the acoustical units of the spoken chain. Only the acoustic-motor units are to be considered; hence the articulation of explosive r along with implosive p is nonexistent to me, for it produces no perceptible sound, or at not important in the chain of phonemes. One must apprecileast ate this basic point fully in order to understand the developments is that follow. Different Combinations of Explosions and Implosions in the Chain Consider now what may result from each sequence of the four combinations of implosives and explosives that are theoretically 3. possible: (1) <>, (2) ><, (3) «, (4) ». Without breaking and implosive phonemes: kf, pi, yrh, etc. (e.g. Sanskrit kfta-, Enghsh pity, ProtoIndo-European *yrhto-, etc.). Of course, some combinations hke kl, etc. have no practical acoustical effect, but the fact remains that 1) Explosive-Implosive the spoken chain, Combination we can always (<>). join explosive the articulating of an opening k leaves the vocal organs in the right position for making closure at any given point. The two phonational movements do not interfere with each other. 2) Implosive-Explosive Combination (><). Under the same con- PHONEMES ditions IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN —and with the same reservations— it is join implosive and explosive phonemes: im, haima, English 55 always possible to etc. (e.g. Greek active, etc.). Jet, Of course the successive articulatory moments do not follow each other so naturally as they do in the reverse order of combination 1. The difference between initial implosions and explosions is this: explosion, which tends to neutralize the vocal organs, does not engage the following moment; but implosion sets up a definite position that cannot be the point of departure for just any explosion. For that reason one must always resort to some facilitating movement to put the organs necessary for articulating the second phoneme into the right position. While executing s in sp, for instance, the hps must close to prepare for opening p. But experience shows that the facilitating movement has no appreciable effect. It produces only a furtive sound that in no way interferes with the succession of the chain. 3) Implosive duced, but if Link («) Two consecutive explosions can be pro- . the second belongs to a phoneme of less or of equal aperture, the impression of acoustical unity that results in the opposite case or in the sequences of combinations 1 and 2 will be missing: pk can be pronounced (pka), but these sounds do not form a chain, for the P and K species have the same aperture. This rather unnatural pronunciation would result from stopping after the first On a of cha-pka.'' the contrary, pr gives the impression of (cf French rien Because at the very instant the first explosion occurs, the vocal organs have already assumed the right position for executing the second explosion without interfering with the continuity (cf price) . 'nothing'). ; nor does fy cause difficulty . Why? thus the organs are already in position being pronounced. But it is impossible to pronounce the reverse series rp, not because this is mechanically impossible (we can prepare for p while articulating opening f), but acoustical effect of the for the r of price while first; p is because the movement of the ture of p, f, coming against the smaller aperwould be imperceptible. Two separate movements would ^ To be sure combinations of explosive phonemes having the same aperture are very common in some languages (e.g. initial kt in Greek; cf. ktelno); although these combinations are easy to pronounce, they lack acoustical unity. (See the following note.) COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 56 be required to make fp audible, and the emission would be inter- rupted. A continuous explosive link may include more than two elements provided that each successive aperture is wider than the preceding one (e.g. kfwa). Aside from a few special cases which I cannot discuss in detail,^ the natural limit of the possible plosions is the number number of ex- of degrees of aperture distinguishable in practice. Link (>>). The reverse law governs the implosive whenever a particular phoneme is more open than the f ollow-_ 4) Implosive link : ing one, the impression of continuity persists (e.g. if, ft); if this — the following phoneme more open or has possible, but the impresthe same aperture— pronunciation condition is not met is if is still sion of continuity is lacking sf in dsfta : in cha-pka (see p. 55). This is basically the phenomenon alyzed in the explosive link in every way : same as parallels the in ft the i, pJc one an- by virtue of its narrower aperture, exempts r from explosion; in a link like fm, made up of phonemes with different points of articulation, rh does not exempt f from exploding but brings about the same result by covering its explosion completely. Otherwise, as in the reverse order mf, the furtive, mechanically indispensable explosion breaks the spoken chain. An implosive link, hke an explosive one, obviously can include more than two elements if each has wider aperture than the following one (cf. dfst). Leaving aside the breaking of links, we turn now to the normal continuous chain one that might be termed physiological as rep- — — * Through dehberate over-simpUfication, Saussure considers here only the degree of aperture of the phoneme, not the place and specific nature of its articulation (whether voiceless or voiced, vibrant or lateral, etc.)- Conclusions drawn from the principle of aperture alone are not applicable without exception to all actual cases. In a sequence like trya, for instance, only with difficulty can the first three elements be pronounced without breaking the chain: ifyd (unless y palatalizes the r and merges with it) but the three elements in try make a perfect explosive link (cf. also p. 63 concerning meurtrier, etc.); trwa, on the contrary, offers no difficulty. Links like pmla, etc., where it is difficult to avoid pronouncing the nasal implosively (pmld), should also be cited. The aberrant cases show up especially in explosion, an instantaneous act that ; tolerates absolutely no hindrances. [Ed.] PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN 57 by French particuUerement: pdfiikulyerrhd.^ The chain is characterized by a succession of graduated links corresented responding to a succession of releases and closures of the vocal organs. The normal chain thus defined makes possible the following observations which are of capital importance. 4. Syllabic Boundary and Vocalic Peak Passing from an implosion to an explosion in a chain of sounds _produces a peculiar effect that marks the syllabic boundary the ik of particuUerement) principle and a . The regular (e.g. coincidence of a mechanical definite acoustical effect assures the implosive- explosive combination of a right to existence in phonology. Its character persists regardless of the species that compose constitutes a type that contains as many it. It species as there are possible combinations. The syllabic boundary sometimes occurs at different points in the same series of phonemes, depending on the speed of passage from implosion to explosion. In ardra, for instance, neither the division dfdfd nor the division dfdfd breaks the chain, for both the implosive link dfd and the explosive link df are graduated. same would apply to Ulye of particuUerement (ulye or ulye) Next, (>) — we notice that in passing from silence to initial implosion e.g. art in artist— or in particuUerement is The . from explosion to implosion — the sound where the distinguished from neighboring sounds initial by its (<>) e.g. part implosion occurs own vocalic effect. way does the vocalic effect depend on the wider aperture of the sound a, for in pft, r produces the same effect; it is inherent in In no implosions regardless of their phonological species, initial i.e., their degree of aperture whether the implosion comes after a silence or ; after an explosion matters impression is little. A sound that makes a vocalic a vocalic peak. Vocalic peaks have also been called sonants, and in the same syllable con-sonants [consonantcs]. all other sounds Vowels and con- sonants [consonnes] designate different species (see p. 48) sonants ; ^ Note the iu iaf ii]. difference in the syllabication of English particularly [par tik [Tr.] : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 58 and con-sonants, on the other hand, designate functions within syllables. The dual system of terminology clears up the confusion that has existed for a long time. Thus the / species is the same in French fidele 'faithful' and pied 'foot'; it is a vowel ;^° but it is a sonant in fidele and a con-sonant in pied. Analysis shows that sonants are always implosive while non-sonants may be either implosive (e.g. I in English hoi, written hoy) or explosive (e.g. y in French fye, written pied). Analysis only confirms the distinction set up between the two classes. Regularly, e, o, a are sonants, but this is merely a coincidence having wider aperture than any of the other sounds, they are always at the beginning of an implosive chain. Conversely occlusives, which have minimum aperture, are always con-sonants. In practice phonemes of apertures 2, 3, and 4 (nasals, liquids, and semivowels) play either role, depending on contiguous sounds and the nature of their articulation. : 5. Criticism of Theories of Syllahication ear perceives syllabic division in every spoken chain The perceives a sonant in every syllable. still One can accept both wonder why they should hold have been it also facts and ; true. Different explanations offered. Noticing that some phonemes are more sonorous than others, some scholars have tried to base syllables on the sonority of pho1) nemes. But how is it that sonorous phonemes like i and u do not necessarily form syllables? Besides, where does sonority stop since fricatives like s are syllabic (e.g. pst)l If only the relative sonority at stake, how can one explain such comProto-Indo-European *wlkos 'wolf'), where the least sonorous element is syllabic? 2) E. Sievers was the first to show that a sound classed as a of sounds in contact binations as wl is (e.g. vowel does not necessarily make a vocalic impression (e.g. we saw above, p. 52 f., that y and w are nothing except i and u) but one who asks why a sound should have a dual function or a dual acous; — — "function" means just that is given this reply the function of a given sound depends on whether the sound re- tical effect, for ceives the "syllabic accent." This is a vicious "Cf. English /ee circle. If I [fij] and few am free [fju]. [Tr.] under all circumstances to PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN 59 place the syllabic accent that creates sonants wherever I choose, then the accent might as well be called sonantic. But if syllabic means anything, its meaning must derive from the laws of the syllable. Not only are such laws lacking, but the sonantic quahty is described as silbenbildend, as if the formation of syllables depended on syllabic accent. The difference between our method and (1) and (2) above is obvious: by analyzing syllables as they occur in the chain, we found the irreducible units, opening and closing sounds; then by com-_ bining these units, we were able to define the syllabic boundary_ and vocalic peak. Now we know the physiological conditions under which the acoustical effects must occur. The theories criticized above follow the opposite course: from isolated phonological species, the proponents of the theories pretend to deduce the boundary of the syllable and the position of the sonant. In a given series of phonemes, one pronunciation may be more natural and easier than another; but by and large the possibility of choosing between opening and closing articulations persists, and syllabication depends on the choice rather than directly on phonological species. Doubtless my theory neither exhausts nor resolves all questions. Hiatus, for example, which occurs very frequently, is simply a broken implosive link, deliberate or unintentional: e.g. i-d (in French il cria 'he shouted') and d-l (in French ebahi 'amazed')." It occurs more easily when the phonological species have wide aperture. There are also broken explosive links which, though ungraduated, fall into a phonetic chain just as do normal groups. I mentioned one example earlier, kteino (see p. 55, note). Or take the sequence -pzta: normally it can be pronounced only pzta; it should comprise two syllables, and it does have two if the laryngeal sound pronounced distinctly; but if z is muffled, the opposition between it and a is insufficient since z is one of the phonemes that require least aperture; the result is that only one syllable is per- of z is ceived and something like 'pzld is heard. broken explosive finks, when wifi and intention interfere, to some extent it wifi be possible to eschew physiological necesIn all " Cf. English rearm (z-d) and Aida (d-t). [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 60 Determining what is wilful and what is physiological is often But phonation depends on a succession of implosions and explosions, and this is basic in syllabication. sities. difficult. Length of Implosion and Explosion Our explanation of syllables in terms of the functioning of explosions and implosions leads to an important observation that is simply a generalization of a metrical fact. We can separate two types of long vowels in Latin and Greek: those long by nature (mater) and those long by position (factus). Why is fac counted long 6. in factus? because of the at combination? No, for if the combination alone determined length, every syllable beginning with two con- sonants would also be long; but this The real reason is that explosion is not true (cf. cliens, etc.). and implosion are basically with respect to length. The first is always so rapid that it cannot be measured by the ear; for that reason also, it never makes a vocalic impression. Only implosion is measurable; hence we feel that we dwell longer on the vowel where implosion begins. Besides, we know that vowels which occur before a combination of an occlusive or fricative and a liquid are treated in two ways: the a in patron may be either long or short the principle is the same in either instance. Actually if and If are pronounced with equal ease the first method of articulation allows a to remain short the second creates a long syllable. The same dual treatment of a is not possible in a word hke factus; ci can be pronounced, but ct cannot. different ; ; 7. ; Phonemes of Aperture 4; Diphthongs; Questions about Transcription Finally, the phonemes of aperture 4 call for We have seen that, remarks. some additional contrary to what happens with other = u,u = H; phonemes of aperture 4 (see p. 53). The reason is simple in groups like aiya, auwa the distinction between release and closure is more striking than elsewhere; z and H make a clear vocalic impression, I and il a consonantal impression.^ Without sounds, usage has sanctioned a double set of graphs (w y = I, i = i) for the : The i of aperture 4 must not be confused with the soft palatal fricative the g in North German liegen), a phonological species that has all the characteristics of a consonant. [S.] ^^ (e.g. PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN 61 I wish to point out that consonantal never accompanied by closure the I in ai never has the same effect as the y in aiya (cf English hoy and French 'pied) through position, then, ?/ is a consonant and i a vowel, for these variations pretending to explain the fact, i is : . ; do not occur and iv. of the I species to u and w, ii The preceding indifferently. The same remarks apply discussion clarifies the question of the diphthong. It is only a special kind of implosive link; dfta and duta are abso- lutely parallel; only the aperture of the second element A is different. an implosive link in which the second phoneme is relatively open, making a specific acoustical impression. We might say that the sonant continues in the second element of the combination. Conversely, a combination like iya is distinguished from a combination like tfa only by the degree of aperture of the last diphthong is means that what phonologists call ascending diphthongs are not really diphthongs but explosive-im plosive combinations in which the first element does not produce a specific acousexplosive. This even though it is relatively open (tyd). Combinations with the accent on H and ^ (e.g. buoh, liab in certain German dialects), are also false diphthongs that fail to make the impression of unity produced by 6u, di, etc.; we cannot pronounce Ho as implosive + implosive and avoid breaking the link without calhng in some device to impose an artificial unity on the tical effect like uo, !a, combination. Our — diphthong which relates it to the general shows that it is not, as one might think, an incongruous something not to be classed among phonological phenomena; there is no need for putting it into a special category. The uniqueness of the diphthong is really of no interest or importance the important thing is to determine, not the end of the sonant, but its beginning. definition of the principle of implosive links — ; many other linguists make a distinction in writing etc. and f, u, ii, r, n, etc. (} = unsilhisches i, E, Sievers and between i = i, u, ii, silhisches i) r, ; rj,, they write mirta, niairta, miarta while I write Having noticed that i and y belong to the same phonological species, they wanted especially to have a single mirta, mairta, myarta. generic sign for both sound is composed (still clinging to the notion that a chain of of species in juxtaposition). Their transcription, COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 62 though based on oral evidence, is illogical and eliminates the very made: (1) opening i,u{= y, w) are confused with closing i, u (e.g. they cannot distinguish between newo and neuo) conversely, closing i, u are sliced in two (cf mirta and mairta). Here are some examples of difficulties that result from using Siever's system. First, Old Greek dwis and duls against rhewd and rheuma. The two oppositions occur under exactly the same phonological conditions and are usually indicated by the same graphic symbols. The u is either opening (w) or closing (u) depending upon whether the following phoneme is more open or more distinction that should be . ; closed. But the transcription duis, duis, rheuo, rhey,ina wipes out completely these oppositions. Similarly, in Proto-Indo-European the two series mater, mdtrai, mater es, mdtrsu and suneu, sunewai, sunewes, sunusu are strictly parallel in their dual treatment of both r and u. In the second series at least, the opposition between implo- But the transcription and explosives is that I have criticized {suneu, suneuai, suneues, sunusu) obscures the opposition. Existing distinctions between opening and closing sives crystal clear in writing. sounds (u, w, etc.) should not only be preserved but extended to cover the whole system. Thus we should write mater, mdtpai, mdtepes, mdtrsu; then the functioning of syllabication would stand out; vocalic peaks and syllabic boundaries would be revealed. Editor's Note. The theories discussed above throw light on several problems, some of which Saussure touched upon in his lectures. We shall give a few examples. 1) Sievers cites heritrynnn (German herittenen) as a typical example to show that a single sound may alternately function twice as a sonant and twice as a non-sonant (actually n functions only once as a con-sonant, and the word should be transcribed heritrinn,, but that matters little) No example would show more clearly that "sound" and "species" are not synonymous. For if we dwell on the n, i.e. implosion and sistant articulation, the result is only a long syllable. To create an alternation of sonantic and con-sonantic n's, we would have to pass from implosion (first n) to explosion (second n) and back to implosion (third n). Since the two implosions are preceded by no other implosion, both are sonantic. 2) In French words like meurtrier 'murderer,' ouvrier 'worker/ . PHONEMES IN THE SPOKEN CHAIN 63 formed only one syllable regardless of how they were actually pronounced (cf. p. 56, note). Later, speakers began to pronounce them in two syllables (meur-tri-er, with or without hiatus, i.e. -IfU or ifiye). The change was brought about, not by placing a "syllabic accent" on the i element, but by changetc., final -trier, -vrier ing its The explosive articulation to implosive. \iilgar pronunciation of ouvrier is ouverier}^ This change is two syllables, but here the rather than the third changed its articulation similar to the dividing of -vrier into second element (r) and became a sonant uvfye -^ uvfye. : in front of sonantic 3) We might also An e subsequently developed r. well-known case of prosthetic vowels in French Latin scutum -^ ecu 'shield.' Here sk is a broken link cite the in front of s followed by a consonant iscutum —^ French escu, : (see p. 55) sk is more natural. But implosive s serves as a vocalic peak when at the beginning of the sentence or when the preceding word ends in a consonant with weak aperture. Prosthetic i and e only exaggerate the sonantic quality of s: any perceptible phonological characteristic tends to become more pronounced whenever speakers try to preserve it. The same phenomenon is responsible for esclandre 'scandal' and the vulgar pronunciations esquelette, estatue (Standard French squelette 'skeleton,' statue 'statue') it also shows up in the vulgar pronunciation of the preposition de 'of,' transcribed ed: un oeil ed tanche 'a tench's eye.' Through syncope de tanche became d'tanche; but to be perceptible in this position d must be implosive (dianche) the result was again the develop; ; ; ment of a prosthetic vowel. 4) It is scarcely necessary to come back to Indo-European so- nants and to ask, for example, why Old High German hagl changed to hagal while balg remained intact. Here the /, the second element of an implosive link (bdlg), functioned as a con-sonant and had no reason to change its function. But the I of hagl, also implosive, was a vocalic peak. Being sonantic, it developed a more open prosthetic vowel (an a if we accept spelling as evidence). The vowel became less distinct with the passage of time, however, and today Hagel is " Cf. English burglar. [Tr.] 64 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS again pronounced hdgl The quality of the I is responsible for the between the pronunciation of the German word and French aigle 'eagle' Hagel has a closing / while the French word has an opening / followed by a mute e (egh). difference : : PART ONE General Principles Chapter I NATURE OF THE LINGUISTIC SIGN 1. Sign, Signified, Signifier Some people regard language, a naming-process only —a list when reduced to its elements, as of words, each corresponding to the it names. For example This conception is open to criticism at several points. It assumes that ready-made ideas exist before words (on this point, see below, p. Ill) it does not tell us whether a name is vocal or psychological in nature (arbor, for instance, can be considered from either viewpoint) finally, it lets us assume that the linking of a name and a thing is a very simple operation an assumption that is anything but true. But this rather naive approach can bring us near the truth by showing us that the linguistic unit is a double entity, one thing that ; ; — formed by the associating of two terms. ARBOR EQUOS etc. We have seen in considering the speaking-circuit (p. 11) that both terms involved in the linguistic sign are psychological and are 65 : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 66 united in the brain by an associative bond. This point must be emphasized. The linguistic sign unites, not and a sound-image.^ The latter a thing and a name, but a concept not the material sound, a purely- is physical thing, but the psychological imprint of the sound, the impression that it makes on our senses. The sound-image is sensory, and if I happen to call it "material," it is only in that sense, and by way of opposing it to the other term of the association, which is generally more the concept, abstract. The psychological character of our sound-images becomes apwhen we observe our own speech. Without moving our lips or tongue, we can talk to ourselves or recite mentally a selection of verse. Because we regard the words of our language as soundimages, we must avoid speaking of the "phonemes" that make up parent the words. This term, which suggests vocal activity, is applicable to the spoken word only, to the realization of the inner image in We can avoid that misunderstanding by speaking of the sounds and syllables of a word provided we remember that the names refer to the sound-image. The linguistic sign is then a two-sided psychological entity that discourse. can be represented by the drawing The two elements are other. Whether we try to or the intimately united, and each recalls the find the meaning of the Latin word arbor word that Latin uses to designate the concept "tree," it is * The term sound-image may seem to be too restricted inasmuch as beside the representation of the sounds of a word there is also that of its articulation, the muscular image of the phonational act. But for F. de Saussure language is essentially a depository, a thing received from without (see p. 13). The soundimage is par excellence the natural representation of the word as a fact of potential language, outside any actual use of it in speaking. The motor side is thus implied or, in any event, occupies only a subordinate role with respect to the sound-image. [Ed.] ; NATURE OF THE LINGUISTIC SIGN 67 by that language appeal and we disregard whatever others clear that only the associations sanctioned to us to conform to might be imagined. Our reality, definition of the linguistic sign poses of terminology. I call an important question the combination of a concept and a sound- sign, but in current usage the term generally designates only a sound-image, a word, for example {arbor, etc.). One tends to forget that arbor is called a sign only because it carries the concept "tree," with the result that the idea of the sensory part image a imphes the idea of the whole. f t Ambiguity would disappear if the three notions involved here were designated by three names, each suggesting and opposing the others. I propose to retain the word sign [signe] to designate the /"whole and to replace concept and sound-image respectively by \signi££d^ [signifie] and signifier [signifiant] the last two terms have the advantage of indicatmg the opposition that separates them from each other and from the whole of which they are parts. As regards sign, if I am satisfied with it, this is simply because I do not know of any word to replace it, the ordinary language suggesting no other. ; The linguistic sign, as defined, has In enunciating them any study of this type. istics. 2. I two primordial character- am also positing the basic principles of Principle I: The Arbitrary Nature of the Sign The bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary. Since I mean by sign the whole that results from the associating of the signifier with the signified, I can simply say: the linguistic sign is arbitrary. The idea of "sister" is not linked by any inner relationship to the succession of sounds s-6-r which serves as its signifier in French 1 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 68 it could be represented equally by just any other sequence is proved by differences among languages and by the very existence of different languages: the signified "ox" has as its signifier 6-6-/ on one side of the border and o-k-s (Ochs) on the other. No one disputes the principle of the arbitrary nature of the sign, but it is often easier to discover a truth than to assign to it its proper place. Principle I dominates all the linguistics of language; its consequences are numberless. It is true that not all of them are equally obvious at first glance; only after many detours does one discover them, and with them the primordial importance of the that principle. One remark in passing: when semiology becomes organized as a science, the question will arise whether or not it properly includes modes of expression based on completely natural signs, such as pantomime. Supposing that the new science welcomes them, its will still be the whole group of systems grounded on main concern the arbitrariness of the sign. In fact, every means of expression used — on collective behavior or what amounts to the same thing on convention. Polite formulas, for instance, though often imbued with a certain natural expressiveness (as in the case of a Chinese who greets his emperor by bowing down to the ground nine times), are nonetheless fixed by rule; it is this rule and not the intrinsic value of the gestures that obliges one in society is based, in principle, — to use them. Signs that are wholly arbitrary realize better thg,n the others the ideal of the semiological process; that the most complex and^universal of is why langu^^, systems of expression, is als(r the most characteristic; in this sense linguistics can become the master-pattern for all branches of semiology although language is only one particular semiological system. all word sywhol has been used to designate the linguistic sign, more specifically, what is here called the signifier. Principle I in f^~.!The or particular weighs against the use of this term. symbol One characteristic not empty, rudiment of a natural bond between the signifier and the signified. The symbol of justice, a pair of scales, could not be replaced by just any other symbol, such as a chariot. The word arbitrary also calls for comment. The term should not of the is for there is the that it is never wholly arbitrary; it is : NATURE OF THE LINGUISTIC SIGN 69 imply that the choice of the signifier is left entirely to the speaker (we shall see below that the individual does not have the power to change a sign in any way once it has become established in the linguistic community) I mean that it is unmotivated, i.e. arbitrary in that it actually has no natural connection with the signified. ; In concluding let us consider two objections that might be raised to the establishment of Principle I Onomatopoeia might be used to prove that the choice of the not always arbitrary. But onomatopoeic formations are never organic elements of a linguistic system. Besides, their number is much smaller than is generally supposed. Words like French fouet 'whip' or glas 'knell' may strike certain ears with suggestive sonority, but to see that they have not always had this property we need only examine their Latin forms (fouet is derived from fdgus 'beech-tree,' glas from dassimim 'sound of a trumpet'). The quahty 1) signifier is of their present sounds, or rather the quality that is attributed to them, As etc.), is a fortuitous result of phonetic evolution. for authentic onomatopoeic words (e.g. glug-glug, tick-tock, not only are they limited in number, but also they are chosen somewhat they are only approximate and more or (cf English bow-bow and French ouaoua). In addition, once these words have been introduced into the language, they are to a certain extent subjected to less arbitrarily, for conventional imitations of certain sounds . —that the same evolution —phonetic, words undergo pigeon, ultimately from Vulgar Latin plpio, (cf. morphological, etc. derived in turn from an onomatopoeic formation) : other obvious proof that they lose something of their original character in order to assume that which is unmotivated. onomatopoeia, can be attacked on the same grounds and come no closer to refuting our of the linguistic sign in general, 2) Interjections, closely related to One in them spontaneous expressions of by natural forces. But for most interjections we can show that there is no fixed bond between their signified and their signifier. We need only compare two languages on thesis. is tempted to see reality dictated, so to speak, how much such expressions differ from one language to the next (e.g. the English equivalent of French ate! is ouch!). We know, moreover, that many interjections were once this point to see COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 70 words with specific meanings (of. French diable! 'darn!' mordieu! 'golly!' from mort Dieu 'God's death,' etc.)-^ Onomatopoeic formations and interjections are of secondary importance, and their symbolic origin is in part open to dispute. 3. Principle II: The Linear Nature of the Signifier The signifier, being auditory, is unfolded solely in time from it represents a span, which it and (b) the span is measurable in a single dimension; it is a line. While Principle II is obvious, apparently hnguists have always neglected to state it, doubtless because they found it too simple; nevertheless, it is fundamental, and its consequences are incalculable. Its importance equals that of Principle I; the whole mechanism of language depends upon it (see p. 122 f.). In contrast to visual signifiers (nautical signals, etc.) which can offer simultaneous groupings in several dimensions, auditory signifiers have at their command only the dimension of time. Their elements are presented in succession; they form a chain. This feature becomes readily apparent when they are represented in writing and the spatial line of graphic marks is substituted for succession in time. Sometimes the linear nature of the signifier is not obvious. When I accent a syllable, for instance, it seems that I am concentrating more than one significant element on the same point. But this is an illusion the S3'^llable and its accent constitute only one phonational act. There is no duality within the act but only different oppositions to what precedes and what follows (on this subject, see gets the following characteristics (a) : ; p. 131). *Cf. English goodness! and zounds! (from God's wounds). [Tr.] IMMUTABILITY AND MUTABILITY OF THE SIGN 71 Chapter II IMMUTABILITY AND MUTABILITY OF THE SIGN 1. Immutability appearances freely chosen with reis fixed, not free, with respect to the linguistic community that uses it. The masses have no voice in the matter, and the signifier chosen by language could be re- The signifier, though to spect to the idea that it all represents, placed by no other. This fact, which seems to embody a contradiction, might be called colloquially "the stacked deck." We say to "It must be this sign and no he willed it, could modify in any way at all the choice that has been made; and what is more, the community itself cannot control so much as a single word; it is language: "Choose!" but other." No we add: individual, even if bound No to the existing language. longer can language be identified with a contract pure and and it is precisely from this viewpoint that the linguistic a particularly interesting object of study; for language furnishes the best proof that a law accepted by a community is a simple, sign is is tolerated and not a rule to which all freely consent. Let us first see why we cannot control the linguistic sign and then draw together the important consequences that issue from the thing that phenomenon. No matter what period we choose or how far back we go, language always appears as a heritage of the preceding period. We might conceive of an act by which, at a given moment, names were assigned to things and a contract was formed between concepts and sound-images; but such an act has never been recorded. The notion that things might have happened like that was prompted by our acut£L.aw^a;feness-QLthe-^l5itFary_Jiature. of the sign. No society, in fact, knows or has ever known language other than as a product inherited from preceding generations, and one to be accepted as such. That is why the question of the origin of speech COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 72 is not so important as it is generally assumed to be. The question^ not even worth asking; the only real object of linguistics is the^ normal, regular life of an existing- idioin.,^A particular language-' state is always the product of historical forces, and these forces is explain why the sign is unchangeable, i.e. why it resists any arbitrary substitution. Nothing is explained by saying that language is something and leaving it at that. Can not existing and inherited laws be modified from one moment to the next? To meet that objection, we must put language into its social setting and frame the question just as we would for any other inherited social institution. How are other social institutions transmitted? This more general question includes the question of immutability. We must first determine the greater or lesser amounts of freedom that the other institutions enjoy; in each instance it will be seen that a different proportion exists between fixed tradition and the free action of society. The next step is to discover why in a given category, the forces of the first type carry more weight or less weight than those of the second. Finally, coming back to language, we must ask why the historical factor of transmission dominates it and prohibits any sudden widespread change. There are many possible answers to the question. For example, one might point to the fact that succeeding generations are not superimposed on one another like the drawers of a piece of furniture, but fuse and interpenetrate, each generation embracing individuals of all ages— with the result that modifications of language are not tied to the succession of generations. One might also recall the sum of the efforts required for learning the mother language and conclude that a general change would be impossible. Again, it might be added that reflection does not enter into the active use of an idiom speakers are largely unconscious of the laws of language; and if they are unaware of them, how could they modify them? Even if they were aware of these laws, we may be sure that their awareness would seldom lead to criticism, for people are generally satisfied with the language they have received. The foregoing considerations are important but not topical. The following are more basic and direct, and all the others depend on them. entirely — ; IMMUTABILITY AND MUTABILITY OF THE SIGN 1) The arbitrary nature of the 73 Above, we had to accept the sign. theoretical possibility of change; further reflection suggests that the arbitrary nature of the sign really is what protects language from any attempt to modify it. Even if people were more conscious of language than they are, they would still not know how to discuss it. The reason is simply that any subject in order to be discussed must have a reasonable basis. It is possible, for instance, to discuss whether the monogamous form of marriage is more reasonable.than the polygamous form and to advance arguments to support either ^side. One could also argue about a system of symbols, for the sym\ bol has a rational relationship with the thing signified (see p. 68) but language is a system of arbitrary signs and lacks the necessary basis, the solid ground for discussion. There is no reason for ) ; -pfefe rring soeurjia^istexi^OchsAo boeuf, etc. — "^ 2) The multiplicity of signs necessary to form any language. Another important deterrent to linguistic change is the great number of signs that must go into the making of any language. A system of writing comprising twenty to forty letters can in case of need be replaced by another system. The same would be true of language if it contained a limited number of elements; but linguistic signs are numberless. 3) The over-complexity of the system. system. In this one respect (as completely arbitrary but is we A language constitutes a shall see later) ruled to language some extent by is not logic; it is here also, however, that the inability of the masses to transform becomes apparent. The system is a complex mechanism that can be grasped only through reflection the very ones who use it daily are ignorant of it. We can conceive of a change only through the intervention of specialists, grammarians, logicians, etc.; but experience shows us that all such meddlings have failed. Language and this con4) Collective inertia toward innovation. it ; — — at every moment everybody's concern spread throughout society and manipulated by it, language is something used daily by all. Here we are unable to set sideration surpasses all the others^ is ; up any comparison between it and other institutions. The pre- scriptions of codes, religious rites, nautical signals, etc., involve only a certain number of individuals simultaneously and then only COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 74 during a limited period of time; in language, on the contrary, everyone participates at all times, and that is why it is constantly being by all. of revolution. Of influenced This capital fact show the impossibility is least amenable society, and the latter, inert suffices to all social institutions, to initiative. It blends with the life of language by nature, is a prime conservative force. But to say that language is a product of social forces does not suffice to show clearly that it is unfree; remembering that it is always the heritage ot the preceding period, we must add that these social forces are linked with time. Language is checked not only by the weight of the collectivity but also by time. These two are inseparable. At every moment solidarity with the past checks freedom of choice. We say man and dog. This does not prevent the existence in the total phenomenon of a bond between the two antithetical forces arbitrary convention by virtue of which choice is free and time which causes choice to be fixed. Because the sign is arbitrary, it follows no law other than that of tradition, and — because 2. it is based on tradition, it is arbitrary. Mutability Time, which insures the continuity of language, wields another influence apparently contradictory to the first: the more or less rapid change of linguistic signs. In a certain sense, therefore, we can speak of both the immutability and the mutability of the sign.' In the last analysis, the two facts are interdependent: the sign is exposed to alteration because it perpetuates itself. What predominates in all change is the persistence of the old substance; disregard for the past is only relative. That is why the principle of change is based on the principle of continuity. Change in time takes many forms, on any one of which an important chapter in linguistics might be written. Without entering what things need to be delineated. be no mistake about the meaning that we attach to the word change. One might think that it deals especially with into detail, let us see First, let there ^ It would be wrong to reproach F. de Saussure for being illogical or paradoxical in attributing two contradictory qualities to language. By opposing two striking terms, he wanted only to emphasize the fact that language changes in spite of the inability of speakers to change it. One can also say that it is intangible but not unchangeable. [Ed.] ^ ; IMMUTABILITY AND MUTABILITY OF THE SIGN phonetic changes undergone by the meaning which signifier, or affect the signified concept. 75 perhaps changes in That view would be inadequate. Regardless of what the forces of change are, whether in isolation or in combination, they relationship between the signified and always result in a shift in the the signifier. Here are some examples. Latin necare 'kill' became noyer 'drown' Both the sound-image and the concept changed; but it is useless to separate the two parts of the phenomenon; it is sufficient to state with respect to the whole that the bond between the idea and the sign was loosened, and that there was a shift in their relationship. If instead of comparing Classical Latin necare with French noyer, we contrast the former term with necare of Vulgar Latin of the fourth or fifth century meaning 'drown' the case is a little different; but here again, although there is no appreciable change in the signifier, there is a shift in the relationship between the idea and the sign.* Old German dritteil 'one-third' became Drittel in Modern German. Here, although the concept remained the same, the relationship was changed in two ways the signifier was changed not only in its material aspect but also in its grammatical form the idea of Teil 'part' is no longer implied; Drittel is a simple word. In one way in French. : ; or another there is always a shift in the relationship. In Anglo-Saxon the preliterary form fot plural *f6ti became fet (Modern English 'foot' remained while feet) Regardless of the other changes that are implied, one thing shift in their relationship; is . certain: there its was a other correspondences between the phonetic substance and the idea emerged. — -- Language is radically powerless to defend itself against the [forces which from one moment to the next are shifting the relationship between the signified and the signifier. This is one of the I i t consequences of the arbitrary nature of the sign. I — Unlike laligtra^e, other human institutions customs, laws, etc. are all based in varying degrees on the natural relations of things all have of necessity adapted the means employed to the ends pursued. Even fashion in dress is not entirely arbitrary; we can deviate only slightly from the conditions dictated by the human — * From May to July of 1911, Saussure used interchangeably the old terminology {idea and sign) and the new {signified and signifier). [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 76 body. Language is limited by nothing in the choice of means, for apparently nothing would prevent the associating of any idea whatsoever with just any sequence of sounds. To emphasize the fact that language is a genuine institution, Whitney quite justly insisted upon the arbitrary nature of signs; and by so doing, he placed linguistics on its true axis. But he did not follow through and see that the arbitrariness of language radiit from all other institutions. This is apparent from which language evolves. Nothing could be more complex. As it is a product of both the social force and time, no one can change anything in it, and on the other hand, the arbitrariness! of its signs theoretically entails the freedom of establishing_ju§l\ any relationship between phonetic substance and ideas. iThe result is that each of the two elements united in the sign maintains its own life to a degree unknown elsewhere, and that language changes, or rather evolves, under the influence of all the forces which can affect either sounds or meanings. The evolution is inevitable; there is no example of a single language that resists it. After a certain period of time, some obvious shifts can always be cally separates the way in recorded. Mutability languages. it is is so inescapable that Whoever it even holds true for artificial it only so long as creates a language controls not in circulation from the ; moment when it fulfills its mission and becomes the property of everyone, control is lost. Take Esperanto as an example if it succeeds, will it escape the inexorable law? Once launched, it is quite likely that Esperanto will enter upon a fully semiological life; it will be transmitted according to laws which have nothing in common with those of its logical creation, and there will be no turning backwards. A man proposing a fixed language that posterity would have to accept for what it is would be hke a hen hatching a duck's egg: the language created by him would be borne along, willy-nilly, by the current that ; engulfs all languages. Signs are governed by a principle of general semiology: continuity in time is coupled to change in time this ; is confirmed by orthographic systems, the speech of deaf-mutes, etc. But what supports the necessity for change? I might be reproached for not having been as explicit on this point as on the principle of immutability. This is because I failed to distinguish IMMUTABILITY AND MUTABILITY OF THE SIGN 77 between the different forces of change. We must consider their great variety in order to understand the extent to which they are necessary. The causes of continuity are a priori within the scope of the is better not observer, but the causes of change in time are not. It to attempt giving an exact account at this point, but to restrict discussion to the shifting of relationships in general. things; there all is Time changes no reason why language should escape this universal law. Let us review the main points of our discussion and relate them up in the Introduction. word definitions, within the total phenomenon represented by speech we first singled out two parts language and speaking. Language is speech less speaking. It is the whole set of linguistic habits which allow an individual to understand and to the principles set 1) Avoiding sterile : to be understood. 2) But this definition still leaves language makes language something artificial text; it con- outside its social since includes only it the individual part of reality; for the realization of language, a of speakers [masse parlante] is necessary. Contrary to appearances, language never exists apart from the social fact, community all for it is a semiological phenomenon. Its social nature is one of its inner characteristics. Its complete definition confronts us with two inseparable entities, as shown in this drawing: — But under the conditions described language is not living it has only potential life we have considered only the social, not the ; historical, fact. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 78 3) The would depends solely on a linguistic sign is arbitrary; language, as defined, therefore seem to be a system which, because rational principle, is free it and can be organized at will. Its social nature, considered independently, does not definitely rule out this viewpoint. Doubtless it is not on a purely logical basis that group psychology operates; one must consider everything that deflects reason in actual contacts between individuals. But the thing which keeps language from being a simple convention that can be modified at the whim of interested parties is not its social nature it is ; rather the action of time combined with the social force. If time is left out, the linguistic facts are incomplete and no conclusion is possible. If we considered language in time, without the —imagine an isolated individual Uving —we probably would notice no change; time speakers turies community of for several cen- influence language. Conversely, if we of speakers without considering time, considered the would not community we would not see the effect To represent the actual of the social forces that influence language. facts, we must then add to our first drawing a sign to indicate passage of time: Time Language is no longer free, for time will allow the social forces work on it to carry out their effects. This brings us back to the principle of continuity, which cancels freedom. But continuity at necessarily implies change, varying degrees of shifts in the relation- ship between the signified and the signifier. — STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 79 Chapter III STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 1. Inner Duality of All Sciences Concerned with Values Very few linguists suspect that the intervention of the factor of time creates difficulties peculiar to linguistics and opens to their science two completely divergent paths. Most other sciences are unaffected by this radical duality time ; produces no special effects in them. Astronomy has found that the stars undergo considerable changes but has not been obliged on this account to split itself into two disciplines. Geology is concerned with successions at almost every instant, but its study of strata does not thereby has its become a radically and its historical descriptive science distinct discipline. science; Law no one opposes unfolded solely one to the other. The political history of states is but a historian depicting a particular period does not work apart from history. Conversely, the science of poHtical institutions is essentially descriptive, but if the need arises it can easily deal with a historical question without disturbing its unity. in time, On the contrary, that duality is already forcing itself upon the economic sciences. Here, in contrast to the other sciences, political economy and economic history constitute two clearly separated disciplines within a single science; the works that have recently appeared on these subjects point up the distinction. Proceeding as they have, economists are without being well aware of it obeying an inner necessity. A similar necessity obliges us to divide linguistics into two parts, each with its own principle. Here as in political economy we are confronted with the notion of value; both sciences are concerned with a system for equating things of different orders labor and wages in one and a signified and signifier in the — — other. Certainly all sciences would profit by indicating the co-ordinates along which their subject matter is more precisely aligned. Every- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 80 where distinctions should be made, according to the following illustration, between (1) the axis of simultaneities (AB), which stands for the relations of coexisting things and from which the intervention of time is excluded; and (2) the axis of successions (CD), on which only one thing can be considered at a time but upon which are located all the things on the first axis together with their changes. c B T D For a science concerned with values the distinction is a practical necessity and sometimes an absolute one. In these fields scholars cannot organize their research rigorously without considering both co-ordinates and making a distinction between the system of values per se and the same values as they relate to time. This distinction has to be heeded by the linguist above all others, for language is a system of pure values which are determined by nothing except the momentary arrangement of its terms. A value — so long as it is somehow rooted in things and in their natural happens with economics (the value of a plot of ground, for instance, is related to its productivity) can to some extent be traced in time if we remember that it depends at each moment upon a system of coexisting values. Its link with things gives it, perforce, a natural basis, and the judgments that we base on such relations, as — values are therefore never completely arbitrary; their variability is limited. But we have in linguistics. just seen that natural data have no place STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 81 Again, the more complex and rigorously organized a system of is, the more it is necessary, because of its very complexity, values to study according to both co-ordinates. it No other system em- bodies this feature to the same extent as language. Nowhere else do we find such precise values at stake and such a great number and diversity of terms, all so rigidly interdependent. The multiplicity of signs, which we have already used to explain the continuity of language, makes it absolutely impossible to study simultaneously relations in time and relations within the system. The reasons for distinguishing two sciences of language are clear. How should the sciences be designated? Available terms do not all bring out the distinction with equal sharpness. "Linguistic history" and "historical linguistics" are too vague. Since political history includes the description of different periods as well as the narration of events, the student might think that he is studying a language according to the axis of time when he describes its successive states, but this would require a separate study of the phenomena that make language pass from one state to another. Evolution and evolutionary linguistics are more pressions often; in contrast, precise, and we can speak I shall use these ex- of the science of lan- guage-states [etats de langue] or static linguistics. But more clearly the opposition and crossing of two phenomena that relate to the same object, I prefer to synchronic and diachronic linguistics. Everything that to indicate orders of speak of relates to the static side of our science is synchronic; everything that has to do with evolution is diachronic. Similarly, synchrony and diachrony designate respectively a language-state and an evolutionary phase. 2. Inner Duality and The guage first the History of Linguistics thing that strikes us when we study the facts of lan- that their succession in time does not exist insofar as the is confronted with a state. That is why the linguist who wishes to understand a state must discard all knowledge of everything that produced it and ignore diachrony. He can enter the mind of speakers only by completely suppressing speaker is the past. It concerned. The He is intervention of history can only falsify his judgment. would be absurd to attempt to sketch a panorama of the Alps COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 82 by viewing them simultaneously from several peaks of the Jura; a panorama must be made from a single vantage point. The same applies to language; the linguist can neither describe it nor draw up standards of usage except by concentrating on one state. When he follows the evolution of the language, he resembles the moving observer who goes from one peak of the Jura to another in order to record the shifts in perspective. Ever since modern linguistics came into existence, it has been completely absorbed in diachrony. Comparative Indo-European philology uses the materials at hand to reconstruct hypothetically is but a means of reconThe method is the same in the narrower study of subgroups (Romance languages, Germanic languages, etc.); states an older type of language; comparison structing the past. intervene only irregularly and piecemeal. Such is introduced by Bopp. His conception of language therefore hybrid and is the tendency hesitating. this, what was the procedure of those who studied language before the beginning of modern linguistics, i.e. the "grammarians" inspired by traditional methods? It is curious to note that here their viewpoint was absolutely above reproach. Their works clearly show that they tried to describe language-states. Their program was strictly synchronic. The Port Royal Grammar, for example, attempts to describe the state of French under Louis XIV and to determine its values. For this, the language of the Middle Ages is not needed; the horizontal axis is followed faithfully (see Against p. 80), without digression. The method was then correct, but this does not mean that its application was perfect. Traditional gram- mar neglects whole parts of language, such as word formation; it normative and assumes the role of prescribing rules, not of recording facts it lacks overall perspective often it is unable even to separate the written from the spoken word, etc. Classical grammar has been criticized as unscientific; stiU, its basis is less open to criticism and its data are better defined than is true of the linguistics started by Bopp. The latter, occupying is ; ill-defined ground, has no clear-cut objective. It straddles two areas because states and ; it is unable to make a sharp distinction between successions. Linguistics, having accorded too large a place to history, will AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS STATIC 83 turn back to the static viewpoint of traditional grammar but a new spirit and with other procedures, and the historical in method will have contributed to this rejuvenation; the historical method will in turn give a better understanding of language-states. The old grammar saw only the synchronic fact; linguistics has revealed a new class of phenomena; but that is not enough; one must sense the opposition between the two classes of facts to draw out 3. all its consequences. Inner Duality Illustrated by Examples The opposition between the two viewpoints, the synchronic and the diachronic, is absolute and allows no compromise. A few facts and why it is irreducible. Latin crispus 'crisp' provided French with the root crep- from which were formed the verbs crepir 'rough-cast' and decrepir 'remove mortar.' Against this, at a certain moment the word decrepitus, of unknown origin, was borrowed from Latin and became decrepit 'decrepit.' Certainly today the community of speakers sets up a relation between un niur decrypt 'a wall from which mortar is falling' and U7i homme decrepit 'a decrepit man,' although historically the two words have nothing in common; will show what the difference is people often speak of the faqade decrepite of a house. And this is concerns the relation between two coexisting forms of language. For its realization, the concurrence of certain evolutionary events was necessary. The pronunciation of crisp- had to static, for it become crep-, and at a particular moment a new word had to be borrowed from Latin. It is obvious that the diachronic facts are not related to the static facts which they produced. They belong to a different class. Here is a more telhng example. In Old High of gast 'guest' Later the was final -i first gasii, German the plural that of hant 'hand' was hanti, etc. produced an umlaut, i.e. it ing of the a of the preceding syllable to resulted in the chang- e: gasti —^ gesti; hanti -^ Then the final -i lost its timbre: gesti —> geste, etc. The result is that today German has Gast: Gdste, Hand: Hdnde, and a whole group of words marked by the same difference between the singular henti. plural. A very similar fact occurred in Anglo-Saxon: the forms werefot: *fdti, top: *tdH, gos: *gdsi, etc. Through an and the earlier : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 84 initial *fdti became *feti; through a secbecame fet; after that, fot had as its ges, etc. (Modern English foot: feet, tooth: phonetic change, umlaut, ond, the fall of final -i, feti plural fet; gos, td]>, te\>; teeth, goose: geese.) when speakers used gast: gasti, fot: foti, the simple i marked the plural; Gast: Gaste and fot: fet show a new mechanism for indicating the plural. The mechanism is not Previously, addition of an the same in both instances; in Old English there is only opposition between vowels; in German there is in addition the presence or absence of The forms may but here this difference is unimportant. between a singular and its plural, whatever the can be expressed at each moment by a horizontal final -e; relation be, axis: • Whatever facts < > • Period A • < > • Period B have brought about passage from one form to another should be placed along a vertical axis, giving the overall picture Period > • A Period B Our illustration suggests several pertinent remarks: In no way do diachronic facts aim to signal a value by means of another sign that gasti became gesti, geste {Gaste) has nothing to do with the plural of substantives in tragit -^ tragi, the same um1) ; ; laut occurs in verbal inflection, and so forth. A diachronic fact is an independent event; the particular synchronic consequences that may stem from it are wholly unrelated to it. 2) Diachronic facts are not even directed toward changing the system. Speakers did not wish to pass from one system of relations to another; modification does not affect the arrangement but rather its is elements. Here we again find the principle enunciated previously: never the system modified directly. In itself it is unchangeable; only certain elements are altered without regard for the solidarity that binds them to the whole. It is as if one of the planets that revolve STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 85 around the sun changed its dimensions and weight: this isolated event would entail general consequences and would throw the whole system out of equilibrium. The opposition of two terms is needed to express plurality: either fot: foti or fot: Jet; both procedures are possible, but speakers passed from one to the other, so to speak, without having a hand in it. Neither was the whole replaced nor did one system engender another; one element in the first system was changed, and this change was enough to give rise to another system. 3) The foregoing observation points up the ever fortuitous nature of a state. In contrast to the false notion that we readily fashion about it, language is not a mechanism created and arranged with a view to the concepts to be expressed. We see on the contrary that the state which resulted from the change was not destined to signal the meaning with which it was impregnated. In a fortuitous state {fot: fet), speakers took advantage of an existing difference and made it signal the distinction between singular and plural; fot: fet is no better for this purpose than fot: *foti. In each state the mind infiltrated a given substance and breathed life into it. This new perspective, inspired by historical linguistics, is unknown to traditional grammar, which could never acquire it by its own methods. Most philosophers of language are equally ignorant of it, and yet nothing is more important from the philofor ourselves sophical viewpoint. 4) Are facts of the diachronic series of the same class, at least, By no means, for we have seen that changes are wholly unintentional while the synchronic fact is always significant. It always calls forth two simultaneous terms. Not Gaste alone but the opposition Gast: Gdste expresses the plural. The diachronic fact is just the opposite: only one term is involved, and for the new one to appear (Gdste), the old one (gasti) must as facts of the synchronic series? give way to it. To try to unite such first dissimilar facts in the certainly be a fanciful undertaking. deals with phenomena that The same discipline would diachronic perspective are unrelated to systems although they do condition them. Here are some other examples to strengthen and complement the conclusions drawn from the first ones. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 86 In French, the accent always falls on the last syllable unless this mute e (o). This is a synchronic fact, a relation between the whole set of French words and accent. What is its source? A previous state. Latin had a different and more complicated system of accentuation: the accent was on the penultimate syllable contains a syllable when the latter on the antepenult (cf. was long when ; short, the accent fell amicus, dnima). The Latin law back suggests no way analogous to the French law. Doubtless it remained in the same position in French words it always falls on the syllable that had it in Latin amtcum —> ami, dnimum -^ dme. But the two formulas are different for the two moments because the forms of the words relations that are in the accent is the same in the sense that ; : We know that everything after the accent either disappeared or was reduced to mute e. As a result of the alteration of the word, the position of the accent with respect to the whole was no longer the same; subsequently speakers, conscious of the new relation, instinctively put the accent on the last syllable, even in borrowed words introduced in their written forms (facile, consul, ticket, burgrave, etc.). Speakers obviously did not try to change changed. systems, to apply a new formula, since in words like amtcum —^ ami the accent always remained on the same syllable but a diachronic ; changed the position of the accent having a hand in it. A law of accentuation, like everything without that pertains to the linguistic system, is an arrangement of terms, a fortuitous and involuntary result of evolution. Here is an even more striking example. In Old Slavic, slovo 'word' has in the instrumental singular slovem' b, in the nominative plural slova, in the genitive plural slov'b, etc.; in the declension each case has its own ending. But today the weak vowels b and 'b, Slavic representatives of Proto-Indo-European i and m, have disappeared. Czech, for example, has slovo, slovem, slova, slov; Ukewise zena 'woman' accusative singular zenu, nominative plural zeny, genitive plural zen. Here the genitive {slov, zen) has zero inflection. We see then that a material sign is not necessary for the expression of an idea; language is satisfied with the opposition between something fact w^as interposed: speakers : and nothing. Czech speakers recognize zen as a genitive plural simply because it is neither zena nor zenu nor any of the other forms. It seems strange at first glance that such a particular notion STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 87 as that of the genitive plural should have taken the zero sign, but this very fact proves that everything comes about through sheer accident. Language is a mechanism that continues to function in spite of the deteriorations to which it is subjected. All this confirms the principles previously stated. Language is a system whose parts can and must To summarize: all be considered in their synchronic solidarity. Since changes never affect the system as a whole but rather one or another of its elements, they can be studied only outside the system. Each alteration doubtless has tem, but the initial fact affected bond between the initial fact its countereffect on the sys- only one point; there and the effect that it is no inner may subse- quently produce on the whole system. The basic difference between successive terms and coexisting terms, between partial facts and facts that affect the system, precludes making both classes of fact the subject matter of a single science. The Difference between the Two Classes Illustrated by Comparisons To show both the autonomy and the interdependence of synchrony we can compare the first to the projection of an object on a plane surface. Any projection depends directly on the nature of the 4. object projected, yet differs from it — the object itself is a thing would not be a whole science of projections; considering the bodies themselves would suffice. In linguistics there is the same relationship between the historical facts and a language-state, which is hke a projection of the facts at a particular moment. We do not learn about synchronic states by studying bodies, i.e. diachronic events, any more than we learn about geometric projections by studying, even carefully, the different types apart. Otherwise there of bodies. is cut transversely, a rather comformed by the cut surface the design is simply one perspective of the longitudinal fibers, and we would be able to see them on making a second cut perpendicular to the first. Here again one perspective depends on the other; the longitudinal cut shows the fibers that constitute the plant, and the transversal cut shows their arrangement on a particular plane; but the second is distinct from the first because it brings out certain relations be- Similarly if the stem of a plant plicated design is ; — : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 88 tween the fibers— relations that we could never grasp by viewing the longitudinal plane. But is of all comparisons that might be imagined, the most friutful the one that might be drawn between the functioning of language and a game of chess. In both instances we are confronted with a system of values and their observable modifications. A game of chess is like an artificial realization of what language offers in a natural form. Let us examine the matter more carefully. First, a state of the set of chessmen corresponds closely to a state of language. The respective value of the pieces depends on their position on the chessboard just as each linguistic term derives its value from its opposition to all the other terms. In the second place, the system is always momentary; it varies from one position to the next. It is also true that values depend above all else on an unchangeable convention, the set of rules that exists before a game begins and persists after each move. Rules that are agreed upon once and for all exist in language too; they are the constant principles of semiology. from one state of equilibrium to the next, or from one synchrony to the next, only one chesspiece has to be moved there is no general rummage. Here we have the counterpart of the diachronic phenomenon with Finally, to pass according to our terminology — ; all its peculiarities. (a) In fact In each play only one chesspiece is moved ; in the in language, changes affect only isolated elements. same way ; STATIC (b) AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS In spite of that, the system; it is move has a 89 repercussion on the whole impossible for the player to foresee exactly the extent of the effect. Resulting changes of value will be, according to the circumstances, either A certain move can nil, very serious, or of average importance. game and even affect revolutionize the whole pieces that are not immediately involved. We have just seen that exactly the same holds for language. (c) and In chess, each move is absolutely distinct from the preceding the subsequent equilibrium. The change effected belongs to neither state: only states matter. In a game of chess any particular position has the unique characteristic of being freed from all antecedent positions; the route used in arriving there makes absolutely no difference; one who has followed the entire match has no advantage over the curious party who comes up at a critical moment to inspect the state of the game it is perfectly useless to recall what happened ten seconds previously. All this is equally appUcable to language and sharpens the radical distinction between diachrony and synchrony. Speaking operates only on a languagestate, and the changes that intervene between states have no place to describe this arrangement, had just in either state. At only one point is the comparison weak: the chessplayer and thereby to exert an action on the intends to bring about a shift system, whereas language premeditates nothing. The pieces of language are shifted or rather modified— spontaneously and for- — p. 83) The umlaut of Hdnde for hanti and Gdste for produced a new system for forming the plural but rise to verbal forms hke tragi from tuitously. tragit, etc. In order to gasti (see also gave make the game of chess seem at every point like the functioning of language, we would have to imagine an unconscious or unintelligent player. This sole difference, however, makes the comparison even more instructive by showing the absolute necessity of making a distinction between the two classes of phenomena in linguistics. For if diachronic facts cannot be reduced to the synchronic system which they condition when the change is intentional, all the more will they resist when they set a blind force against the organization of a system of signs. — ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 90 5. — The Two Linguistics Contrasted According to Their Methods and Principles Everywhere the opposition between diachrony and synchrony stands out. For instance —and to begin with the most apparent fact—they are not of equal importance. Here it is viewpoint predominates, for the true and only reality to the community it is of speakers (see p. 81). evident that the synchronic The same is true of the lin- he takes the diachronic perspective, he no longer observes language but rather a series of events that modify it. People often affirm that nothing is more important than understanding the guist: if genesis of a particular state; this forces that is true in a certain sense: the have shaped the state illuminate knowing them protects us against certain its true nature, illusions (see pp. 84 and ff.) but this only goes to prove clearly that diachronic linguistics is not an end in itself. What is said of journalism applies to diachrony: it leads everywhere if one departs from it. The methods of diachrony and synchrony also differ, and in two ways. (a) Synchrony has only one perspective, the speakers', and its whole method consists of gathering evidence from speakers; to know what extent a thing is a reality, it is necessary and determine to what extent it exists in the minds of speakers. Diachronic linguistics, on the contrary, must distinguish to just sufficient to two perspectives. of time ; One of these, the prospective, follows the course the other, the retrospective, goes back in time the result ; is a duphcation in methodology with which we shall deal in Part Five. (b) A second difference results from delimiting the fields em- braced by each of the two disciplines. Synchronic study has as its object, not everything that is simultaneous, but only the totahty of facts corresponding to each language; separation will go as far and subdialects when necessary. The term synchronic not precise enough; it should be replaced by another as dialects is really Against this, diachronic need but even rejects such speciallinguistics not only does not ization; the terms that it studies do not necessarily belong to the same language (compare Proto-Indo-European *esti, Greek esti, rather long to be sure idiostjnchronic. STATIC German and ist, AND EVOLUTIONARY and French The est). LINGUISTICS succession of diachronic events their multiplication in space are precisely diversity of idioms. To 91 what creates the two forms, it is justify the associating of enough to show that they are connected by a historical bond, however indirect it may be. The foregoing oppositions are neither the most striking nor the most profound. One consequence of the radical antimony between the evolutionary and the static fact is that all notions associated with one or the other are to the same extent mutually irreducible. Any notion will point up this truth. The synchronic and diachronic "phenomenon," for example, have nothing in common (see p. 85). One is a relation between simultaneous elements, the other the substitution of one element for another in time, an event. We shall also see that diachronic and S3nichronic identi- (p. 107) French negation two forms are distinct in modern French. These observations would suffice to show the necessity of not confusing the two viewpoints, but nowhere is this necessity more apparent than in the distinction we are about to make. ties are pas 6. is two very different things historically the ; identical to the substantive pas 'step,' whereas the Synchronic and Diachronic Law popular practice to speak of laws in linguistics. But are the facts of language actually governed by laws? If so, what are they like? Since language is a social institution, one might assume a priori that it is governed by prescriptions analogous to those that It is a control communities. Now teristics: it is imperative it covers all cases every social law has two basic charac- and —within it is general; it comes by force and and place, of in certain limits of time course. Do the laws of language fit this definition? The first step in answering the question in line with what has just been said is — — more the synchronic and diachronic areas. The two problems must not be confused; speaking of linguistic law in to separate once general is like trying to pin down a ghost. Here are some examples, taken from Greek, classes are intentionally jumbled: in which the two COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 92 1. Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirates became voiceless: *dhumos —> thumos 'breath of life,' *hhero —^ phero 'I bear/ etc. 2. The accent never falls farther back than the antepenult. 3. All words end in a vowel or in s, n, or r, to the exclusion of all other consonants. 4. Pre vocalic initial s became h (sign of aspiration) (Latin septem) -^ heptd. 5. Final 6. Final m changed to n: occlusives : *septm —* zugon (cf. Latin jugum).^ *gunaik -^ gunai, *epherst —^ ephere, *jugom fell: *epheront -^ epheron. Law 1 is diachronic dh became th, etc. Law 2 expresses a relation between the word-unit and accent, a sort of contract between two coexisting terms it is a synchronic law. The same is true of Law 3 since it concerns the word-unit and its ending. Laws 4, 5, and 6 are : ; diachronic: s became h; -n replaced -m; -t, -k, etc. disappeared without leaving a trace. We should also notice that Law 3 is the result of 5 and 6; two diachronic facts created a synchronic fact. After we separate the two classes of laws, 3 are basically different from Laws 1, 4, 5, we see and that Laws 2 and 6. The synchronic law is general but not imperative. Doubtless it imposed on individuals by the weight of collective usage (see p. 73), but here I do not have in mind an obhgation on the part of speakers. I mean that in language no force guarantees the maintenance of a regularity when established on some point. Being a simple expression of an existing arrangement, the sjmchronic law reports a state of affairs it is like a law that states that trees in a is ; certain orchard are arranged in the shape of a quincunx. And the arrangement that the law defines is precarious precisely because it is not imperative. Nothing is more regular than the synchronic law that governs Latin accentuation (a law comparable in every way to Law 2 above); but the accentual rule did not resist the ^ According to Meillet (Mem. de la Soc. de Ldng., IX, pp. 365 ff.) and Gauthiot {La fin du mot indo-europeen, pp. 158 ff.), final -m did not exist in Proto-Indo-European, which used only -n; if this theory is accepted, Law 5 can be stated in this way: Greek preserved every final -n; its demonstrative value is not diminished since the phonetic phenomenon that results in the preservation of a former state is the same in nature as the one that manifests a change (see p. 145). [Ed.] STATIC forces of alteration AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS and gave way to a new law, the one 93 of French In short, if one speaks of law in synchrony, in the sense of an arrangement, a principle of regularity. (see abo"ve p. 86). it is Diachrony, on the contrary, supposes a dynamic force through effect is produced, a thing executed. But this imperativeness is not sufficient to warrant applying the concept of law to which an law only when a set of facts appearances to the contrary, diachronic events are always accidental and particular. The accidental and particular character of semantic facts is immediately apparent. That French poutre 'mare' has acquired the meaning 'piece of wood, rafter' is due to particular causes and does not depend on other changes that might have occurred at the same time. It is only one accident among all those registered in the evolutionary facts; obeys the same we can speak rule, and of in spite of certain history of the language. As for syntactical and morphological transformations, the issue not so clear from the outset. At a certain time almost all old subject-case forms disappeared in French. Here a set of facts apparently obeys the same law. But such is not the case, for all the is and the same isolated affected, and its disof forms to vanish. For facts are but multiple manifestations of one fact. The particular notion of subject was appearance naturally caused a whole series one who sees only the external features of language, the unique phenomenon is drowned in the multitude of its manifestations. Basically, however, there is but one phenomenon, and this historical event is just as isolated in its own order as the semantic change undergone by poutre. It takes on the appearance of a "law" only because it is realized within a system. The rigid arrangement of the system creates the illusion that the diachronic fact obeys the same rules as the synchronic fact. Finally, as regards phonetic changes, exactly the Yet the popular practice is said that at a given time same is true. to speak of phonetic laws. Indeed, and in a given area all it is words having the same phonic features are affected by the same change; for example. Law 1 on page 92 {*dhumos —^ Greek thumos) affects all Greek words containing a voiced aspirate (cf *nebhos —» nephos, *medhu —^ methu, *anghd -^ dnkho, etc.) Law 4 {*septm -^ heptd) applies to *serpd -^ herpo, *sus —* hUs, and to all words that begin . ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 94 s. This regularity, which has at times been disputed, is apparently firmly established; obvious exceptions do not lessen the with inevitability of such changes, for they can be explained either more special phonetic laws (see the example of by trikhes: thriksi, by the interference of facts of another class (analogy, etc.). Nothing seems to fit better the definition given above for the word law. And yet, regardless of the number of instances where a phonetic law holds, all facts embraced by it are but manifestations p. 97) or of a single particular fact. The real issue is to find out whether phonetic changes affect v;ords or only sounds, and there is no doubt about the answer: nephos, methu, ankho, etc. a certain phoneme — —a in voiced Proto- became voiceless, Proto-Greek initial s each fact is isolated, independent of the other events of the same class, independent also of the words in which the change took place.® The phonic substance of all the words was of course modified, but this should not deceive us as to the real Indo-European aspirate became h, etc.; nature of the phenomenon. What supports the statement that words themselves are not directly involved in phonetic transformations? The very simple observation that these transformations are basically alien to words and cannot touch solely other than is its of its material quality. The word-unit is not constituted phonemes but by characteristics Suppose that one string of a piano out of tune: a discordant note will be heard each time the one who is their essence. by the totahty is playing a melody strikes the corresponding key. But where the discord? In the melody? Certainly not; the melody has not been affected; only the piano has been impaired. Exactly the same is true in phonetics. Our system of phonemes is the instrument we play in order to articulate the words of language; if one of its elements is modified, diverse consequences may ensue, but the modification itself is not concerned with the words which are, in a manner of speaking, the melodies of our repertory. ^ Of course the examples cited above are purely schematic linguistics is right in trying currently to relate to the same initial principle the largest possible series of phonetic changes; for instance, Meillet explains all the transformations of Greek occlusives by progressive weakening of their articulation (see Mem. de la Soc. de Ling., IX, pp. 163 ff.). Naturally the conclusions : on the nature of phonetic changes are in the general facts, wherever they exist. [Ed.] last analysis apphcable to these — STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 95 Diachronic facts are then particular; a shift in a system is brought about by events which not only are outside the system (see p. 84), but are isolated and form no system among themselves. To summarize: synchronic facts, no matter what they are, evidence a certain regularity but are in no way imperative; dia- chronic facts, on the contrary, force themselves upon language but are in no In a word way general. — and this is the point I have been trying to neither of the two classes of facts make governed by laws in the sense defined above, and if one still wishes to speak of linguistic laws, the word will embrace completely different meanings, depending on whether it designates facts of one class or the other. 7. is 7s There a Panchronic Viewpoint? Up to this point the term law has been used in the legal sense. But cannot the term also be used in language as in the physical natural sciences, in the sense of relations that are i.e. and everywhere and forever verifiable? In a word, can not language be studied from a panchronic viewpoint? Doubtless. Since phonetic changes have always occurred and are still occurring, this general phenomenon is a permanent characteristic of speech; it is therefore one of the laws of speech. In linguistics as in chess (see pp. all events. But they of concrete facts. 88 ff.) there are rules that outlive are general principles existing independently When we speak of particular, tangible facts, no panchronic viewpoint. Each phonetic change, regardless of its actual spread, is Hmited to a definite time and territory; no change occurs at all times and in all places; change exists only diachronically. These general principles are precisely what serve as a criterion for determining what belongs to language and what there is A concrete fact that lends itself to panchronic explanation cannot belong to language. Take the French word chose 'thing': from the diachronic viewpoint it stands in opposition to the Latin word from which it derives, causa; from the synchronic viewpoint it stands in opposition to every word that might be associated with does not. it in Modern French. Only dependently the sounds of the {§oz) are susceptible of word considered in- panchronic observation, but : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 96 they have no linguistic value. Even from the panchronic viewpoint §gz, considered in a chain like iin §oz odmirahld 'an admirable thing/ is not a unit but a shapeless mass; indeed, why ^oz rather than oza or nsof It is not a value, for it has no meaning. From the panchronic viewpoint the particular facts of language are never reached. 8. Consequences of the Confusing of Synchrony and Diachrony instances will be cited Two (a) Synchronic truth seems to be the denial of diachronic truth, and one who has a superficial view of things imagines that a choice must be made; this is really unnecessary; one truth does not exclude the other. That French deyit 'spite' originally meant contempt does not prevent the word from having a completely different meaning now; etymology and synchronic value are dis- grammar teaches that the present participle is variable and shows agreement in the same manner as an adjective in certain cases in Modern French (cf. une eau tinct. Similarly, traditional courante 'running water') but is invariable in others (cf. une per- sonne courant dans la rue 'a person running in the street'). But historical grammar shows that it is not a question of one and the same form the first is the continuation of the variable Latin par: the second comes from the invariable Does synchronic truth ticiple (currentum) while ablative form of the gerund {currendo)? must one condemn traditional grammar? No, for that would be seeing only half of the facts; one must not think that the historical fact alone matters and is sufficient to constitute language. Doubtless from the viewpoint of its origin the participle courant has two elements, but in the collective mind of the community of speakers, these are drawn together and fused into one. The synchronic truth is just as absolute and indisputable as the diachronic truth. contradict diachronic truth, and granmiar in the name (b) of historical Synchronic truth is so similar to diachronic truth that people it superfluous to separate them. For example, they try to explain the meaning of French pere 'father' confuse the two or think ^ This generally accepted theory has been recently but, we believe, unsuccessfully attacked by M. E. Larch {Das invariable Participium praesentis, Erlangen, 1913); there was then no reason for eliminating an example that would retain its didactic value. [Ed.] : STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS 97 by saying that Latin pater meant the same thing. Another example Latin short a became i in noninitial open syllables; beside /acio we have conficio, beside amicus, inimicus, etc. The law is often stated in this way: ''The a longer in the becomes i in conficio because it is no That is not true: never did the a To re-establish the truth one must single out of facio first syllable." "become" i in conficio. two periods and four terms. Speakers then, confacio having been changed to unchanged, they said facio conficio: — first said facio —confacio; conficio while facio facio < > confacio Period A facio < > conficio Period remained B a "change" occurred, it is between confacio and conficio; but the badly formulated, does not even mention confacio! Then beside the diachronic change there is a second fact, absolutely distinct from the first and having to do with the purely synchronic opposition between facio and conficio. One is tempted to say that it is not a fact but a result. Nevertheless, it is a fact in its own class; indeed, all synchronic phenomena are like this. The true value of the opposition facio: conficio is not recognized for the very reason that the opposition is not very significant. But oppositions like Gast: Gdste and gebe: gibt, though also fortuitous results of phonetic evolution, are nonetheless basic grammatical phenomena of the synchronic class. The fact that both classes are in other respects closely linked, each conditioning the other, points to the conclusion that keeping them apart is not worthwhile in fact, linguistics has confused them for decades without realizing that such a method If rule, ; is worthless. The mistake shows up conspicuously explain Greek phuktos, for example, it in certain instances. might seem sufficient to To say that in Greek g or kh became k before voiceless consonants, and to cite by way of explanation such synchronic correspondences as phugein: phuktos, lekhos: lektron, etc. But in a case like trikhes: a complication, the "passing" of t to th. The forms can be explained only historically, by relative chronology. The Proto-Greek theme Hhrikh, followed by the ending -si, became thriksi there is thriksi, a very old development identical to the one that produced : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 98 lektron from the root lekh-. Later every aspirate followed by an- other aspirate in the same word was changed into an occlusive, and *thrikhes 9. became trikhes; naturally thriksi escaped this law. Conclusions Linguistics here comes to its second bifurcaton. We had first to choose between language and speaking (see pp. 17 ff.); here we are again at the intersection of two roads, one leading to diachrony and the other to synchrony. Once in possession of this double principle of classification, we can add that everything diachronic in language is diachronic only by virtue of speaking. It is in speaking that the germ of all change is found. Each change viduals before is launched by a certain number of indi- accepted for general use. it is Modern German uses whereas until the sixteenth century the conjugation was ich was, wir waren (cf. English I was, we were). How did the substitution of war for was come about? Some speakers, influenced by waren, created war through analogy; this was a fact ich war, wir waren, of speaking; the new form, repeated many times and accepted by But not all innovations the community, became a fact of language. of speaking have the same success, and so long as they remain inmay be ignored, for we are studying language they dividual, they ; do not enter into our field of observation until the community of speakers has adopted them. An evolutionary fact is always preceded by a fact, or rather by a multitude of similar facts, in the sphere of speaking. This in no way invalidates but rather strengthens the distinction made above since in the history of any innovation there are always two distinct moments: (1) when it sprang up in individual usage; and (2) when it became a fact of language, outwardly identical but adopted by the community. The following table indicates the rational form that linguistic study should take {Synchrony , , Diachrony ^^„„[.Speaking ; STATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS One must recognize that the ideal, theoretical 99 form of a science is by the exigencies of practice in Unguistics these exigencies are more imperious than anywhere else they account to some extent for the confusion that now predominates in linguistic research. Even if the distinctions set up here were accepted once and for all, a precise orientation probably could not always the one imposed upon it ; not be imposed on investigations in the name of the stated ideal. In the synchronic study of Old French, for instance, the hnguist works with facts and principles that have nothing in common with those that he would find out by tracing the history of the same language from the thirteenth to the twentieth century; on the contrary, he works with facts and principles similar to those that would be revealed in the description of an existing Bantu language, Attic Greek of 400 b.c. or present-day French, for that matter. These diverse descriptions would be based on similar relations; if each idiom is a closed system, all idioms embody certain fixed principles that the linguist meets again and again in passing from one to another, for he is staying in the same class. Historical study linguist examines a definite period in example, from the thirteenth to the the history of French (for twentieth century) Javanese, or any other language whatsoever, everywhere he works with similar facts which he needs only com- is no different. Whether the pare in order to establish the general truths of the diachronic class. The ideal would be for each scholar to devote himself to one field of investigation or the other and deal with the largest possible very difficult to command scientifically such different languages. Against this, each language in practice forms a unit of study, and we are induced by force of circumstances to consider it alternately from the historical and static viewpoints. Above all else, we must never forget that this unit is superficial in theory, whereas the diversity of idioms hides number of facts in this class; a profound unity. Whichever we must put each fact in its but it is way we look in studying a language, own class and not confuse the two methods. The two parts of linguistics respectively, as defined, will be the object of our study. Synchronic linguistics will be concerned with the logical and 100 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS psychological relations that bind together coexisting terms and form a system in the collective mind of speakers. Diachronic linguistics, on the contrary, will study relations that bind together successive terms not perceived by the collective mind but substituted for each other without forming a system. ^ PART TWO Synchronic Linguistics Chapter I GENERALITIES The aim of general synchronic linguistics is to set up the fundamental principles of any idiosynchronic system, the constituents of any language-state. Many of the items already explained in Part One belong rather to synchrony for instance, the general properties of the sign are an integral part of synchrony although they were used to prove the necessity of separating the two linguistics. To synchrony belongs everything called "general grammar," for it is only through language-states that the different relations which are the province of grammar are established. In the following ; chapters we shall consider only the basic principles necessary for approaching the more special problems of static linguistics or explaining in detail a language-state. The study of static linguistics is generally much more difficult than the study of historical linguistics. Evolutionary facts are more concrete and striking their observable relations tie together succes; it is easy, often even amusing, to But the linguistics that penetrates sive terms that are easily grasped follow a series of changes. ; values and coexisting relations presents much greater difficulties. In practice a language-state is not a point but rather a certain span of time during which the sum of the modifications that have supervened is minimal. The span may cover ten years, a generation, a century, or even more. It is possible for a language to over a long span and then to undergo radical transformations within a few years. Of two languages that exist change hardly at all evolve drastically and all; study would have to be diachronic in the former instance, synchronic in the latter. An absolute state is defined by the absence of changes, and since language changes side by side during a given period, one the other practically not at 101 may . COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 102 somewhat in : in spite of everything, studying a language-state means practice disregarding changes of little importance, just as mathematicians disregard infinitesimal quantities in certain calculations, such as logarithms. Political history makes a distinction between era, a point in time, and period, which embraces a certain duration. Still, the historian speaks of the Antoninian Era, the Era of the Crusades, etc. when he considers a set of characteristics which remained constant during those times. One might also say that static linguistics deals with eras. But state is preferable. The beginning and the end of an era are generally characterized by some rather brusque revolution that tends to modify the existing state of affairs. The word state avoids giving the impression that anything similar occurs in language. Besides, precisely because it is borrowed from history, the term era makes one think less of language itself than of the circumstances it and condition it; in short, it suggests rather the what we called external linguistics (see p. 20) Besides, delimitation in time is not the only difficulty that we encounter in defining a language-state: space presents the same that surround the idea of problem. In short, a concept of a language-state can be only approximate. In static linguistics, as in most sciences, no course of reasoning is possible without the usual simplification of data. Chapter II THE CONCRETE ENTITIES OF LANGUAGE 1 . Definition: Entity The signs that and Unit make up language objects (see p. 15); signs and are not abstractions but real their relations are what linguistics studies; they are the concrete entities of our science. Let us 1) first recall The signifier two principles that dominate the whole issue linguistic entity exists only through the associating of the with the signified (see p. 66 ff.). Whenever only one ele- THE CONCRETE ENTITIES OF LANGUAGE 103 ment is retained, the entity vanishes; instead of a concrete object we are faced with a mere abstraction. We constantly risk grasping only a part of the entity and thinking that we are embracing it in its totality; this would happen, for example, if we divided the spoken chain into phonology. A syllables, for the syllable succession of sounds has no value except in linguistic only if it supports Considered independently, it is material for a physiological study, and nothing more than that. The same is true of the signified as soon as it is separated from its signifier. Considered independently, concepts like "house," an is idea. "white," "see," etc. belong to psychology. entities only concept is is They become linguistic associated with sound-images; in language, a a quality of sound slice of when its phonic substance just as a particular a quality of the concept. The two-sided linguistic unit has often been compared with the human person, made up of the body and the soul. The comparison A better choice would be a chemical comcombination of hydrogen and oxygen; taken separately, neither element has any of the properties of water. 2) The Hnguistic entity is not accurately defined until it is delimited, i.e. separated from everything that surrounds it on the phonic chain. These delimited entities or units stand in opposition to each other in the mechanism of language. One is at first tempted to hken linguistic signs to visual signs, which can exist in space without becoming confused, and to assume that separation of the significant elements can be accomplished in the same way, without recourse to any mental process. The word "form," which is often used to indicate them (cf. the expression "verbal form," "noun form") gives support to the mistake. But we know that the main characteristic of the sound-chain is that it is hardly satisfactory. pound like water, a linear (see p. 70). Considered by itself, it is only a line, a continuous ribbon along which the ear perceives no self-sufficient and is clear-cut division; to divide the chain, When we hear an unfamiliar language, we must call in meanings. we are at a loss to say how the succession of sounds should be analyzed, for analysis sible if sidered. is only the phonic side of the linguistic phenomenon imposis con- But when we know the meaning and function that must ^ COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 104 be attributed to each part of the chain, we see the parts detach themselves from each other and the shapeless ribbon break into segments. Yet there is nothing material in the analysis. To summarize: language does not offer itself as a set of predelimited signs that need only be studied according to their meanit is a confused mass, and only attentiveness and familiarization will reveal its particular elements. The unit has no special phonic character, and the only definition that we can ing and arrangement give it is this: it is that precedes a ; slice and follows of sound which to the exclusion of everything it in the spoken chain is the signifier of a certain concept. Method 2. of Delimitation One who knows a language singles out its units by a very simple method in theory, at any rate. His method consists of using — speaking as the source material of language and picturing it as two parallel chains, one of concepts {A) and the other of sound-images {B). In an accurate delimitation, the division along the chain of sound-images (a, h, c) will correspond to the division along the chain of concepts (a', h', c') : B b' Take French sizlapra. Can we cut the chain after I and make sizl a unit? No, we need only consider the concepts to see that the division is wrong. Neither is the syllabic division siz-la-pra to be taken for granted as having linguistic value. The only possible 'if I take it') and and they are deter- divisions are these: (1) si-z-la-pra (si je la prends (2) si-z-l-apra (si je Vapprends mined by the meaning that To verify really * I learn it'), attached to the words. the result of the procedure and be assured that deahng with a Cf. the is 'if unit, we must be we are able in comparing a series of sounds [jurmam] in English: "your mine" or "you're mine." [Tr.] THE CONCRETE ENTITIES OF LANGUAGE 105 sentences in which the same unit occurs to separate the unit from the rest of the context and find in each instance that meaning justhe delimitation. Take the two French phrases lafprsdiiva tifies and abudfgrs (a bout de end of one's force'). In each phrase the same concept coincides with the same phonic sHce, fgrs; thus it is certainly a linguistic unit. But in ilmdfgrsaparle (il me force a parler 'he forces me to talk') fors has an entirely different meaning: it is therefore another unit. (la, force du vent 'the force of the wind'), force 'exhausted'; literally: 'at the 3. Practical Difficulties of Delimitation The method outlined above easy to apply? We are is very simple in theory, but tempted to think so if we start notion that the units to be isolated are words. For what tence except a combination of words? more readily than words? we may say is it from the is And what can be a sen- grasped Going back to the example given above, that the analysis of the spoken chain sizlaprd resulted in the delimiting of four units, apprends. But we and that the units are words : si-je-l- are immediately put on the defensive on noting that there has been much disagreement about the nature of the word, and a little reflection shows that the usual meaning of the term is incompatible with the notion of concrete unit. To be convinced, we need only think of French cheval 'horse' and from chevaux. People readily say that they are two forms same word but considered as wholes, they are certainly two distinct things with respect to both meaning and sound. In mwa (mois, as in le mois de Septembre 'the month of September') and mwaz (mois, in un mois apres *a month later') there are also two forms of the same word, and there is no question of a concrete unit. The meaning is the same, but the slices of sound are different. As soon as we try to liken concrete units to words, we face a dilemma: we must either ignore the relation which is nonetheless evident that binds cheval and chevaux, the two sounds of mwa and mwaz, etc. and say that they are different words, or inits plural of the ; — — stead of concrete units be satisfied with the abstraction that links the different forms of the same word. The concrete sought, not in the word, but elsewhere. Besides, unit must be many words are COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 106 complex units, and we can easily single out their subunits (suffixes, and delight-ful can be divided into distinct parts, each having an obvious meaning and prefixes, radicals). Derivatives like pain-ful function. Conversely, some units are larger than words: compounds (French porte-plume 'penholder'), locutions (s'il vous plait 'please'), inflected forms {il a ete 'he has been'), etc. But these units resist delimitation as strongly as do words proper, difficult to disentangle making it extremely the interplay of units that are found in a sound-chain and to specify the concrete elements on which a language functions. Doubtless speakers are unaware of the practical delimiting units. Anything that difficulties of even the slightest significance seems like a concrete element to them and they never fail to single it out in discourse. But it is one thing to feel the quick, delicate interplay of units and quite another to account for them through methodical analysis. A rather widely held theory makes sentences the concrete units of language: we speak only in sentences and subsequently single out the words. But to what extent does the sentence belong to language (see p. 124)? If it belongs to speaking, the sentence cannot pass for the Unguistic unit. But let us suppose that this difficulty set aside. If is we is of picture to ourselves in their totality the sentences that could be uttered, their most striking characteristic that in no to liken the immense the individuals that illusion in : is way do they resemble each other. We are at first tempted diversity of sentences to the equal diversity of make up a common are much more But this is an same species have zoological species. the characteristics that animals of the significant than the differences that is domi- separate them. In sentences, on the contrary, diversity when we look for the link that bridges their diversity, we find, without having looked for it, the word with its gram- nant, and again matical characteristics and thus fall back into the same difficulties as before. 4. Conclusion In most sciences the question of units never even arises the units are delimited from the outset. In zoology, the animal immediately : presents itself. Astronomy works with units that are separated in IDENTITIES, REALITIES, VALUES space, the stars. The chemist can study the nature and composition of potassium bichromate without doubting for is 107 an instant that this a well-defined object. When a science has no concrete units that are immediately recognizable, ample, it is is because they are not necessary. In history, for ex- know. But what does knowing the answ^er. But We do not can study history without the unit the individual, the era, or the nation? just as the it game matter? of chess We is entirely in the combination of is characterized as a system based entirely on the opposition of its concrete units. We can neither dispense with becoming acquainted with them nor take a single step without coming back to them; and still, delimiting them is such a dehcate problem that we may wonder at first whether they really exist. Language then has the strange, striking characteristic of not having entities that are perceptible at the outset and yet of not permitting us to doubt that they exist and that their functioning constitutes it. Doubtless we have here a trait that distinguishes language from all other semiological institutions. the different chesspieces, language Chapter III IDENTITIES, REALITIES, VALUES The statement that is all the made brings us squarely up against a problem more important because any basic notion in static just depends directly on our conception of the unit and even it. This is what I should like successively to demonstrate with respect to the notions of synchronic identity, reality, linguistics blends w^ith and value. A. What is a synchronic identity f Here it is not a question of the identity that links the French negation pas 'not' to Latin passum, a diachronic identity that will be dealt with elsewhere (see p. 181), but rather of the equally interesting identity by virtue of which we ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 108 ne sais jpas 'I don't know' and ne dttes yas cela ^don't say that' contain the same element. An idle question, one might say; there is identity because the same slice of state that sound two sentences carries the explanation is like je same meaning unsatisfactory, for in the two sentences. But that the correspondence of slices of if sound and concepts is proof of identity (see above, p. 105, la force du vent a bout de force) the reverse is not true. There can be identity without this correspondence. When Gentlemen! is repeated : , several times during a lecture, the listener has the feeling that the same expression is being used each time, and yet variations in utterance and intonation make for appreciable phonic differences —differences just as appreciable as those that in diverse contexts elsewhere separate different words paume fouir 'palm,' goutte 'drop' 'stuff,' etc.);2 and (cf. French pomme 'apple' and je goute 'I taste,' fuir 'flee,' besides, the feeling of identity persists and even though there is no absolute identity between one Gentlemen! and the next from a semantic viewpoint either. In the same vein, a different ideas without compromising its French adopter une mode 'adopt a fashion' and adopter word can express quite identity (cf. un enfant 'adopt a child,' la fleur apple tree' and la, fleur de du pommier 'the flower of the la noblesse 'the flower of nobility,' etc.). The Unguistic mechanism is geared to differences and identities, the former being only the counterpart of the latter. Everjrwhere then, the problem of identities appears; moreover, it blends partially with the problem of entities and units and cation —illuminating at some points— characteristic stands out is only a compH- of the larger problem. This we draw some comparisons with facts For instance, we speak of the identity of if taken from outside speech. two "8:25 p.m. Geneva-to-Paris" trains that leave at twenty-four hour intervals. We feel that it is the same train each day, yet everything the locomotive, coaches, personnel is probably different. Or if a street is demolished, then rebuilt, we say that it is the same street even though in a material sense, perhaps nothing of the old one remains. Why can a street be completely rebuilt and still be the same? Because it does not constitute a purely material entity it is based on certain conditions that are distinct from the materials — ^ — Cf. English bought: boat, naught: note, far: for: four (for [Tr.] many speakers). IDENTITIES, REALITIES, VALUES that fit the conditions, e.g. Similarly, route, and its 109 location with respect to other streets. what makes the express is its hour of departure, its from in general every circumstance that sets it apart other trains. Whenever the same conditions entities are obtained. Still, the entities are are fulfilled, the same not abstract since we cannot conceive of a street or train outside its material reahzation. Let us contrast the preceding examples with the completely different case of a suit which has been stolen from me and which I find in the window of a second-hand store. Here we have a material entity that consists solely of the inert substance the cloth, its lining, its trimmings, etc. Another suit would not be mine regardless of its similarity to it. But linguistic identity is not that of the garment; it is that of the train and the street. Each time I say the word Gentlemen! I renew its substance; each utterance is a new phonic act and a new psychological act. The bond between the two uses of the same word depends neither on material identity nor on sameness in meaning but on elements which must be sought after and which will point up the true nature of linguistic units. B. What is a sjmchronic reality? To what concrete or abstract elements of language can the name be applied? Take as an example the distinction between the parts of speech. What supports the classing of words as substantives, adjectives, etc.? Is it done in the name of a purely logical, extra-linguistic principle that is applied to grammar from without like the degrees of longitude and latitude on the globe? Or does it correspond to something that has its place in the system of language and is conditioned by it? In a word, is it a synchronic reality? The second supposition seems probable, but the first could also be defended. In the French sentence ces gants sont hon marche 'these gloves are cheap,' is hon marche an adjective? It is apparently an adjective from a logical viewpoint but not from the viewpoint of grammar, for hon marche fails to behave as an adjective (it is invariable, it never precedes its noun, etc.); in addition, it is composed of two words. Now the distinction between parts of speech is exactly what should serve to classify the words of language. How can a group of words be attributed to one of the "parts"? But to say that hon — 'good' is nothing. an adjective and marche 'market' a substantive explains are then dealing with a defective or incomplete clas- We COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 110 sification the division of ; words into substantives, verbs, adjectives, not an undeniable linguistic reality.' Linguistics accordingly works continuously with concepts forged etc. is by grammarians without knowing whether or not the concepts actually correspond to the constituents of the system of language. But how can we find out? And if they are phantoms, what realities can we place in opposition to them? To be rid of illusions we must first be convinced that the Crete entities of language are not directly accessible. If grasp them, Mi;om there, we come into we can set up nee^S'fui' uii anglilg all we con^ to^ try contact with the true facts -Starting . all the clasgifi^atioiis that linguistics fheTaCts^'Tts disposaly(5n the ofheiTiand^"'^ — — base the classifications on anything except concrete entities to say, for example, that the parts of speech are the constituents of ^.tor [ \ \ language simply because they correspond to categories of logic is to forget that there are no linguistic facts apart from the phonic Nmbstance cut into X>. significant elements. Finally, not every idea touched upon in this chapter differs from what we have elsewhere called values. A new comparison with the set of chessmen will bring out this point (see pp. 88 ff.). Take a knight, for instance. By itself is it an element in basically the game? Certainly not, for by its material make-up — — outside its square and the other conditions of the game it means nothing to the player; it becomes a real, concrete element only when endowed with value and wedded to it. Suppose that the piece happens to be destroyed or lost during a game. Can it be replaced by an equivalent piece? Certainly. Not only another knight but even a figure shorn of any resemblance to a knight can be declared identical provided the same value is attributed to it. We see then that in semiological systems like language, where elements hold each other in equilibrium in accordance with fixed rules, the notion of identity blends with that of value and vice versa. In a word, that is why of unit, concrete entity, the notion of value envelopes the notions and reality. But if there is no fundamental * Form, function, and meaning combine to make the classing of the parts of speech even more difficult in English than in French. Cf. ten-foot: ten feet in a ten-foot pole: the pole is ten feet long. [Tr.] LINGUISTIC VALUE 111 difference between these diverse notions, it follows that the problem can be stated successively in several ways. Whether we try to define the unit, reality, concrete entity, or value, we always come back to the central question that dominates all of static linguistics. It would be interesting from a practical viewpoint to begin with units, to determine what they are and to account for their diversity by classifying them. It would be necessary to search for the reason for dividing language into words for in spite of the difficulty of defining it, the word is a unit that strikes the mind, something central in the mechanism of language but that is a subject which by itself would fill a volume. Next we would have to classify the — — subunits, then the larger units, etc. the elements that completely nomena it fulfill its By determining in this would task, for it relate all synchronic phe- to their fundamental principle. It cannot be said that this basic problem has ever been faced squarely or that its scope have been understood have always been satisfied with difficulty Still, in in the ; is ill-defined units. spite of their capital importance, it is better to of and matter of language, people the problem of units through the study of value, for in value way manipulates, synchronic linguistics would approach my opinion prime importance. Chapter IV LINGUISTIC VALUE Language as Organized Thought Coupled with Sound that language is only a system of pure values, it is enough to consider the two elements involved in its functioning: ideas and sounds. Psychologically our thought apart from its expression in words is only a shapeless and indistinct mass. Philosophers and linguists have always agreed in recognizing that without the help of signs we would be unable to make a clear-cut, consistent distinction 1. To prove — — : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 112 ideas. Without language, thought is a vague, uncharted nebula. There are no pre-existing ideas, and nothing is distinct before the appearance of language. between two Against the floating realm of thought, would sounds by themNo more so than ideas. Phonic substance is neither more fixed nor more rigid than thought; it is not a mold into which thought must of necessity fit but a plastic substance divided in turn into distinct parts to furnish the signifiers needed by thought. The linguistic fact can therefore be pictured i.e. language as a series of contiguous subdivisions in its totality selves yield predelimited entities? — — marked on both the indefinite plane of jumbled ideas (A) and the equally vague plane of sounds (B). The following diagram gives a rough idea of it off The characteristic role of language with respect to thought is not means for expressing ideas but to serve between thought and sound, under conditions that to create a material phonic as a link about the reciprocal delimitations of units. Thought, chaotic by nature, has to become ordered in the process of its decomposition. Neither are thoughts given material form nor are sounds transformed into mental entities; the somewhat mysterious fact is rather that "thought-sound" implies division, and that language works out its units while taking shape between two shapeless masses. Visualize the air in contact with a sheet of water; if the atmospheric pressure changes, the surface of the water will be broken up into a series of divisions, waves; the waves resemble the union or coupUng of thought with phonic substance. Language might be called the domain of articulations, using the of necessity bring LINGUISTIC VALUE 113 word as it was defined earlier (see p. 10). Each linguistic term is a member, an articulus in which an idea is fixed in a sound and a sound becomes the sign of an idea. Language can also be compared with a sheet of paper: thought is the front and the sound the back; one cannot cut the front without cutting the back at the same time; likewise in language, one can neither divide sound from thought nor thought from sound; the division could be accomplished only abstractedly, and the would be either pure psychology or pure phonology. works in the borderland where the elements of sound and thought combine their combination produces a form, not result Linguistics then ; a substance. These views give a better understanding of what was said before ff.) about the arbitrariness of signs. Not only are the two domains that are linked by the linguistic fact shapeless and confused, but the choice of a given slice of sound to name a given idea is completely arbitrary. If this were not true, the notion of value would be compromised, for it would include an externally imposed element. But actually values remain entirely relative, and that is why the bond between the sound and the idea is radicallv (see pp. 67 "^ arbitrary. /The ~ arbitrary nature of the sign explains in turn ^ why the social 'fact alone can create a Hnguistic system. The community is necessary if values that owe their existence solely to usage and general acceptance are to be set up by himself the individual ; is incapable In addition, the idea of value, as defined, shows that to consider a term as simply the union of a certain sound with a certain concept is grossly misleading. To define it in this way would isolate the term from its system; it would mean assuming that one can start from the terms and construct the system by adding them together when, on the contrary, it is from the interdependent whole that one must start and through analysis obtain its elements. To develop this thesis, we shall study value successively from the viewpoint of the signified or concept (Section 2), the signifier (Section 3), and the complete sign (Section 4). Being unable to directly, we shall seize the concrete entities or units of language work with words. While the word does not con- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 114 form exactly to the definition of the Hnguistic unit (see p. 105), it at least bears a rough resemblance to the unit and has the advantage of being concrete; consequently, we shall use words as specimens equivalent to real terms in a synchronic system, and the principles that we evolve with respect to words will be vaUd for entities in general. 2. Linguistic Value from a Conceptual Viewpoint When we speak of the value of a word, we generally think first of its property of standing for an idea, and this is in fact one side of signification? But if this is true, how does value differ from Might the two words be synonyms? I think not, although easy to confuse them, since the confusion results not linguistic value. it is so much from their similarity as from the subtlety of the distinction that they mark. From a conceptual viewpoint, value is doubtless one element in and it is difficult to see how signification can be dependent upon value and still be distinct from it. But we must clear up the issue or risk reducing language to a simple naming-process signification, (see p. 65). Let us first take signification as it is generally understood and as As the arrows in the drawing show, it is only the counterpart of the sound-image. Everything that occurs concerns only the sound-image and the concept when we look upon it was pictured on page 67. the word as independent and self-contained. But here is the paradox on the one hand the concept seems to be : the counterpart of the sound-image, and on the other hand the sign itself is in turn the counterpart of the other signs of language. Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others, as in the diagram: : LINGUISTIC VALUE How, 115 then, can value be confused with signification, i.e. the coun- terpart of the sound-image? It seems impossible to liken the relations represented here above (p. 114) by by horizontal arrows to those represented vertical arrows. Putting it another again taking up the example of the sheet of paper that — is way —and cut in two between the diffrom the relation between the front and back of the same piece as in A/A', B/B', etc. To resolve the issue, let us observe from the outset that even outside language all values are apparently governed by the same paradoxical principle. They are always composed: (1) of a dissimilar thing that can be exchanged for the thing of which the value is to be determined and (2) of similar things that can be compared with the thing of which the value is to be determined. (see p. 1 13) it is clear that the observable relation ferent pieces A, B, C, D, etc. is distinct ; Both factors are necessary for the existence of a value. To determine what a five-franc piece is worth one must therefore know (1) that it can be exchanged for a fixed quantity of a different thing, e.g. bread; and (2) that it can be compared with a similar value of the same system, e.g. a one-franc piece, or with coins of another system (a dollar, etc.). In the same way a word can be exchanged for something dissimilar, an idea besides, it can be compared with something of the same nature, another word. Its value is therefore not fixed so long as one simply states that it can be "exchanged" for a given concept, i.e. that it has this or that signification: one must also compare it with similar values, with other words that stand in opposition to it. Its content is really fixed only by the concurrence of everything that exists outside it. Being part of a system, it is endowed not only with a signification but also and especially with a value, and this is something quite different. A few examples will show clearly that this is true. Modern French mouton can have the same signification as English sheep but not the same value, and this for several reasons, particularly because in speaking of a piece of meat ready to be served on the ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 116 table, English uses mutton and not sheep. The difference in value between sheep and mouton is due to the fact that sheep has beside it a second term while the French word does not. Within the same language, all words used to express related ideas limit each other reciprocally; synonyms like French redouter 'dread,' craindre 'fear,' and avoir peur 'be afraid' have value only through their opposition: if redouter did not exist, all its content would go to its competitors. Conversely, some words are enriched through contact with others: e.g. the new element introduced in decrepit (un vieillard decripit, see p. 83) results from the coexistence of decrepi (un mur decrepi). The value of just any term is accordingly determined by its environment; it is impossible to fix even the value of the word signifying "sun" without first considering its surroundings: in some languages it is not possible to say "sit in the swn." Everything said about words apphes to any term of language, e.g. to grammatical entities. The value of a French plural does not coincide with that of a Sanskrit plural even though their sigis usually identical Sanskrit has three numbers instead two {my eyes, my ears, my arms, my legs, etc. are dual) ;* it would be wrong to attribute the same value to the plural in Sanskrit and in French; its value clearly depends on what is outside and around nification ; of it. would all have meaning from one language to the next; but this is not true. French uses louer (une maison) 'let (a house)' indifferently to mean both "pay for" and "receive pajrment for," whereas German uses two words, mieten and vermieten; there is obviously no exact correspondence of values. The German verbs schdtzen and urteilen share a number of significations, but that If words stood for pre-existing concepts, they exact equivalents in correspondence does not hold at several points. Inflection offers tinctions of time, tain languages. * two is some particularly striking which are so familiar to Hebrew does not us, are examples. unknown Dis- in cer- recognize even the fundamental The use of the comparative form for two and the superlative in EngUsh (e.g. viay the better hoxer win: the best boxer for more than in the world) probably a remnant of the old distinction between the dual and the plural number. [Tr.] LINGUISTIC VALUE 117 distinctions between the past, present, and future. Proto-Germanic has no special form for the future; to say that the future is expressed by the present is wrong, for the value of the present is not the same in Germanic as in languages that have a future along with the present. The Slavic languages regularly single out two aspects of the verb the perfective represents action as a point, complete in : its totality; the imperfective represents the line of time. The it and on Frenchman to as taking place, categories are difficult for a understand, for they are unknown in French; if they were predetermined, this would not be true. Instead of pre-existing ideas then, we find in all the foregoing examples values emanating froijci When they are said to correspond to concepts, it is understood that the concepts are purely differential and defined! not by their positive content but negatively by their relations with the other terms of the system. Their most precise characteristic Uj the system. in being I what the others are not. Now the real interpretation of the diagram of the signal becomes apparent. Thus means that in French the concept "to judge" is-iinketd to the soundU--^ imagQ..Juger; in short, it symbolizes signiEGation. But it is quite is nothing, that is only a value with other similar values, and that '^without them the signification would not exist.- If I state simplythat a word signifies somethiirg wh^SrrTTiave in mind the associating of a sound-image with a concept, I am making a statement •''ciear that ffiitiaiiy-^'e^oncept determined by that may its relations suggest what actually happens, but by no expressing the linguistic fact in 3. its means am I essence and fullness. Linguistic Value from a Material Viewpoint The conceptual side of value is made up and and the solely of relations differences with respect to the other terms of language, COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 118 same can be said of its material side. The important thing in the word is not the sound alone but the phonic differences that make it possible to distinguish this word from all others, for differences carry signification. may seem but how indeed could the reverse be is no better suited than the next for what it is commissioned to express, it is evident, even a priori, that a segment of language can never in the final analysis be based on anything except its noncoincidence with the rest. Arbitrary and This surprising, possible? Since one vocal image differential are The two correlative qualities. alteration of linguistic signs clearly illustrates this. It precisely because the terms a and 6 as — one always conscious of —that each term free to change accord- of reaching the level of consciousness only the a/b difference is such are radically incapable is is ing to laws that are unrelated to its signifying function. No positive sign characterizes the genitive plural in Czech zen (see p. 86); still the two forms Sena: zen function as well as the earlier forms zena: zenb; zen has value only because it is different. another example that shows even more clearly the systematic role of phonic differences: in Greek, ephen is an imperfect and esten an aorist although both words are formed in the same way; the first belongs to the system of the present indicative of Here pheml is '1 say,' whereas there is no present *stem.i; now it is precisely the relation pheml: ephen that corresponds to the relation between the present and the imperfect (cf. deiknumi: edeiknun, etc.). Signs function, then, not through their intrinsic value but through their relative position. In addition, it is impossible for sound alone, a material element, is only a secondary thing, substance to be put to use. All our conventional values have the characteristic of not being confused with the tangible element which supports them. For instance, it is not the metal in a piece of money that fixes its value. A coin nominally worth five francs may contain less than half its worth of silver. Its value will vary according to the amount to belong to language. It and according to its use inside or outside a political boundary. This is even more true of the linguistic signifier, which is not phonic but incorporeal constituted not by its ma- stamped upon it — LINGUISTIC VALUE terial 119 substance but by the differences that separate image from its sound- all others. The foregoing principle is so basic that it applies to all the material elements of language, including phonemes. Every language forms its words on the basis of a system of sonorous elements, each element being a clearly delimited unit and one of a fixed number of units. Phonemes are characterized not, as one might think, by their own positive quality but simply by the fact that they are distinct. Phonemes are above all else opposing, relative, and negative entities. Proof of this is the latitude that speakers have between points of convergence in the pronunciation of distinct sounds. In French, for instance, general use of a dorsal r does not prevent many speak- from using a tongue-tip trill; language is not in the least disturbed by it; language requires only that the sound be different and not, as one might imagine, that it have an invariable quality. I can even pronounce the French r like German ch in Bach, dock, -etc., but in German I could not use r instead of ch, for German gives recognition to both elements and must keep them apart. Similarly, in Russian there is no latitude for t in the direction of t' (palatalized t), for the result would be the confusing of two sounds differentiated by the language (cf. govorit' 'speak' and goverit 'he speaks'), but more freedom may be taken with respect to th (aspirated t) since this sound does not figure in the Russian system of phonemes. Si'nce an identical state of affairs is observable in writing, another system of signs, we shall use writing to draw some comparisons that will clarify the whole issue. In fact: 1) The signs used in writing are arbitrary; there is no connection, for example, between the letter t and the sound that it ers designates. 2) The value of letters is purely negative and differential. The same person can write /, for instance, in different ways: ^ -^ f ; COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 120 The only requirement is that the sign for script with the signs used for I, t not be confused in his d, etc. 3) Values in writing function only through reciprocal opposition within a fixed system that consists of a set number of letters. This third characteristic, though not identical to the second, is closely depend on the first. Since the graphic sign is form matters little or rather matters only within the limitations imposed by the system. 4) The means by which the sign is produced is completely unimportant, for it does not affect the system (this also follows from related to it, for both arbitrary, its characteristic 1). Whether raised or engraved, with I make pen or the letters in white or black, chisel — all this is of no importance with respect to their signification. 4. The Sign Considered in Its Totality r"^ Everything that has been said up to this poiut boils down-4;0 \_JJbdsiin language there_are only differences. (Even more importan1;?> \ a difference generally implies positive terms between which the I difference 1 is set up; without positive terms. but in language there are only differences Whether we take the signified or the signifier, \ I I 'language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the lin- but only conceptual and phonic, differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance^hat a "§igS~t;Dntain5Js of less importance than the other signs that surround it. Proof of this is that the value of a term may be modified without either its meaning or its sound being affected, solely bej' cause a neighboring term has been modified (see p. 115). But the statement that everything in language is negative is true only if the signified and the signifier are considered separately when we consider the sign in its totality, we have something that is positive in its own class. A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas; but the pairing of a certain number of acoustical signs with as many cuts made from the mass of thought engenders a system of values and this system serves as the effective hnk between the phonic and psychological elements within each sign. Although both the sigguistic system, i nified and the signifier are purely differential and negative considered separately, their combination is when a positive fact; it is \ LINGUISTIC VALUE 121 even the sole type of facts that language has, for maintaining the parallelism between the two classes of differences is the distinctive function of the linguistic institution. Certain diachronic facts are typical in this respect. Take the countless instances where alteration of the signifier occasions a conceptual change and where sum of sum of the obvious that the it is ideas distinguished corresponds in principle to the When two words tinctive signs. alteration (e.g. French decrepit are confused through phonetic from decrepitus and decrepi from crispus), the ideas that they express will also tend to fused if the dis- become conmay have only they have something in common. Or a word and chaire 'desk'). Any nascent become significant but without always succeeding or being successful on the first trial. Conversely, any conceptual difference perceived by the mind seeks to find expression through a distinct signifier, and two ideas that are no longer distinct in the mind tend to merge into the same signifier. When we compare signs positive terms with each other, we can no longer speak of difference; the expression would not be fitting, for it apphes only to the comparing of two sound-images, e.g. father and mother, or two ideas, e.g. the idea "father" and the idea "mother"; two signs, each having a signified and signifier, are not different but only distinct. Between them there is only opposition. The entire mechanism of language, with which we shall be concerned later, is based on oppositions of this kind and on the phonic and conceptual differences that they imply. different forms (cf. chaise 'chair' difference will tend invariably to — — is true of value is true also of the unit (see pp. 110 ff.). A a segment of the spoken chain that corresponds to a certain What unit is concept; both are by nature purely differential. i Applied to units, the principle of differentiation can be stated in this way the characteristics of the unit blend with the unit itself. In : language, as in any semiological system, whatever distinguishes one sign from the others constitutes just as it makes value and the it. Difference Another rather paradoxical consequence this: in the last analysis matical fact" fits what is commonly of the it differs same principle referred to as a the definition of the unit, for an opposition of terms; makes character unit. it is "gram- always expresses only in that the opposition is COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 122 particularly significant (e.g. the formation of German plurals of the type Nacht: Ndchte). Each term present in the grammatical fact (the singular without umlaut or final e in opposition to the plural with umlaut and -e) consists of the interplay of a number of oppositions within the system. When isolated, neither Nacht nor Ndchte is anything: thus everything is opposition. Putting it another way, the Nacht: Ndchte relation can be expressed by an algebraic formula a/b in which a and h are not simple terms but result from a set of relations. Language, in a manner of speaking, is a type of algebra consisting solely of complex terms. significant names different Some of its oppositions are more than others; but units and grammatical facts are only for designating diverse aspects of the same general fact the functioning of linguistic oppositions. This statement : true that we might very starting from grammatical Ndchte, we might ask what facts. Taking an opposition and like so by Nacht: Are they of similar words, a and d, or all are the units involved in only the two words, the whole series singulars is well approach the problem of units it. plurals, etc.? Units and grammatical facts would not be confused if linguistic signs were made up of something besides differences. But language being what it is, we shall find nothing simple in it regardless of our approach; everywhere and always there is the same complex equilibrium of terms that mutually condition each other. Putting it another way, language is a form and not a substance (see p. 113). This truth could not be overstressed, for all the mistakes in our terminology, all our incorrect ways of naming things that pertain to language, stem from the involuntary supposition that the linguistic phenomenon must have substance. Chapter V SYNTAGMATIC AND ASSOCIATIVE RELATIONS 1. Definitions In a language-state everything they function? is based on relations. How do SYNTAGMATIC AND ASSOCIATIVE RELATIONS 123 Relations and differences between linguistic terms fall into two which generates a certain class of values. The opposition between the two classes gives a better understanding of the nature of each class. They correspond to two forms of our mental activity, both indispensable to the life of language. In discourse, on the one hand, words acquire relations based on distinct groups, each of the linear nature of language because they are chained together. This rules out the possibihty of pronouncing two elements simultaneously (see p. 70). The elements are arranged in sequence on the chain of speaking. Combinations supported by linearity are The syntagm is always composed of two or more conFrench re-lire 're-read,' contre tous 'against everyone,' la vie humaine 'human life,' Dieu est bon 'God is good,' s'il fait beau temps, nous sortirons 'if the weather is nice, we'll go out,' etc.). In the syntagm a term acquires its value only because syntagms.^ secutive units it (e.g. stands in opposition to everything that precedes or follows it, or to both. Outside discourse, on the other hand, words acquire relations of a different kind. Those that have something in ciated in the memory, resulting in groups common marked by are asso- diverse re- For instance, the French word enseignement 'teaching' will call to mind a host of other words (enseigner 'teach,' renseigner 'acquaint,' etc.; or armement 'armament,' changement 'amendment,' etc.; or education 'education,' apprentissage 'apprenticeship,' etc.). All those words are related in some way. We see that the co-ordinations formed outside discourse differ strikingly from those formed inside discourse. Those formed outside discourse are not supported by linearity. Their seat is in the lations. unconsciously brain; they are a part of the inner storehouse that makes up the language of each speaker. They are associative relations. The syntagmatic relation is in praesentia. It is based on two or more terms that occur in an effective series. Against this, the associative relation unites terms in absentia in a potential mnemonic series. From the associative and syntagmatic viewpoint a linguistic ^ It is scarcely necessary to point out that the study of syntagms is not to be confused with syntax. Syntax is only one part of the study of syntagms (see pp. 134 ff.). [Ed.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 124 is like a fixed part of a building, e.g. a column. On the one hand, the column has a certain relation to the architrave that it supports; the arrangement of the two units in space suggests the syntagmatic relation. On the other hand, if the column is Doric, it suggests a mental comparison of this style with others (Ionic, Corinthian, etc.) although none of these elements is present in unit space: the relation Each of the two is associative. classes of co-ordination calls for some specific remarks. Syntagmatic Relations 2. The examples on page 123 have already indicated that the notion of syntagm applies not only to words but to groups of words, to complex units of all lengths and types (compounds, derivatives, phrases, whole sentences). It is not enough to consider the relation that ties together the different parts of syntagms (e.g. French contre 'against' and tons 'everyone' in contre tous, contre and maitre 'master' in contremattre 'foreman') f one must also bear in mind the relation that links the whole to its parts (e.g. contre tous in opposition on the one hand to contre and on the other tous, or contremattre in opposition to contre and maitre). An objection might be raised at this point. The sentence is the ideal type of syntagm. But it belongs to speaking, not to language (see p. 14). Does it not follow that the syntagm belongs to speaking? I do not think so. Speaking is characterized by freedom of combinations; one must therefore ask whether or not all syntagms are equally free. It is obvious from the first that many expressions belong to language. These are the pat phrases in which any change is prohibited by usage, even if we can single out their meaningful elements (cf. a quoi bonf 'what's the use?' allons done! 'nonsense!'). The same is true, though to a lesser degree, of expressions like prendre la mouche 'take offense easily,'^ forcer la main d quelgii^un 'force someone's hand,' rompre une lance 'break a lance,'* or even avoir mal (d la * ^ « and waiter in headwaiter. [Tr.] Literally 'take the fly.' Cf. English take the bull by the horns. [Tr.] Cf. English bury the hatchet. [Tr.] Cf. English head 9 SYNTAGMATIC AND ASSOCIATIVE RELATIONS tete, etc.) 'have (a headache, (care, etc.),' que vous n'est besoin de terized by . . . etc.),' a force de {soins, en semblef 'how do you 'there's no need for . peculiarities of signification 125 etc.) 'by dint of about it?' pas which are characor syntax. These idiomatic . .,' feel etc., twists cannot be improvised; they are furnished by tradition. There are also words which, while lending themselves perfectly to analysis, are characterized by some morphological anomaly that is kept solely by dint of usage (cf difficulte 'difficulty' beside facilite 'facility,' etc., and mourrai '[I] shall die' beside dormirai '[I] shall . sleep'). There are further proofs. To language rather than to speaking belong the syntagmatic types that are built upon regular forms. Indeed, since there is nothing abstract in language, the types exist language has registered a sufficient number of specimens. arises in speaking (see pp. 167 ff.), its appearance supposes a fixed type, and this type is in turn possible only through remembrance of a sufficient number of similar words belonging to language (impardonable 'unpardonable,' intolerable only if When a word like indecorable Exactly the same is words built upon regular patterns. iourne 'the world turns,' que vous dit-ilf 'intolerable,' infatigable 'indefatigable,' etc.). true of sentences and groups of Combinations like la terre 'what does he say to you?' etc. correspond to general types that are in turn supported in the language by concrete remembrances. But we must realize that in the syntagm there is no clear-cut boundary between the language fact, which is a sign of collective usage, and the fact that belongs to speaking and depends on individual freedom. In a great number of instances it is hard to class a combination of units because both forces have combined in producing it, and they have combined in indeterminable proportions. Associative Relations 3. Mental association creates other groups besides those based on the comparing of terms that have something in common through ; grasp of the nature of the relations that bind the terms together, the mind creates as many associative series as there are diverse its relations. ' For instance, The anomaly in enseignement 'teaching,' enseigner 'teach,' of the double r in the future forms of certain verbs in to irregular plurals like oxen in English. [Tr.] may be compared French COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 126 enseignons '(we) teach,' etc., one element, the radical, to every term; the same word may occur in a around another common element, the is common different series formed suffix (cf enseignement, . ment, changement, etc.); or the association may arme- spring from the analogy of the concepts signified {enseignement, instruction, apprentissage, education, etc.); or again, simply from the similarity and justement 'precisely').^" meaning and form, meaning. A word can always of the sound-images (e.g. enseignement Thus there is at times a double similarity of at times similarity only of form or of evoke everything that can be associated with it in one way or another. Whereas a syntagm immediately suggests an order of succession and a fixed number of elements, terms in an associative family occur neither in fixed numbers nor in a definite order. If we associate painful, delightful, frightfid, etc. w^e are unable to predict the number words that the memory of which they will appear. constellation ; it is A particular will suggest or the order in word is like the center of a the point of convergence of an indefinite number terms (see the illustration on page 127). But of the two characteristics of the associative series indeterminate order and indefinite number only the first can always be verified the second may fail to meet the test. This happens in of co-ordinated — — ; the case of inflectional paradigms, which are typical of associative groupings. Latin dominus, dominl, domino, etc. is obviously an associative group formed around a theme domin-, but the series" [ enseig common element, the noun THE MECHANISM OF LANGUAGE is 127 not indefinite as in the case of enseignement, changement, etc. the of cases is definite. Against this, the words have no fixed ; number order of succession, and it is by a purely arbitrary act that the one way rather than in another; in the mind of speakers the nominative case is by no means the first one in the declension, and the order in which terms are called depends grammarian groups them in on circumstances. Chapter VI THE MECHANISM OF LANGUAGE Syntagmatic Solidarities set of phonic and conceptual differences that constitutes language results from two types of comparisons; the relations are 1. The sometimes associative, sometimes syntagmatic. The groupings in both classes are for the most part fixed by language; this set of common relations constitutes language and governs its functioning. What is most striking in the organization of language are syntagmatic solidarities; almost all units of language depend on what surrounds them in the spoken chain or on their successive parts. This is shown by word formation. A unit like painful decomposes discards associations that becloud the intelligibility of discourse. But its existence is proved by a lower category of puns based on the ridiculous confusions that can result from pure and simple homonomy like the French statement: "Les musiciens produisent les sons ['sounds, bran'] et les grainetiers vendent" 'musicians produce sons and seedsmen sell them.' [Cf. Shake"Not on thy sole, but on thy soul." (Tr.)] This is distinct from the case where an association, while fortuitous, is supported by a comparison of ideas (cf. French ergot 'spur': ergotcr 'wrangle'; German blau 'blue': durchblauen 'thrash soundly'); the point is that one member of the pair has a new interpretation. Folk etymologies like these (see pp. 173 ff.) are of interest in the study of semantic evolution, but from the synchronic viewpoint they are in les speare's the same category as enseigner: enseignement. [Ed.] " Cf. Enghsh education and the corresponding associative series: educate, educates, etc.; internship, training, etc.; vocation, devotion, etc.; fashion, etc. [Tr.] and lotion, COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 128 two subunits (pain-ful), but these subunits are not two independent parts that are simply lumped together (pain + ful) The unit is a product, a combination of two interdependent elements that acquire value only through their reciprocal action in a higher into . unit (pain X ful). The suffix is nonexistent when considered independently; what gives it a place in the language is a series of com- mon terms like delight-ful, fright-ful, etc. Nor is pendent. It exists only through combining with a the element gos- only through is its sufiix. In gos-Ung, The whole has value and the parts have value by virtue of their That is why the syntagmatic relation of the part its parts, place in the whole. to the whole nothing without the radical indesuffix. is just as important as the relation of the parts to each other. This general principle holds true for every type of syntagm enumerated above (pp. 124 ff.), for larger units are always composed of more restricted units linked by their reciprocal solidarity. To be sure, language has independent units that have syntag- matic relations with neither their parts nor other units. Sentence equivalents like yes, no, thanks, etc. are good examples. But exceptional fact does not compromise the general principle. this As a we do not communicate through isolated signs but rather through groups of signs, through organized masses that are themselves signs. In language everything boils down to differences but also to groupings. The mechanism of language, which consists of the interplay of successive terms, resembles the operation of a machine in which the parts have a reciprocating function even though they are arranged in a single dimension. rule 2. Simultaneous Functioning of the Two Types Between the sj^ntagmatic groupings, as of Groupings defined, there is a bond of interdependence; they mutually condition each other. In fact, spatial co-ordinations help to create associative co-ordinations, which are in turn necessary for analysis of the parts of the syntagm. Take the French compound de-faire 'un-do.' ^^ We can picture it as a horizontal ribbon that corresponds to the spoken chain: 12 Cf. English misplace. misspell, misrepresent, etc. To the French series correspond English mistake, and place, replace, displace, etc. [Tr.] : THE MECHANISM OF LANGUAGE 129 de-faire But simultaneously and on another axis there exists in the subconscious one or more associative series comprising units that have an element in common with the syntagm 130 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS Our memory holds more or less complex types and we bring in the associative groups to fix our choice when the time for using them arrives. When a Frenchman says marchons! '(let's) walk!' he in reserve all the of syntagms, regardless of their class or length, thinks unconsciously of diverse groups of associations that converge on the syntagm marchons! The syntagm figures in the series marche! '(thou) walk!' marchez! '(you) walk!' and the opposition between marchons! and the other forms determines his choice; in addition, marchons! calls up the series montons! '(let's) go up!' mangeons '(let's) eat!' etc. and is selected from the series by the same process. In each series the speaker knows what he must vary in order to produce the differentiation that fits the desired unit. If he changes the idea to be expressed, he will need other oppositions to bring out another value; for instance, he may say marchez! or perhaps montons! It is not enough to say, looking at the matter positively, that the speaker chooses marchons! because it signifies what he wishes to express. In reality the idea evokes not a form but a whole latent system that makes possible the oppositions necessary for the formation of the sign. By itself the sign would have no signification. If there were no forms like marche! marchez! against marchons!, certain oppositions w^ould disappear, and the value of marchons! would be changed ipso facto. This principle applies to even the most complex types of syntagms and sentences. To frame the question que vous dit-il? 'what does he say to youf the speaker varies one element of a latent syntactical pattern, e.g. que te dit-il? 'what does he say to theef^ que nous dit-il? 'what does he say to usf etc., until his choice is on the pronoun vous. In this process, which consists of elimi- fixed nating mentally everything that does not help to bring out the desired differentiation at the desired point, associative groupings and sjmtagmatic patterns both play a role. Conversely, the process of fixation and choice governs the smallest units and even phonological elements wherever they are value. I am thinking not only of cases like French (feminine form, written petite) in opposition to p9ti endowed with a pQtit 'small' (masculine form, written petit) or Latin domini against domino, where the difference happens to be based on a simple phoneme, but THE MECHANISM OF LANGUAGE also of the more subtle and characteristic fact that a 131 phoneme by plays a role in the system of a language-state. For example, itself if can never occur at the end of a word in Greek, this means that their presence or absence in a definite position counts m, p, t, etc. in the structure of the word and in the structure of the sentence. In every such case the isolated sound, like every other unit, is chosen after a dual mental opposition. In the imaginary grouping anma, for instance, the sound m stands in syntagmatic opposition to its environing sounds and in associative opposition to all other sounds that may come to mind: anma V d 3. Absolute and Relative Arbitrariness The mechanism of language can be presented from another especially important angle. The fundamental principle of the arbitrariness of the sign does not prevent our singling out in each language what is radically arbitrary, i.e. unmotivated, and what is only relatively arbitrary. Some signs are absolutely arbitrary; in others we note, not its complete absence, but the presence of degrees of arbitrariness the sign : may be relatively motivated. For instance, both vingt 'twenty' and dix-neuf 'nineteen' are unmotivated in French, but not in the same degree, for dix-neuf suggests its own terms and other terms associated with it (e.g. dix 'ten,' neuf 'nine,' vingtr-neuf 'twenty-nine,' dix-huit 'eighteen,' soixante-dix 'seventy,' etc.). Taken separately, dix and neuf are in the same class as vingt, but dix-neuf is an example of relative motivation. The same is true of poirier 'pear-tree,' which recalls the simple word poire 'pear' and, through its suffix, cerisier 'cherrytree,' pommier 'apple-tree,' etc.^' For fr^ne 'ash,' ch^ne 'oak,' etc. there is nothing comparable. Again, compare berger 'shepherd,' which is completely unmotivated, and vacher 'cowherd,' which is relatively motivated.^* In the same way, the pairs gedle 'jail' and " Cf. English flaxen, " Cf. English clerk, unmotivated, against /armer, relatively motivated. [Tr.] which suggests flax, silken, woolen, etc. [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 132 and couperet 'chopper/ concierge 'porand autrefois 'formerly,' souvent 'often' and frequemment 'frequently,' aveugle 'blind' and boiteux 'limping,' sourd 'deaf and bossu 'hunchbacked,' second 'second' and deuxieme 'second (of a series),' German Laub and French, feuillage 'foliage,' and French metier 'handicraft' and Gercachot 'dungeon,' hache *ax' ter' and portier 'doorman,' jadis 'of old' man Handwerk.^^ The English plural ships suggests through its formation the whole series flags, birds, books, etc., while men and sheep suggest nothing. In Greek doso 'I shall give' the notion of futurity is expressed by a sign that calls up the association luso, steso, tupso, etc.; eimi 'I shall go,' on the other hand, is completely isolated. This is not the place to search for the forces that condition motivation in each instance; but motivation varies, being always proportional to the ease of syntagmatic analysis and the obviousness of the meaning of the subunits present. Indeed, while some formative elements hke -ier in poir-ier against ceris-ier, pomm-ier, etc. are obvious, others are vague or meaningless. For instance, does the sufi&x -ot really French cachot 'dungeon'? correspond to a meaningful element in On comparing words like coutelas 'cutlas,' no more than the vague feeUng that -as is a formative element characteristic of substantives. At any rate, even in the most favorable fatras 'pile,' platras 'rubbish,' canevas 'canvas,' etc., one has cases motivation is never absolute. Not only are the elements of a motivated sign themselves unmotivated (cf. dix and neuf in dixneuf), but the value of the whole term is never equal to the sum of the value of the parts. Teach + er is not equal to teach X er (see p. 128). Motivation The notion is explained by the principles stated in Section 2. of relative motivation impUes: (1) analysis of a given term, hence a syntagmatic relation and ; (2) the summoning of one more other terms, hence an mechanism through which any term whatever lends itself to the expression of an idea, and is no more than that. Up to this point units have appeared as values, i.e. as elements of a system, and we or associative relation. It is the 1^ For examples not similar in English and French, compare completely unmotivated jail, slave, then and relatively motivated reformatory, servant, heretofore. [Tr.] — THE MECHANISM OF LANGUAGE have given special consideration to their opposition 133 ; now we recog- nize the solidarities that bind them; they are associative and syntagmatic, and they are what limits arbitrariness. Dix-neuf is supported associatively by dix-huit, soixante-dix, etc. and syntagmatically by its relation gives it elements dix and neuf (see p. 128). This dual a part of its value. Everything that relates to language as a system must, I am convinced, be approached from this viewpoint, which has scarcely received the attention of linguists: the limiting of arbitrariness. This is the best possible basis for approaching the study of language as a system. In fact, the whole system of language is based on the irrational principle of the arbitrariness of the sign, lead to the worst sort of complication if which would applied without restriction. and regumass of signs, and this is the role of relative motivation. If the mechanism of language were entirely rational, it could be studied independently. Since the mechanism of language is but a partial correction of a system that is by nature chaotic, however, we adopt the viewpoint imposed by the very nature of language and study it as it limits arbitrariness. There is no language in which nothing is motivated, and our definition makes it impossible to conceive of a language in which everything is motivated. Between the two extremes a minimum we find all posof organization and a minimum of arbitrariness But the mind contrives to introduce a principle of order larity into certain parts of the — sible varieties. types Diverse languages always include elements of both —radically arbitrary and relatively motivated—but in pro- portions that vary greatly, and this that — may is an important characteristic help in classifying them. — In a certain sense one which must not be pushed too far but which brings out a particular form that the opposition may take we might say that languages in which there is least motivation are more lexicological, and those in which it is greatest are more grammatical. Not because "lexical" and ''arbitrary" on the one hand and "grammar" and "relative motivation" on the other, are always synonymous, but because they have a common principle. The two extremes are like two poles between which the whole system moves, two opposing currents which share the movement of language the tendency to use the lexicological instrument (the unmotivated : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 134 sign) and the preference given to the grammatical instrument (structural rules). We would see, for example, that motivation plays a much larger But the ultra-lexicological type is Chinese while Proto-Indo-European and Sanskrit are specimens of role in German than in English. the ultra^grammatical type. Within a given language, all evolutionary movement may be characterized by continual passage from motivation to arbitrariness and from arbitrariness to motivation; this see-saw motion often results in a perceptible change in the proportions of the two classes of signs. Thus with respect to Latin, French is characterized, among other things, by a huge increase in arbitrariness. Latin inimicus recalls in- and amicus and is motivated by them; against this, ennemi 'enemy' is motivated by — nothing it has reverted 1 o absolute arbitrariness, which is really the prime characteristic cf the linguistic sign. We would notice this shift in 'cost,' hundreds of instances: fahrica (faber): forge 'forge,' cf. constdre magister {stare): 'master,' herhicarius (herhix): herger 'shepherd,' etc. its characteristic appearance to this couter maltre (magis): French owes fact. Chapter VII GRAMMAR AND L ITS SUBDIVISIONS Definitions: Traditional Divisions Static linguistics or the description of a language-state is gram- very precise, and moreover usual, sense that the word has in the expressions "grammar of the Stock Exchange," etc., where it is a question of a complex and systematic object governing mar in the the interplay of coexisting values. Grammar studies language as a system of means of expression. Grammatical means synchronic and significant, and since no system straddles several periods, there is no such thing as "historical grammar"; the discipline so labeled is really only diachronic linguistics. GRAMMAR AND ITS SUBDIVISIONS 135 My definition disagrees with the narrower one usually given. Morphology and syntax together are what is generally called grammar while lexicology, or the science of words, is excluded. But first, do these divisions fit the facts? Do they agree with principles that Morphology deals with different classes of adjectives, pronouns, etc.) and with (conjugation, declension, etc.). it is the have just been posited? words (verbs, nouns, different inflectional forms To separate this study from syntax, alleged that syntax has as its object the functions attached to morphology considers only their form. For morphology says simply that the genitive of Greek phulax 'guardian' is phulakos, and syntax explains the use of the two linguistic units while instance, forms. But the distinction is illusory. The series of forms of the sub- stantive phulax becomes an inflectional paradigm only through comparison of the functions attached to the different forms; if each function corresponds to a definite phonic sign. A declension is neither a Ust of forms nor a series of logical abstractions but a combination of reciprocally, the functions are morphological only the two (see pp. 102 £f.). Forms and functions are interdependent and it is difiicult, if not impossible, to separate them. Linguistically, morphology has no real, autonomous discipline distinct from syntax. object. It cannot form a Second, it is not logical to exclude lexicology from grammar. As they are registered in the dictionary, words do not seem at first glance to lend themselves to grammatical study, which is generally between units. But we notice at once that innumerable relations may be expressed as eflEiciently by words as by grammar. For instance, Latin fid and facio stand in opposition to each other in the same way as dlcor and died, two grammatical forms of the same word. The distinction between the perfective and imperfective is expressed grammatically in Russian sprosit': sprdsivat' 'ask' and lexicologically in skazdt': govorit' 'say.' Prepositions are usually assigned to grammar, but the prepositional locution en consideration de 'in consideration of is basically lexicological since the word consideration retains its own meaning in the French phrase. If we compare Greek peitho: peithomai with French je persuade 'I persuade': foheis 'I obey,' we see that the restricted to the relations COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 136 opposition is expressed grammatically in the lexicologically in the second. A large number first instance and of relations that are expressed in certain languages by cases or prepositions are rendered by compounds, more like words proper (French royaume deux 'kingdom of heaven' and German Himmelreich), or by derivatives (French moulin d, vent 'windmill' and Pohsh wiatr-ak) or finally, by simple words (French hois de chauffage 'firewood' and Russian drovd, French bois de construction 'timber' and Russian Us). The interchange of simple words and phrases within the same in others des language also occurs very frequently (cf. French considerer 'consider' and prendre en consideration 'take into consideration,' se venger de 'avenge' and tirer vengeance de 'take revenge on'). Functionally, therefore, the lexical and the syntactical may between any word that is not a simple, irreducible unit and a phrase, which is a syntactical fact. The arrangement of the subunits of the word obeys the same fundamental principles as the arrangement of groups of words in blend. There is basically no distinction phrases. may be do not correspond to natural distinctions. To build a grammar, we must look for a different and a higher In short, although the traditional divisions of grammar useful in practice, they principle. 2. Rational Divisions Morphology, syntax, and lexicology interpenetrate because every synchronic fact is identical. No line of demarcation can be drawn in advance. Only the distinction established above between S3nitagmatic and associative relations can provide a classification that is not imposed from the outside. No other base will serve for the grammatical system. We should first gather together all that makes up a languageand fit this into a theory of syntagms and a theory of associations. Immediately certain parts of traditional grammar would seem to fall effortlessly into one category or the other. Inflection state is evidently a typical kind of association of forms in the speakers; and syntax to the most common (i.e. mind of the theory of word groupings, according definition) goes back to the theory of syn- tagms, for the groupings always suppose at least two units dis- ROLE OF ABSTRACT ENTITIES IN GRAMMAR 137 Not every syntagmatic fact is classed as synbut every syntactical fact belongs to the syntagmatic tributed in space. tactical, class. To prove of grammar the necessity of the dual approach, almost any point will do. The notion of word, for instance, poses two distinct problems, depending on whether the word is studied from the associative or the syntagmatic viewpoint. In French, the adjective grand 'big' offers a duality of form from the syntagmatic viewpoint (grd gargon written grand gargon 'big boy' and grat dfa, written grand enfant 'big baby') and another duality from the associative viewpoint (masculine gra, written grand, and feminine grad, written grande). Each fact should in this way be fitted into its syntagmatic or and the whole subject matter of grammar should be arranged along its two natural co-ordinates; no other division will show what must be changed in the usual framework of synchronic linguistics. I cannot undertake that task here, for my aim is limited to stating only the most general principles. associative class, Chapter VIII ROLE OF ABSTRACT ENTITIES IN GRAMMAR One important subject, not yet touched upon, points up this necessity of examining every grammatical question from the very two viewpoints specified in Chapter VII abstract entities in grammar. Let us consider them first associatively. : To associate thing in two forms common but is not only to feel that they have some- also to single out the nature of the relations that govern associations. For instance, speakers are aware that the between enseigner and enseignement or juger and jugement not the same as the relation between enseignement and jugement 'judgment' (see p. 125). This is how the system of associations is tied to the system of grammar. We can say that the sum of the relation is conscious and methodical classifications made by the grammarian COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 138 who studies a language-state without bringing in history coincide with the associations, conscious or not, that are set speaking. These associations fix must up in word-famiUes, inflectional para- digms, and formative elements (radicals, suflSxes, inflectional end- our minds (see pp. 185 ff.). But does association single out only material elements? No, of course not. We have already seen that it brings together words that are related only through meaning (cf. enseignement, apprentissage, education, etc.). The same must apply in grammar. ings, etc.) in genitive forms domin-i, reg-is, ros-drum. The sounds of the three endings offer no basis for association, yet the endings are connected by the feeling that they have a common value which prescribes an identical function. This suffices to create the association in the absence of any material support, and the Take the three Latin notion of the genitive in this Through a way takes its place in the language. similar procedure, the inflectional endings -ws, -^, -o, dominus, dominl, domino, etc.) are Unked together in the mind and are the basis for the more general notions of case and case endings. Associations of the same class, but larger still, combine all substantives, adjectives, etc. and fix the notion of parts of etc. (in speech. All these things exist in language, but as abstract entities; their study is difficult because we never know exactly whether or not the awareness of speakers goes as far as the analyses of the grammarian. But the important thing is that abstract entities are always based, in the last analysis, on concrete entities. No grammatical abstraction is possible without a series of material elements as a basis, and in the end we must always come back to these elements. Now we turn to the syntagmatic viewpoint. The value of a cluster is often linked to the order of its elements. In analyzing a syntagm, the speaker does not restrict himself to singling out its parts; he observes a certain order of succession among them. The meaning of English pain-fid or Latin signi-fer depends on the respective positions of their subunits: fer-signum. we cannot say ful-pain or A value may have no relations with a concrete element (hke -ful or -fer) and result solely from the arrangement of the terms; for instance, the different significations of the two clusters in French je dois 'I must' and dois-je? 'must I?' are due only to ROLE OF ABSTRACT ENTITIES IN GRAMMAR word order. One language sometimes expresses through 139 word or- der an idea that another would convey through one or more concrete terms. In the syntagmatic pattern gooseberry wine, gold watch, etc., English expresses through the mere order of the terms re- lations that are denoted in de groseilles, montre en Modern French by prepositions (cf. vin Modern French in turn expresses or, etc.). the notion of direct complement solely through putting the substantive after the transitive verb (cf. je cueille une fleur 'I pick a and some other languages use the accusative, by special case endings, etc. Word order is unquestionably an abstract entity, but it owes its existence solely to the concrete units that contain it and that flow flower'), while Latin which is characterized in a single dimension. To think that there is an incorporeal syntax outside material units distributed in space would be a mistake. In man I have seen apparently uses a zero-sign to stand for a syntactical fact which French expresses by que 'that' (I'homme que j'ai vu). But the comparing of the English with the French English, the syntactical fact is precisely what produces the illusion that nothingness can express something. The material units alone actually create the value by being arranged in a certain way. We cannot study a syntactical value outside a number of concrete terms, and the very fact that we understand a linguistic complex (e.g. the English words cited above) shows that word-order alone expresses the thought. A material unit exists only through its meaning and function. This principle is especially important in understanding smaller units, for one is tempted to think that they exist by virtue of their sheer material quality that love, for example, owes its existence solely to its sounds. Conversely as we have just seen a meaning and function exist only through the support of some material form. This principle was formulated with respect to larger syntagms or syntactical patterns, but only because one is inclined to see these as immaterial abstractions hovering over the terms of the sentence. By complementing each other, the two principles bear out my statements relative to the delimiting of units (see p. 103). — — — PART THREE Diachronic Linguistics Chapter I GENERALITIES What diachronic linguistics studies not relations between co- is existing terms of a language-state but relations between successive terms that are substituted for each other in time. There is really no such thing as absolute immobility (see pp. ff.). Every part of language is subjected to change. To each period there corresponds some appreciable evolution. Evolution 75 may vary in rapidity and intensity, principle. whether The stream its course That we often but this does not invahdate the of language flows without interruption; calm or torrential is fail is of secondary importance. to see this uninterrupted evolution is due to the attention paid to the literary language which, as will appear later (pp. 195 ff.) is superimposed on the vulgar language natural language) and language, once is subjected to other forces. The (i.e. the literary has been formed, generally remains fairly stable its identity; its dependence on writing gives it special guarantees of preservation; therefore it cannot show us how it and tends to keep much natural languages change when freed from any literary regimentation. Phonetics —and phonetics all of — is the prime object of dia- chronic linguistics. In fact, the evolution of sounds is incompatible with the notion of states to compare phonemes or groups of phonemes with what they were previously means to set up a diachrony. One period may be closely related to the next, but when the two merge, phonetics ceases to play a part. Nothing is left but the ; description of the sounds of a language-state, and that is the task of phonology. The diachronic character of phonetics 140 fits in very well with the GENERALITIES 141 which is phonetic is neither significant nor grammatical in the broad sense of the word phonetic (see p. 18). In studying the history of the sounds of a word, we may ignore meaning and, by considering only the material envelope of a word, cut out phonic slices without asking whether they have a signification. For instance, we may try to trace the meaningless group -ewo- in Attic Greek. If the evolution of language meant nothing more than the evolution of its sounds, the opposition between the objects that belong to each of the two parts of linguistics would immediately be crystal clear. It would be obvious that diachronic is equivalent to nongrammatical and synchronic to grammatical. But sounds are not the only things that change with time. Words change their signification. Grammatical classes evolve. Some of them disappear along with the forms that were used to express principle that anything (e.g. the dual number in Latin). And if all associative and syntagmatic facts in a synchronic state have their history, how is the absolute distinction between diachrony and synchrony to be maintained? This becomes very difficult when we leave the them domain of phonetics. It is worth noting, however, that many changes often considered grammatical are really only phonetic. Such "grammatical" creations as German Hand: Hdnde, which replaced hant: hanti (see p. 83), yield completely to a phonetic explanation. Another pho- compounds of the type SpringbrunHigh German the first element was not verbal but substantival. Beta-hus meant 'house of prayer'; but netic fact is at the base of nen, Reitschule, etc. In Old change brought about the fall of the final vowel a semantic contact was established with the verb (beten, etc.), and Bethaus then signified 'house for praying.' Something similar occurred in compounds formed with the word llch 'outward appearance' in Old High German (cf. mannollch 'having the appearance of a man,' redollch 'having the appearance of reason,' etc.). Today, in a number of adjectives (cf. verzeihlich, glaublich, etc.), -lich is comparable to the suffix in pardon-able, heliev-able, etc., and at the same time the interpretation of the first element, through loss of the final vowel (e.g. redo —^ red-), is Ukened to a verbal root (red- from reden) In glaublich, glaub- is accordingly linked to glauben rather than after a phonetic (beta — > bet-, etc.), . COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 142 to Glauhe, and in spite of the difference in the radical, sichtlich is associated with sehen and not Sicht. In all the preceding instances and in many other similar ones, The linmind or risk thinking that he is grammar when he is actually moving succes- the distinction between the two classes remains clear-cut. guist must keep this distinction in studying historical sively from diachrony, where he studies phonetic changes, to synchrony, where he examines the consequences that issue from these changes. of But this restriction does not remove all difficulties. The evolution any grammatical fact, regardless of its syntagmatic or gram- matical character, is not like the evolution of a sound. It is not simple but decomposes into a great number of particular facts of which only a part are phonetic. In the genesis of a syntagmatic pattern like the French future prendre ai *(I) have to take,' which became prendrai *(I) shall take,' there are at least two distinct facts, one psychological (the synthesis of the two elements of the concept) and the other phonetic and dependent on the first (the reduction of the two accents of the combination to one: prendre ai —> prendrai). The inflection of the strong man gehen, gab, gegeben, etc., cf. Germanic verb (like Modern GerGreek leipo, elipon, leloipa, etc.) is radical vowels. These alternations based chiefly on the ablaut of (see p. 157), which began as a relatively simple system, doubtless result from a mere phonetic fact. But for the oppositions to acquire such functional importance, the original inflectional system had to be simplified through a series of diverse processes: the disappearance of multiple varieties of the present and of the shades of meaning attached to them; the disappearance of the imperfect, the and the aorist; the elimination of reduplication of the perThese nonphonetic changes reduced verbal inflection to a restricted group of forms in which radical alternations became very important in signaling meaning. Thus the opposition e: a is more significant in gehen: gab than is the opposition e: o in Greek leipo: leloipa, for the German perfect lacks reduplication and the Greek future, fect, etc. has it. Phonetic change, though it does generally affect evolution in some way, cannot explain it entirely. Once the phonetic force is PHONETIC CHANGES we 143 seems to justify the idea of a lies the real difficulty. This indispensable distinction between diachrony and synchrony would eliminated, find a residue that "history of grammar," and therein call for detailed explanations that are outside the scope of this course.^ we In the following chapters shall study, successively, phonetic changes, alternation, and analogical facts, and conclude with some remarks about folk etymology and agglutination. Chapter II PHONETIC CHANGES 1. Their Absolute Regularity We saw earlier (p. 93) that a phonetic but sounds. What is transformed is change affects not words a phoneme. This event, though isolated like all other diachronic events, results in the identical alteration of all words containing the same phoneme. It is in this sense that phonetic changes are absolutely regular. In German, every I became ei, then ai: win, trlben, lihen, zlt became Wein, treiben, leihen, Zeit; every u became au: hus, zun, ruch became Haus, Zaun, Rauch; in the same way ii changed to eu: hiiser became Hduser, etc. On the contrary, the diphthong ie became I, which is still written ie: cf. biegen, lieb, Tier. In addition, every uo became u: muot became Mut, etc. Every z became s (writ1 To this didactic external reason might be added another: in his lectures F. de Saussure never approached Unguistics of speaking (see pp. 17 ff.). recall that a new speech form always owes its origin to a series of individual might say that the author refused to classify these as facts (see p. 98). grammatical in the sense that an isolated act is necessarily foreign to language and to its system, which depends only on the set of collective patterns. It is We We only when an innovation becomes engraved in the memory throuj^h frequent and enters the system that it effects a shift in the ocjuilibrium of values and that language changes, spontaneously and ipso facto. We might apply to grammatical evolution what was said on pages 18 and 84 about phonetic evolution: its end result is outside the system, for the system is never observed in its evolution; it differs from one moment to the next. This attempted explanation is just a simple suggestion on our part. [Ed.] repetition COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 144 ten ss, see p. 36) : wazer —» Wasser, jliezen -^ intervocalic h disappeared: llhen, leihen, sehen). Every w was sehen — fliessen, etc. leien, > changed to labiodental seen v Every (written (written w): wazer -^ waser (Wasser). In French, every palatalized bouillir 'boil' are pronounced I ptTje, became y: piller 'pillar' and huyir, etc. In Latin, what was once intervocalic s appears as r in another period: *genesis, *asena -^ generis, arena, etc. Any phonetic change at all, when seen in its true light, would confirm the perfect regularity of these transformations. 2. Conditioned Phonetic Changes The preceding examples have already shown that phonetic phe- from always being absolute, are more often linked to fixed conditions. Putting it another way, what is transformed is not the phonological species but the phoneme as it occurs under certain conditions its environment, accentuation, etc. For instance, s became r in Latin only between vowels and in certain other positions; elsewhere it remains (cf. est, senex, equos). Absolute changes are extremely rare. That changes often appear to be absolute is due to the obscure or extremely general nature of the conditions. In German, for example, i became ei, ai, but only in a tonic syllable. Proto-Indo-European A;i became h in Germanic (cf. Proto-Indo-European *k\olsom, Latin collum, German Hals), but the change did not occur after s (cf. Greek skotos and Gothic nomena, far — skadus 'shadow'). Besides, the classing of changes as absolute or conditioned is based on a superficial view of things. It is more logical, in line with the growing trend, to speak of spontaneous and combinatory phonetic phenomena. Changes are spontaneous when their cause is internal and combinatory when they result from the presence of one or more other phonemes. The passing of Proto-Indo-European to Germanic a (cf. Gothic skadus, German Hals, etc.) is thus a spontaneous fact. Germanic consonantal mutations or Lautver- schiehungen typify spontaneous change: Proto-Indo-European ki became h in Proto-Germanic (cf Latin collum and Gothic hals) and Proto-Germanic t, which is preserved in English, became z (pronounced ts) in High German (cf. Gothic taihun, EngUsh ten, . PHONETIC CHANGES German 145 zehn) Against this, the passing of Latin ct, pi to Italian tt factum -^fatto, captlvum —^ cattivo) is a combinatory fact, for the first element was assimilated to the second. The German umlaut is also due to an external cause, the presence of i in the following syllable: while gast did not change, gasti became gesti, . (cf. Gaste. The is result a change is is not an issue in either case, and whether or not there no importance. For instance, on comparing Gothic of with Latin piscis and Gothic skadus with Greek skotos, we observe in the first pair the persistence of i and in the second the passing of o to a. The first phoneme remained while the second one fisks changed, but what matters is that each acted independently. combinatory phonetic fact is always conditioned, but a spontaneous fact is not necessarily absolute, for it may be conditioned negatively by the absence of certain forces of change. In this way Proto-Indo-European ki spontaneously became qu in Latin (cf. quattuor, inquillna, etc.) but not, for instance, when followed by or M (cf. cottidie, cold secundus, etc.). In the same way the persistence of Proto-Indo-European i in Gothic fisks, etc. is linked to a condition the i could not be followed by r or h, for then it became e, written at (cf wair -^ Latin vir and maihsius —> German A — . Mist). 3. Points on Method In devising formulas to express phonetic changes sider we must con- the preceding distinctions or risk presenting the facts incorrectly. Here are some examples of inaccuracies. According to the old formulation of Verner's law, "in Germanic every noninitial Ip changed to 6 if the accent came after it": cf. on the one hand *fa])er —> *fa'6er (German Vater), *li]>ume —» *li'6ume (German litten), and on the other *^ris (German drei), *bro])er (German Bruder), *li\>o (German hide), where J? remains. This formula gives the active role to accent and introduces a restrictive clause for initial ]?. What actually happened is quite different. In Germanic, as in Latin, J? tended to sonorize spontaneously within a word only the placing of the accent on the preceding vowel could ; prevent it. Everything is therefore reversed. The fact is spon- — COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 146 taneous, not combinatory, and the accent is an obstacle rather than "Every internal Ip became unless the change was opposed by the placing of the accent on the precipitating cause. tS We should say: the preceding vowel." In order to separate what is spontaneous from what is comwe must analyze the stages of the transformation and not mistake the mediate result for the immediate one. It is wrong to explain rhotacization, for instance (cf. Latin *genesis —> generis), by saying that s became r between two vowels, for s, having no laryngeal sound, could never become r directly. There are really two acts. First, s became z through a combinatory change. Second, this sound was replaced by closely related r since z had not been retained in the sound system of Latin. The second change was spontaneous. It is therefore a serious mistake to consider the two dissimilar facts as a single phenomenon. The fault is on the one hand in mistaking the mediate result for the immediate one (s —> r instead of z-^r) and on the other, in regarding the total phenomenon as combinatory when this is true of only its first part. This is the same as saying that e became a before a nasal in French. The fact is that there were in succession a combinatory change nasalization of e by n (cf Latin ventum —> French vent, Latin femina —» French /ewa, femd) and a spontaneous change of e to o (cf. vant, fdmd, now vd, fdm). To raise the objection that the change could occur only before a nasal consonant would be pointless. The question is not why e was nasalized but only whether the transformation of e into d is spontaneous or combinatory. The most serious mistake in method that I can recall at this point although it is not related to the principles stated above is that of formulating a phonetic law in the present tense, as if the facts embraced by it existed once and for all instead of being born and dying within a span of time. The result is chaos, for in this way binatory, . — — any chronological succession ready emphasized this point of events is lost sight of. I (p. have al- 97) in analyzing the successive phenomena that explain the duality of trikhos: thriksi. Whoever says "s became r in Latin" gives the impression that rhotacization is inherent in the nature of language and finds it difficult to account for exceptions like causa, rlsus, etc. s became r in Latin" justifies Only the formula "intervocalic our believing that causa, rlsus, etc. PHONETIC CHANGES had no s at change. the The moment when fact is s became that speakers still r 147 and were sheltered from For said caussa, rlssus, etc. a similar reason we must say "a became e in the Ionian dialect (cf. mater meter, etc.), for otherwise we would not know what to make of forms (which were like pdsa, phdsi, etc. still pansa, phansi, etc. during the period of the change), 4. Causes of Phonetic Changes The search for the causes of phonetic changes is one of the most problems of linguistics. Many explanations have been proposed, but none of them thoroughly illuminates the problem. difficult 1) One supposition is that racial predispositions trace beforehand the direction of phonetic changes. This raises a question of comparative anthropology: Does the phonational apparatus vary from one race to the next? No, scarcely more than from one individual to the next, A newborn Negro transplanted to France speaks French as well as a native Frenchman. Furthermore, ex- pressions like "the Italian vocal apparatus" or "the mouth of Germanic speakers does not allow that" imply that a mere historical fact is a permanent characteristic. This is similar to the mistake of stating a phonetic law in the present tense. To pretend that the and changes it to e is just as erroneous as to say that d "becomes" e in Ionian. The Ionian vocal apparatus had no aversion to d, for this sound was used in certain instances. This is obviously an example, not Ionian vocal apparatus finds long a of racial incapacity, but of a difficult change in articulatory habits. In the same way Latin, which had not retained intervocalic s {*genesis — >• —> risus). These changes do not indicate a permanent disposition of the generis), reintroduced it a short time later (cf. *rissus Latin voice. There is doubtless a general direction that phonetic phenomena The follow during a particular period and within a specific nation. monophthongizations of diphthongs in Modern French are manifestations of one and the same tendency, but we would find similar general currents in political history and never question their being merely historical without any direct influence of race, 2) Phonetic changes have often been considered adaptions to conditions of soil and climate. Consonants abound in some > : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 148 northern languages while more vowels occur in certain southern languages, giving them their harmonious sound. Climate and living conditions may well influence language, but the problem becomes complicated as soon as we enter into detail: beside the Scandinavian idioms with their many consonants are those of the Lapps and Finns, which are even more vocalic than Italian. We also notice that the accumulation of consonants in present-day is in many instances a quite recent fact, due to the German posttonic fall of vowels; that certain dialects of southern France are less opposed to consonantal clusters than the French of the north that Serbian ; many consonantal clusters as Great Russian, etc. 3) The cause of phonetic changes has also been ascribed to the law of least effort by which two articulations are replaced by one has as or a difficult articulation by an easier one. This idea, regardless of of phonetic may clarify the cause changes or at least indicate the direction that the search for must what is said about it it, is w^orth examining. It take. The law of least effort seems to explain a certain number of cases the passing of an occlusive to a spirant (Latin habere avoir 'have') ; the fall of — ^ > French great clusters of final syllables in phenomena relating Greek alios, tn —> nn languages; *alyos — to assimilation (e.g. ly as in *atnos — > —> many II Latin annus) as in ; the monophthongization of diphthongs, which is only another type of assimilation (e.g. ai —^ e as in French maizon —> mezo, written maison 'house'), etc. But we might mention just as many instances where exactly the we can change of German l, u, ii, to ei, au, eu. If the shortening of Slavic a, etod, e is due to least effort, then the reverse phenomenon offered by German (fater -^ Vdter, gehen —» geben) must be due to opposite occurs. Against monophthongization, for example, set the greatest effort. If voicing is easier than nonvoicing (cf . opera — Provencal obra), the reverse must necessitate greater effort, and yet Spanish passed from z to X (cf hixo, written hijo) and Germanic changed b, d, gtop,t,k. If loss of aspiration (cf. Proto-Indo-European *bherd —> Germanic beran) is considered a lessening of effort, . what is to be said of German, which inserts aspiration where it did not exist {Tanne, Pute, etc., pronounced Thanne, Phute)? The foregoing remarks do not pretend to refute the proposed PHONETIC CHANGES 149 we can scarcely determine what is easiest or most each language to pronounce. Shortening means less effort in the sense of duration, but it is equally true that long sounds allow careless pronunciations while short sounds require more care. Given different predispositions, we can therefore present two opposing facts from the same viewpoint. Thus where k became ts (cf. Latin cedere —> Italian cedere), there is apparently an increase in effort if we consider only the end terms of the change, solution. In fact, difficult for but the impression would probably differ if we reconstructed the became palatalized k' through assimilation to the folloA\'ing chain: k vowel then ; difficult; k' passed to ky; the pronunciation did not become more two tangled elements in k' were clearly differentiated; ty, tx, t^, everywhere then from ky speakers passed successively to with less effort. The law of least effort would require extensive study. It would be necessary to consider simultaneously the physiological viewpoint (the question of articulation) and the psychological view- point (the question of attention). 4) An explanation that has been favored for several years attributes changes in pronunciation to our phonetic education groping and many trials and corpronouncing what he hears around him; here would be the starting point of all changes; certain uncorrected inaccuracies would win out in the individual and become fixed in the generation that is growing up. Children often pronounce t for k, and our languages offer no corresponding phonetic change in their history. But this is not true of other deformations. In Paris, for instance, many children pronounce fl'eur (fleur 'flower') and Wane (blanc 'white') with palatalized I; now it was through a similar process that florem became ft'ore, then fiore, in during childhood. After much rections, the child succeeds in Italian. The preceding observations deserve careful attention but leave what prompts a generation to the problem undented. Indeed, retain certain mistakes to the exclusion of others that are just as From appearances the choice of faulty prois no obvious reason for it. Besides, why did the phenomenon break through at one time rather than another? natural is not nunciations is clear. all completely arbitrary, and there COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 150 The same question applies to all the preceding causes of phonetic they are accepted as real. Climatic influence, racial predisposition, and the tendency toward least effort are all permanent or lasting. Why do they act sporadically, sometimes on one point of the phonological system and sometimes on another? A historical event must have a determining cause, yet we are not told what changes if chances in each instance to unleash a change whose general cause has existed for a long time. This is the most diflEicult point to explain. 5) Phonetic changes are sometimes linked to the general state moment. Languages go through some of the nation at a particular periods that are more turbulent than others. There have been attempts to relate phonetic changes to turbulent periods in a nation's history and in this way to discover a link between political instability and linguistic instability; this done, some think that they can apply conclusions concerning language in general to phonetic changes. They observe, for example, that the sharpest upheavals of Latin in its development into the Romance languages coincided with the highly disturbed period of invasions. Two distinctions will serve as guideposts: a) Political stability does not influence language in the same way as political instability here there ; equilibrium slows down though external cause is is no reciprocity. involved. But opposite effect, acts only negatively. — When poUtical the evolution of language, a positive instability, which has the ImmobiUty —the relative an idiom may an academy, writing, etc.) which in turn is positively favored by social and political equilibrium. But if some external upheaval that has affected the equihbrium of the nation fixation of have an external cause (the influence of a court, school, precipitates Hnguistic evolution, this reverts back to its free state is because language simply and follows its regular course. The immobility of Latin of the classical period is due to external facts; the changes that it later underwent, however, were self-generated in the absence of certain external conditions. b) Here we are dealing only with phonetic phenomena and not with every type of modification of language. Grammatical changes are obviously similar. Because they are always closely linked to PHONETIC CHANGES 151 thought, grammatical facts are more easily affected by the impact which have a more immediate repercussion of external upheavals, on the mind. But there is no solid basis for the behef that sudden evolutions of the sounds of an idiom correspond to turbulent periods in the history of a nation. Still, it is where language is in a deceptive state of — even among those immobility that has impossible to cite a single period — witnessed no phonetic changes. 6) The "linguistic substratum" has also been posited as the cause of phonetic changes. The absorption of an indigenous population by newcomers brings about certain changes. The difference between Proven9al and French {langue d'oc and langue dfoil) would accordingly correspond to a different proportion of the autoch- thonous Celtic element in the two parts of Gaul. This theory has also been used to trace the dialectal differences of Italian and the influence of Ligurian, Etruscan, etc., depending on the region. But this hypothesis supposes circumstances that are rarely found. Second, one must be more specific Did earlier populations introduce some of their own articulatory habits into the new language first, : on adopting it? This is admissible and quite natural. But if the imponderable forces of race, etc. are called in anew, the pitfalls described earlier reappear. 7) A final explanation —which scarcely merits the name—com- pares phonetic changes to changes in fashion. But no one has We know only that they depend on laws of imitation, which are the concern of the psychologist. This explanation, though it does not solve our problem, has the advantage explained these changes. of fitting it into another larger cal basis for phonetic changes. imitation? That is problem and positing a psychologiBut where is the starting point of the mystery, in phonetic changes as well as in changes of fashion. 5. The If Effect of Phonetic we try to determine Changes Is Unlimited how far phonetic changes will go, we see immediately that they are unhmited and incalculable, i.e. we cannot foresee where they will stop. It is childish to think that the word can be changed only up to a certain point, as if there were something about it that could preserve it. Phonetic modifications COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 152 derive their character from the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign,^ which distinct from the signified. can easily observe that the sounds of a word have been affected at a certain moment and see the extent of the damage, but we cannot say beforehand how far the word has become or will is We become unrecognizable. Like every word having the same ending, Proto-Indo-European *aiwom (cf Latin aevom) changed to *aiwan, *aiwa, *aiw in ProtoGermanic; next, *aiw became ew in Old High German, as did every word that contained the cluster aiw; then the change of final wtoo resulted in eo, which in turn passed to eo, io in accordance with other equally general rules; finally io became ie, je, giving Modern German je (cf. das schonste, was ichje gesehen habe 'the prettiest . that I have ever seen'). The modern word does not contain a single one of its original elements when considered from the viewpoint of the starting point Each step, when viewed separately, is absoand regular and limited in its effect; viewed as a whole, however, the word gives the impression of an unlimited number of modifications. We might make the same observation about Latin calidum by first leaving out the transitional forms and comparing this form with Modern French so (written chaud and the end result. lutely certain 'warm'), then retracing the steps: calidum, calidu, caldu, cold, tsalt, tsaut, Saut, ^ot, ^o. — Compare colt, Vulgar Latin *waidanju minus —^ mwe (written moins 'less'), also > ge (written gain 'gain'), hoc nil -^ wi (written oui 'yes'). A phonetic change is also unlimited affects all types of signs, making no and incalculable in that it between radicals, distinction priori, for if grammar interfered, phenomenon would mingle with the synchronic fact, a thing that is radically impossible. It is in this sense that we can suffixes, etc. This must be true a the phonetic speak of the blind nature of the evolutions of sounds. For instance, s fell in Greek after n not only in *khdnses 'geese,' *menses 'months' (giving khenes, mtnes), where it had no grammatical value, but also in verbal forms like *etensa, *ephansa, etc. (giving eteina, ephena, etc.), where it marked the aorist. In Middle High German the posttonic vowels i, e, a, o regularly became e " Meaning signifier. See p. 75, note. [Tr.] : : GRAMMATICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PHONETIC EVOLUTION —^ 153 —> Meister) even though the difference in timbre marked a number of inflectional endings; that is how the (gihil Giebel, meistar accusative singular hoion and the genitive and dative singular hoten merged into hoten. Phonetic changes will thus cause a profound disturbance in the grammatical organism if they are not stopped by some barrier. This will be the subject matter of the next chapter. Chapter III GRAMMATICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PHONETIC EVOLUTION 1. The Breaking of One the Grammatical Bond phenomenon is the breaking of the grammatical bond that unites two or more terms. The result is that one word is no longer felt to be derived from another of the first consequences of the phonetic — mansio *mansidndticus maison 'house' menage 'housekeeping' || The collective mind of the community of speakers formerly saw *mansid-ndticus as a derivative of mansio; then phonetic vicissi- tudes separated them. Similarly: (vervex — vervecdrius) Vulgar Latin berblx brebis 'ewe' The || —herblcdrius berger 'shepherd' separation naturally has certain local dialects berger its means countereffect on value. In specifically 'a herder of oxen.' Other examples Grdtidnopolis—grdtidnopolitdnus Grenoble \\ Gresivaudan |||{||||||||||| \\\\\ decem dix 'ten' —undecim || onze 'eleven' : — — > : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 154 Gothic bitan 'bite' hitum 'we have bitten' a similar example. Following the change of hand and the conservation Germanic had blzan, bizum hitr 'bitter, biting' is t of the cluster tr \ ts (2) on the one on the other, West to hitr. \ In addition, phonetic evolution may break the normal relation between two inflected forms of the same word. In Old French, for instance, comes ber —comiiem became cuens —presbiterum — baron, presbiter II \ comte, bard prestre > —baronem — \ \\ provoire. Or an ending may split in two. All accusative singulars were characterized by the same final -m in Proto-Indo-European (*eki worn, *owim, *podm, *mdter'm, etc.).' In Latin there was no radical change in this respect, but in Greek the very different treat- sonant and con-sonant nasal created two distinct series of iorms'.hippon, 6{w)in against poda, matera. The accusative plural evinces a similar fact (cf. hippous and podas). ment of the Effacement of 2. the Structure of Another grammatical Words effect of phonetic changes tinct parts that helped to fix the value of a is that the dis- word become un- The word becomes an indivisible whole. Examples: French ennemi 'enemy' (cf. Latin in-imlcus amicus); Latin analyzable. perdere older per-dare— — dare), amicio (for *ambjacio (cf. German — Drittel (for drit-teil Teil) —jacio); . Effacement of the structure of words is obviously related at several points to the breaking of grammatical bonds (see Section 1 above). For instance, stating that ennemi cannot be analyzed is another way of saying that its parts can no longer be compared as in in-imlcus from simple amicus. The formula — amicus inimicus ami ennemi II is very similar to mansio maison Cf 3 . also : —mansiondticus \\ menage. decem Or -n? See —undecim against dix p. 92, note. [Ed.] \ \ onze. GRAMMATICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PHONETIC EVOLUTION The 155 simple Classical Latin forms hunc, hanc, hdc, etc. go back by epigraphic forms) and are to hon-ce, han-ce, ha-ce, etc. (attested the result of the agglutination of a pronoun with a particle -ce. Once hon-ce, etc. could be compared with ec-ce, etc., but com- parison was no longer possible after -e had fallen. That another way is just of saying that the elements of hunc, hanc, hdc, etc. are no longer distinct. Phonetic evolution pletely impossible. is first obscures analysis, then makes The inflection of it comnouns in Proto-Indo-European a case in point. The Proto-Indo-European declension was as follows nominative : singular *pod-s, accusative *pod-m, dative *pod-ai, locative *pod-i, nominative plural *pod-es, accusative *pod-ns, was inflection of *ek\Wos etc. At *ekiWo-i, *ekiWO-es, *ekiWO-ns, etc. singled out as easily as *pod-. From that vocalic contractions later modi- moment *ekiWO- was compromised and later, new changes (see p. 154) the during that period *€kiwo- was ; But fied that state, giving dative *ek\Woi, locative *ek\Woi, plural *ekiWos. first identical: *ekiWo-s, *ekiWo-m, *ekiWO-ai, its nominative the distinctness of the radical analysis became like the differentiation elusive. Still between accusatives last trace of the original state. The conXenophon probably had the impression that the wiped out the temporaries of was hipp- and that the were vocahc words Uke *ekiWO-s and *pod-s were distinct. In inflection as elsewhere, anything which interferes with analysis helps to loosen grammatical radical inflectional endings (hipp-os, etc.), with the result that the endings of bonds. 3. There Are No Phonetic Doublets In the two cases that we have examined (Sections 1 and 2), evolution radically separated two terms that originally were united grammatically. This phenomenon might give rise to a serious mis- take in interpretation. On observing the relative identity of Vulgar Latin bard: baronem and the Old French ber: baron, is one not justified and the same original unit (bar-) developed in divergent directions and produced two forms? No, for the same unit cannot be subjected at the same time and in the same place to two dissimilarity of in saying that one : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 156 different transformations; that nition of phonetic changes. create would be contrary to the very defiitself, phonetic evolution cannot By two forms to replace one. Here, introduced by way of examples, are the objections that might be raised against my thesis Collocdre gave both coucher 'sleep' and colloquer 'place,' someone might say. No, it gave only coucher; colloquer is only a learned borrowing from Latin (cf. rangon 'ransom' and redemption 'redemption') . Another objection might be that cathedra gave two authentic French words, chaire 'pulpit' and chaise 'chair.' The fact that chaise is a dialectal form is forgotten. The Parisian dialect changed intervocalic r to z. For instance, speakers said pese, mese for pere 'father,' mkre 'mother'; literary French has kept only two specimens of the localism: chaise and besides, the doublet of hericles 'spectacles,' derived from heryl 'beryl.' The same is true of Picard rescape 'one who has escaped (death or injury),' which has just gained currency in French and now stands in contrast to rechappe 'one who has (voluntarily) escaped (from confinement).' French cavalier 'rider' and chevalier 'knight' and cavalcade 'ride' and chevauchee 'distance traversed' are found side by side simply because cavalier and cavalcade were borrowed from Italian. The development of calidum, which became chaud 'warm' in French and caldo in Italian, is essentially the same. All the foregoing examples are instances of borrowings. The answer to the objection that the Latin pronoun me resulted in two forms in French, me and moi (cf il me voit 'he sees me' and c'est moi qu'il voit 'it's me that he sees') is this: unstressed Latin me became me while stressed me became moi; now the presence or absence of stress depends, not on the phonetic laws that made me become me and moi, but on the function of the word in the sentence; it is a grammatical duality. In the same way, German *ur- remained ur- when stressed and became er- when protonic (cf iirlauh and erlauhen) but the functioning of the accent is itself linked to the structural patterns that contained ur- and thus to a grammatical and synchronic condition. Finally, to come back to the first example, differences of form and accent in the pair hard: haronem evidently antedate phonetic changes. . . ; GRAMMATICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PHONETIC EVOLUTION 157 In fact, phonetic doublets do not exist. The evolution of sounds only emphasizes previous differences. Wherever these differences are not due to external causes (as in borrowings), they imply grammatical and synchronic dualities that are absolutely unrelated to phonetic changes. 4. Alternation Two words cover what is like maison: menage seldom tempt us to try to dis- responsible for the difference, either because the differential elements {-ezo and -en- do not lend themselves well to comparison, or because no other pair offers a parallel opposition. But often it happens that the two related words differ in only one or two elements which are difference is easily singled out, and that the same regularly repeated in a series of like pairs; this alternation, the largest and most common of the is grammatical facts which phonetic changes play a part. In French, every Latin o in an open syllable became eu when stressed and ou when protonic; this produced pairs like pouvons in '(we) can': peuvent '(they) can,' oeuvre 'work': ouvrier 'worker,' nouveau: neuf 'new,' and etc., where it is easy to single out a differential regularly variable element. In Latin, rhotacization causes gero to alternate with gestus, oneris with onus, maeor with maestus, etc. Since s was treated differently according to the position of the German has ferliesen: ferloren, The fall of Proto-IndoModern German in the oppositions accent in Germanic, Middle High kiessen: gekoren, friesen: gefroren, etc. European e is reflected in heissen: hiss, leiden: In is all litt, reiten: ritt, etc. the preceding examples the radical element affected. oppositions. But of course all parts of a Nothing is more common, is the part that word may have that takes different forms according to the make-up of the of the radical (cf. e: 0, first part Greek apo-didomi: ap-erchomai, French inconnu 'unknowTi' inutile 'useless'). : similar for instance, than a prefix The Proto-Indo-European alternation have a phonetic which certainly must, in the last analysis, found in a great number of suffixal elements (Greek hippos: basis, is hippe, pher-o-men: pher-e-te, gen-os: gen-e-os for *gen-es-os, etc.). Old French gives special treatment to Latin accented a after palatals; this results in an e: ie alternation in a number of in- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 158 flectional endings (cf. chant-er: jug-ier, chant-e; jug-ie, chant-ez: jug-iez, etc.). Alternation is then defined as a correspondence existing between two definite sounds or groups of sounds and shifting regularly between two series of coexisting forms. Phonetic changes alone do not explain doublets, and are ob- main cause of alternation. Whoever says that Latin nov- became neuv- and nouv- (French neuve and nouveau) through a phonetic change is fabricating an imaginary unity and failing to see a pre-existing synchronic duality. The different position of nov- in nov-us and nov-ellus is both anteviously neither the sole cause nor the cedent to the phonetic change and distinctly grammatical (cf. baro: bar mem). The synchronic duality is what originates and possible any alternation. The phonetic phenomenon broke no unity; it merely made an opposition between coexisting terms more obvious by discarding certain sounds. It is a mistake and one shared by many linguists to assume that alternation is phonetic simply because sounds make up its substance and play a part in its genesis through their alterations. The fact is that alternation, whether considered from its starting point or end result, is always both grammatical and synchronic. makes — — 5. Laws of Alternation Can alternation be reduced to laws? If so, what is the nature of these laws? Take the alternation e: i, which occurs so frequently in Modern German. If we lump all examples together and consider them indiscriminately (geben: gibt, Hilfe, sehen: Sicht, etc.), But if we extract from this opposition to schelten: Feld: Gefilde, Wetter: wittern, helfen: we can formulate no mass the pair geben: schilt, helfen: hilft, general principle. gibt and nehmen: nimmt, set it etc., in we see that the alternation coincides with distinctions of tense, person, In lang: Ldnge, stark: Starke, hart: Hdrte, etc., a similar oppoformation of substantives from adjectives; in Hand: Hdnde, Gast: Gdste, etc., to the formation of the plural, and so on for all the many cases that Germanic students class under ablaut (consider also finden: fand, or finden: Fund, binden: etc. sition is linked to the band, or binden: Bund, schiessen: schoss: Schuss, fliessen: floss: GRAMMATICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PHONETIC EVOLUTION 159 Fluss, etc.). Ablaut, or radical vocalic variation coinciding with a grammatical opposition, is a prime example of alternation but is distinguished from the general phenomenon by no particular characteristic. Ordinarily, then, alternation is distributed regularly among and coincides with an important opposition of function, class, or determination. It is possible to speak of gramseveral terms matical laws of alternation, but these laws are only a fortuitous result of the underlying phonetic facts. When phonetic facts create a regular opposition between two series of terms that have an op- mind seizes upon the material difference, and makes it the carrier of the conceptual position of value, the gives it significance, difference (see pp. 84 ff.). The laws of alternation, like all syn- chronic laws, are simple structural principles; they are not imcompletely wrong to say, as people so readily do, that the a of Nacht changes to a in the plural Nachte, for this gives the illusion that a transformation governed by an imperative perative. It principle is comes between one term and the next. What we are acis a simple opposition of forms resulting from tually dealing with phonetic evolution. may To be sure analogy (to be considered later in new pairs that show the same phonic Kranz: Krdnze, modeled on Gast: Gdste, etc.). The law thus seems to apply like a rule that governs usage to the extent of modifying it. But we recall that in language these permutations are at the mercy of conflicting analogical influences, and this suffices to show that such rules are always precarious and fit per- Chapter VI) difference create (cf. fectly the definition of synchronic law. Sometimes the phonetic cause of the alternation is still evident. In Old High German, for instance, the pairs cited on page 158 had the forms gehan: gibit, feld: gcfildi, radical itself appeared with with e in conficio, i etc. During that period the i followed but instead of e wherever every other instance. The alternation of Latin facio: amicus: inimlcus, facilis: difficilis, etc., is likewise linked to a phonic condition which speakers would have expressed in this way the a of such words as facto and amicus alternates with i in medial syllables of words in the same family. But the foregoing phonic oppositions suggest exactly the same : observations as all grammatical laws: they are synchronic. To for- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 160 making the mistake in interpretation pointed out above (see pp. 96 ff.). Faced with a pair like facid: conficio, we must indeed guard against confusing the relation between these coexisting terms and the relation that ties together the successive get this is to risk terms of the diachronic fact (confacio tempted to confuse them —> conficio) We may . be since the cause of phonetic differentiation but the phonetic fact belongs to the only a single synchronic opposition. past, All of this confirms what was said about the strictly grammatical nature of alternation. The word permutation, which is apt in some ways, has been used for alternation but should be avoided for the very reason that it has often been applied to phonetic changes and suggests a false notion of movement where there is only a state. is still apparent in the and 6. pair, for speakers there is Alternation and Grammatical We have seen how Bond may cause a break in the grammatical bonds that unite words by changing the form of the words. But this is true only of isolated pairs like maison: menage, phonetic evolution not of alternation. obvious from the first that any slightly regular phonic opposition of two elements tends to establish a bond between them. Wetter is instinctively related to wittern because speakers are accustomed to seeing e alternate with i. As soon as speakers feel that Teil: Drittel, etc., It is is a general law governing a phonic opposition, the usual correspondence has all the more reason for forcing itself on their attention and helping to tighten rather than loosen the gram- there matical bond. This is how the German ablaut reinforces recog- nitions of the radical unit across vocalic variations (see p. 158). The same is true of nonsignificant alternations that are linked to a mere phonic condition. In French, the prefix re- (rependre 'retake,' regagner 'regain,' retoucher 'retouch,' etc.) is reduced to r- before a vowel (rouvrir 'reopen,' racheter 'buy back,' larly, under the same conditions the prefix in-, alive although of learned origin, has two still etc.). Simi- very much distinct forms: e- (in inconnu 'unknown,' indigne 'unworthy,' invertebre 'invertebrate,' etc.) and in- (in inavouahle 'inadmissible,' inutile 'useless,' inesthetique 'unaesthetic,' etc.). In no way does this difference break : ANALOGY 161 unity of conception, for meaning and function are apprehended as identical, and language has determined where it will use one form or the other. Chapter IV ANALOGY Definition and Examples That phonetic evolution is a disturbing Wherever it does not create alternations, 1. force it is now obvious. helps to loosen the grammatical bonds between words; the total number of forms is uselessly increased the linguistic mechanism is obscured and complicated to the extent that the irregularities born of phonetic changes win out over the forms grouped under general patterns; in other words, to the extent that absolute arbitrariness wins out ; over relative arbitrariness (see p. 1.33). Fortunately, analogy counterbalances the effect of phonetic transformations. To analogy are due all normal, nonphonetic modifications of the external side of words. Analogy supposes a model and its regular imitation. An anaform is a form made on the model of one or more other forms logical in accordance with a definite rule. The nominative form of Latin honor, for instance, is analogical. Speakers first said honos: honosem, then through rhotacization of s, honos: honorem. After that, the radical had a double form. This duality was eliminated by the new form honor, created on the the pattern of orator: ordtorem, etc., through a process which sub- sequently will be set up as a proportion ordtorem: ordtor X = = honorem: x honor Thus analogy, to offset the diversifying action of a phonetic change {honos: honorem), again unified the forms and restored regularity (honor: honorem). For a long time French speakers said il preuve, nous prouvons, its — COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 162 Today they say il prouve 'he proves/ Us prouvent 'they prove/ using forms that have no phonetic explanation. II aime 'he loves' is derived from Latin amat while nous aimons 'we love' is the analogical form for amons; speakers should also say amahle instead of aimable 'amiable.' In Greek, intervocalic s disappeared: -osobecame -eo- (cf geneos for *genesos) Still, intervocalic s is found in the future and aorist tenses with s. In German, Gast: Gdste, Balg: Bdlge, etc. are phonetic, but Kranz: Kranze (previously kranz: kranza), Hals: Hdlse (previously halsa), etc. are due to imitation. Analogy favors regularity and tends to unify structural and inflectional procedures. But it is capricious; beside Kranz: Kranze, etc., stand Tag: Tage, Salz: Salze, etc., which for one reason or another have resisted analogy. Thus we cannot say beforehand how far imitation of a model will go or which types will bring it about. The most numerous forms do not necessarily unleash analogy. The Greek perfect has the active forms pepheiiga, pepheugas, pepheugamen, but all the middle forms are inflected without a: pephugmai, pephugmetha, etc., and the language of Homer shows that the a was formerly missing in the plural and in the dual of the active (cf. idmen, eikion, etc.). Analogy started solely from the first person singular of the active and won over almost the whole paradigm of the perfect indicative. This development is also noteworthy because here analogy attached -a-, originally an inflectional element, to the radical, forming pepheuga-men. The reverse attaching the radical element to the suffix is much more common preuvent. . . — (see p. 170). Two or three words often suffice to create a general form such as an inflectional ending. In Old haben, lohon, etc. had an -m High German, weak verbs like in the first person singular of the The -m derives from a few verbs similar Greek (bim, *tdm, gom, tuom), which by themselves forced the ending on the whole weak conjugation. Notice that here present hahem, lohom, etc. : to -^mi verbs in analogy did not eliminate a phonetic difference but generalized a formative method. 2. Analogical Phenomena Are Not Changes The first linguists did not understand nomenon of analogy, which they called the nature of the phe"false analogy." They ANALOGY 163 thought that in inventing honor, Latin "had made a mistake" concerning the prototype honos. For them, everything that deviated from the original state was an irregularity, a distortion of an ideal form. The fact is that, through an illusion characteristic of their time, they saw in the original state of the language something superior and perfect, with the result that they did not even ask themselves whether this state had been preceded by another. Every hberty taken with respect to this state was then an anomaly. The neogrammarian school was the first to assign analogy to its proper place by showing that it is, along with phonetic changes, the prime force in the evolution of languages, the procedure through which languages pass from one state of organization to another. But exactly what are analogical phenomena? People generally think of them as changes. But are they? Every analogical fact is a play with a cast of three: (1) the traditional, legitimate heir (e.g. honos) ; (2) the rival (honor) ; and (3) a collective character made up of the forms that created the rival (honorem, orator, ordtorem, etc.). One might readily suppose that honor is a modification, a "metaplasm," of honos and say that it drew most of its substance from honos. But the only form that had no part in the production of honor is this very honos! The phenomenon of analogy may be pictured by the diagram: TRADITIONAL FORMS Honos (which plays orator, oratorem, etc. no NEW FORM honorem, (productive group) part) honor Here we obviously have a "paraplasm," the installation of a form in short, a creation. Whereas phonetic change introduces nothing new without annulling what has preceded it (honorem replaces honosem), the analogical form does not necessarily entail the disappearance of its double. Honor and honos coexisted for a time and were used interchangeably. Still, since language is reluctant to keep two signifiers for a single idea, the original form, which is less regular, generally falls into disuse and disappears. The result is what gives the impression of a transformation. Once analogy has completed its work, the opposition rival beside a traditional — ; : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 164 between the old state {honos: honorem) and the new {honor: honor em) is apparently the same as the opposition that results from the evolution of sounds. At the moment when honor was born, however, nothing was changed since honor replaced nothing; nor the disappearance of honos a change, for this phenomenon is independent of the first. Wherever we can follow the course of linguistic events, we see that analogical innovation and the elimination of the older form are two distinct things, and that nowhere is do we come upon a transformation. So little does analogy have the characteristic of replacing one form by another that it often produces forms which replace nothing at all. German can make a diminutive in -chen from any substantive with a concrete meaning; if the form Elefantchen were introduced into the language, it would supplant nothing that already exists. Similarly in French, on the model of pension pension': pensionnaire 'pensionary,' reaction, 'reaction': reactionnaire someone might create interventionnaire, represmeaning 'one who favors intervention,' 'one who favors repression,' etc. The process is evidently the same as the one that engendered honor; both recall the same formula 'reactionary,' etc., sionnaire, etc., reaction: reactionnaire X In neither case is = = repression: x repressionnaire there the slightest pretext for speaking of change repressionnaire replaces nothing. Another example: some French speakers use the analogical form finaux instead of finals, which is more common; someone might coin the &dieciive firmamental and give it change is the plural form firmamentaux. Should in finaux creation. un 'wall' : and jour 'work that admits that there is both cases there enmurer 'wall 'turn': entourer 'surround,' travail ajoure we say in firmamentaux? In On the pattern of mur formed tour 'open' (in and creation in,' speakers 'light': ajourer light, i.e. lacework,' These rather recent derivatives seem to be creations. But if and ajorner, built on torn and jorn, were used during an earlier period, must I change my mind and say that entourer and ajourer are modifications of the older words? The illusion of analogical change comes from setting up a relation between the new form and the one replaced by it. But this is a misetc.). I notice that entorner . ANALOGY 165 take since formations classed as changes (like honor) are basically the same as those I call creations (like repressionnaire) 3. Analogy as a Creative Force in Language When, after seeing what analogy is not, we begin to study it for what it is, we find that it seems very simply to blend with the principle of linguistic creativity in general. What is that principle? Analogy is psychological, but this does not suffice to separate it from phonetic phenomena, for they may also be considered psychological (see p. 151). We must go further and say that analogy is grammatical. It supposes awareness and understanding of a relation between forms. Meaning plays no part in phonetic changes, but it must intervene in analogy. As far as we can tell, neither comparison with other forms nor meaning had anything to do with the passing from intervocalic s to r in Latin. The skeleton of the form honosem passed to honor em. Other forms must be introduced to account for the appearance of honor beside honos. This is shown by the proportion: drat or em: orator X = = honor em: x honor The new combination would have no basis if the mind did not associate its forms through their meanings. Analogy is grammatical throughout, but let us hasten to add creation belongs at first only to speaking. It its end result is the chance product of an isolated speaker. Here, at the very fringe of language, is where the phenomenon must first be sought. Still, two things must be kept apart: (1) awareness of the relation that ties together the productive forms; and (2) the result suggested by the comparison, the form improvised by the speaker to express his thought. Only the result belongs to speaking. Analogy, then, is one more lesson in separating language from speaking (see pp. 17 ff.). It shows us that the second depends on the first, and it points to the essence of the linguistic mechanism as described on page 130. Any creation must be preceded by an unconscious comparison of the materials deposited in the storehouse of language, where productive forms are arranged according to their syntagmatic and associative relations. that — — COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 166 A major part new form appears. Speech is therefore com- continuously enunits, and this activity contains not only gaged in decomposing its every possibility of effective logical formation. It is ess is at phenomenon of the analogical pleted before the wrong talk, is but every possibility of ana- to suppose that the productive proc- work only when the new formation actually occurs. The A newly formed word like in-decor- elements were already there. ahle already has a potential existence in language; all its elements are found in syntagms like decor-er 'decorate,' decor-ation 'decoration,' pardonn-able 'pardonable,' connu 'unknown,' in-sense realizing it mani-able 'insane,' etc., in speaking is a small build-up of forces that makes it 'manageable': in- and the final step of matter in comparison with the possible. In short analogy, considered by itself, is only one side of the phenomenon of interpretation, one manifestation of the general activity that singles out units for subsequent use. That is why I say that analogy is entirely grammatical and sjmchronic. The grammatical and synchronic character of analogy suggests two observations that confirm my views on absolute and relative arbitrariness (see pp. 131 1) Words can be ff.). rated for capacity to engender other words to the extent to which they themselves are decomposable. Simple words are by definition unproductive (cf. French magasin 'warehouse,' arbre 'tree,' racine 'root,' etc.). Magasinier 'warehousekeeper' was not engendered by magasin. It was formed on the pattern of prisonier 'prisoner': prison 'prison,' etc. In the same way emmagisiner 'to warehouse' owes its existence to the analogy of enmailloter 'swathe,' encadrer 'frame/ encapuchonner 'put on a cowl,' etc., which contain maillot 'swaddling-clothes,' cadre 'frame,' capuchon 'cowl,' etc. Each language then has both productive and sterile words, in varying proportions. This takes us back to the distinction between "lexicological" and "grammatical" languages (see p. 133). In Chinese, most words are not decomposable; in an artificial language, however, almost all words are. An Esperantist has unlimited freedom to build new words on a given root. 2) We have seen (p. 161) that any analogical creation may be pictured as similar to a proportion. This formula is frequently used : ANALOGY to explain the have sought its phenomenon 167 elements furnished by language. There is a conflict between the two notions. satisfactory explanation, why form no point indecorable, there is decor-able). All but we of analogical creation itself, explanation in the analysis and reconstruction of we need do is If proportion posit an analysis of elements? in extracting its elements to take the whole and put it is a To (m- in the equation pardonner: impardonnable, etc. X = = decorer: x indecorable Here, no compUcated operation such as the grammarian's conis presumed on the part of the speaker. In Krantz: scious analysis Krdnze, modeled on Gast: Gdste and the like, decomposition seems probable than proportion since the radical of the model may less be either Gast- or Gdst-. A phonic characteristic of Gdste might simply have been carried over to Kranze. Of the two theories, which fits the facts? (Bear in mind that Kranz does not necessarily exclude analysis. We have observed alternations in roots may and prefixes, and the feeling for alternation well exist alongside positive analysis; see p. 158.) The two contrasting notions are reflected in two different grammatical doctrines. European grammars work with proportion they explain the formation of the German preterite, for example, by ; starting is from whole words. On the model of setzen: setzte the pupil told to form the preterite of lachen, etc. Against this, grammar would study Hindu and roots (setz-, lack-, etc.) in one chapter preterite endings {-te, etc.) in another. The elements that result from analysis would be given, and from these elements whole words would have to be reconstructed. In every Sanskrit dictionary, verbs are arranged in the order assigned to them by their roots. Theoreticians of grammar will incline toward whichever method predominant in their linguistic group. Old Latin apparently favors the analytical procedure. Here is obvious proof quantity is not the same in factus and actus despite fdcio and ago; we must assume that actus goes back to *dgtos and attribute lengthening of the vowel to the voiced consonant that followed; this hypothesis is fully confirmed by the Romance Ianis : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 168 guages. The opposition specio: spectus against tego: tectus is reflected 'despite' (= despedus) and toil 'roof (= tectum); French depit in (French confit 'candied') against rego: rectus —^ French droit 'straight'). But *agtos, *tegtos, *regtos were not inherited from Proto-Indo-European, which certainly had *aktos, *tektos, etc.; prehistoric Latin introduced them, and this despite the diflSculty of pronouncing a voiced consonant before a voiceless one. This was made possible only by acute awareness of the radical units ag-, teg-, reg-. The f eehng for word-parts (radicals, suffixes, etc.) and their arrangement was therefore strong in Old Latin. In all probability the feeling is not so acute in modern languages but is stronger in German than in French (see p. 186 f.). cf. conficio: confectus {dlrectus Chapter V ANALOGY AND EVOLUTION L How an Analogical Innovation Enters Language Nothing enters language without having been tested in speaking, and every evolutionary phenomenon has its roots in the individual. This principle, which was stated previously (see p. 98), applies particularly to analogical innovations. Before honor could become a rival strong enough to replace honos, one speaker had to coin the new word, then others had to imitate and repeat it until it forced itself into standard usage. But not every analogical innovation is so fortunate. Abortive combinations that language will probably never adopt are always at hand. Children, because they are not well acquainted with standard usage and are not yet bound by it, clutter their speech with them: in French they say viendre for venir 'come,' mouru for mort 'dead,' etc. But adults use them too. For instance, many people say traisait (which, incidentally, is found in the writings of Rousseau) instead of tray ait '(he) milked.' All such innovations are perfectly regular; they are explained in the same way as those : ANALOGY AND EVOLUTION 169 that language has accepted; viendre, for example, stems from the proportion eteindrai: iteindre X and = = viendrai: x viendre was formed on the model traisait of plaire 'please': plaisait *(he) pleased,' etc. Language retains only a minimal part of the creations of speakbut those that endure are numerous enough to change completely the appearance of its vocabulary and grammar from one ing, period to the next. From what was said in the preceding chapter, it is evident that analogy by itself could not be a force in evolution, and that the constant substitution of new forms for old ones is one of the most striking features in the transformation of languages. Each time a new formation becomes something is and eliminates its rival, and something else abandoned, with definitely installed actually created the result that analogy occupies a preponderant place in the theory of evolution. This the point that I should like to emphasize. is Analogical Innovations as Symptoms of Changes in Interpretation Language never stops interpreting and decomposing its units. But why does interpretation vary constantly from one generation to the next? The cause of change must be sought in the great mass 2. of forces that constantly threaten the analysis adopted in a particular language-state. I shall recall a few of them. The and most important force is phonetic evolution (see By making some analyses ambiguous and others impossible, phonetic changes affect both the conditions and the results of decomposition, thereby shifting the boundaries and changing the nature of units (see p. 141 concerning compounds like heta-hUs and redo-lich, and p. 155 concerning noun inflection first Chapter II) . Proto-Indo-European). In addition to the phonetic fact there is agglutination (to be discussed later), which welds a combination of elements into one unit, and every imaginable circumstance which, though external, in COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 170 may modify the analysis of words. For it is obvious that analysis, from a set of comparisons, depends constantly on the associative environment of the term. The Proto-Indo-European superlative *swdd-is-to-s contained two independent suffixes, -is-, which carried the idea of comparative degree (cf Latin mag-is) and -to~, which designated the definite place of an object in a series (cf, Greek trl-to-s 'third'). The two prefixes were agglutinated (cf. Greek hed-isto-s, or rather hed-ist-os). But agglutination was in because it results . turn greatly aided by a fact unrelated to the concept of the superlative degree: comparatives in is- had dropped out of usage, having been supplanted by formations in -jos; since -is- was no longer recognized as an independent element, it was no longer singled out in -isto-. We note in passing the general tendency to shorten the radical in favor of the formative element, especially when the former ends in a vowel. Thus the Latin suffix -tat- (veri-tdt-em for vero-tdt-em, cf. Greek deino-tet-a) took over the i of the theme, giving the analysis ver-itdt-em; in the same way Romd-nus, Albd-nus (cf aenus for *aesno-s) became Rom-dnus, etc. Changes in interpretation, no matter how they start, always become apparent through the existence of analogical forms. Indeed, if living units perceived by speakers at a particular moment can by themselves give birth to analogical formations, every definite redistribution of units also implies a possible expansion of their use. Analogy is therefore proof positive that a formative element exists at a given moment as a significant unit. Meridiondlis (Lactantius) for merldidlis shows that the division was septentri-ondlis, regiondlis, and to prove that the suffix -tat had been enlarged by an i element borrowed from the radical, we need only cite celer-itdtem; pdg-dnus, built on pdg-us, suffices to show how Latin speakers analyzed Rom-dnus; and the analysis of redlich (see p. 141) is confirmed by the existence of sterhlich, formed with a verbal root. A particularly unusual example will show how analogy works out new units from period to period. In Modem French, somnolent 'sleepy' is analyzed somnol-ent, as if it were a present participle. Proof of this is the existence of the verb somnoler 'be sleepy.' But in Latin the division was somno-lentus, like succu-lentus, etc., and . ANALOGY AND EVOLUTION before that it was somn-olentus 171 'smelling of sleep,' from olere, as in vln-olentus 'smelling of wine.' The most obvious and important effect of analogy is thus the more regular forms composed of living elements for substituting of older irregular and obsolescent forms. Doubtless things do not always run so smoothly. The functioning of language is disturbed by many hesitations, approximations, and semianalyses. At no time does an idiom have a perfectly stable system of units. From what was said about the inflection of *ekwos against *pods, it is obvious that imperfect analyses sometimes lead to muddled analogical creations. The Proto-Indo-European forms *geus-etai, *gus-tos, *gus-tis allow us to single out the root *geus-, But intervocalic s fell in Greek, and the analysis of geuomai, geustos was accordingly beclouded. Fluctuation resulted, and the root singled out was sometimes geus-, sometimes geu-. Analogy in gus-. turn bears witness to this fluctuation, for even roots in eu- take pneu-, pneuma, and the verbal adjective pneus-tos). final -s (e.g. But analogy influences language even when there is groping and though not an evolutionary fact in itself, usually reflects the changes that have affected the functioning of language and sanctions them through new combinations. It collaborates efficiently with all the forces that constantly modify the architecture of an idiom and is in this way a powerful force in hesitation. For analog}'-, evolution. Analogy as a Renovating and Conservative Force is sometimes tempted to ask whether analogy actually has the importance attributed to it here and whether its action is as far-reaching as that of phonetic changes. As a matter of fact, the history of each language discloses a motley accumulation of analogical facts. Collectively, these continuous reshufflings play an even more important part in the evolution of language than do sound changes. But one thing in particular interests the linguist. In the enormous mass of analogical phenomena built up through centuries of evolution, almost all elements are preserved; they are only distributed differently. Analogical innovations are more apparent 3. One COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 172 than its real. own Language is a garment covered with patches cut from French is Proto-Indo-European if we cloth. Four-fifths of think of the substance that constitutes sentences, but the words that have been transmitted in their totahty without analogical change from the mother language to Modern French would occupy than the space of one page (e.g. est 'is' = *esti, numbers, words less The vast new combinations of like ours 'bear,' nez 'nose,' pere 'father,' chien 'dog,' etc.). majority of words are, in one way or another, phonic elements torn from older forms. In this sense analogy, for it always uses old material for its innovations, the very reason that is remarkably conservative. But analogy has an equally important role as a conservative force pure and simple. It intervenes not only when old materials are redistributed in new units but also when forms remain unchanged. ation To realize this, we need and the mechanism only recall that analogical cre- of speech have a common basis (see p. 165). Latin agunt was transmitted almost intact from the prehistoric period (when people said *agonti) until the beginning of the Ro- mance period. During that span of time successive generations used the form over and over without there being a rival form to replace it. Here analogy played a part in the retention of the form. The stability of agunt is just as much the work of analogy as is any innovation. Agunt is integrated in a system; it is supported by forms like dicunt and legunt as well as by agimus, agitis, and the like. Outside this frame, agunt might easily have been replaced by a form made up of new elements. What was transmitted was not agunt but ag-unt. The form did not change because ag- and -wn< regularly appeared in other series, and the support of these forms preserved agunt from start to finish. Compare also sex-tus, which is supported by two compact series: sex, sex-aginta, etc. on the one hand and quar-tus, quin-tus, etc. on the other. Forms are then preserved because they are constantly renewed by analogy. A word apprehended simultaneously as a unit and its elements do not change. Conversely, the existence of the form is threatened only to the extent that its elements disappear from usage. Consider what is happening to French dites '(you) say' and faites '(you) as a syntagm, and is is preserved to the extent that FOLK ETYMOLOGY do,' which are direct descendants 173 of Latin dic-itis and fac-itis. Be- cause they have no support from present-day verbal inflection, language is trying to replace them. Disez, faisez (on the pattern of plaisez 'please,' lisez 'read,' etc.) are ings are already common in heard today, and the new end- most compounds {contredisez 'contra- dict,' etc.). The only forms left untouched by analogy are of course isolated proper nouns, especially place names (cf Paris, Geneva, Agen, etc.), which allow no analysis and consequently no interpretation of their elements. No rival creation springs up beside them. words like . It follows that a form may be preserved for either of two dia- metrically opposed reasons: complete isolation or complete integration in a system that has kept the basic parts of the intact and that always comes to its rescue. It is word within the inter- mediate group of forms not supported firmly enough by their environment that innovating analogy may unfold its effects. But whether we deal with the preservation of a form composed of several elements or a redistribution of linguistic material in new constructions, analogy is there. It always plays an important role. Chapter VI FOLK ETYMOLOGY We sometimes mangle words that have unfamiliar forms and meanings, and usage sometimes sanctions these deformations. In way Old French this coute-pointe (from coute, variant of couette 'cover' was changed to couteformed from the adjective court 'short' and the noun pointe 'point.' * Such innovations, no matter how odd they may seem, are not due entirely to chance; they are crude attempts to explain refractory words by relating them to something and pointe, past participle of poindre 'quilt') pointe 'counterpane,' as known. At first blush * this Cf. this if phenomenon, called folk etymology, can Old English scam-faest 'confirmed in shame.' In early Modern English shame-fast, then shame-faced. [Tr.] became COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 174 hardly be distinguished from analogy. When a speaker forgets that French surdite 'deafness' exists and coins analogical sourdite,^ the result is the same as if he had misunderstood surdiie and deformed it through remembrance of the adjective sourd 'deaf; the only apparent difference is that analogical constructions are rational while folk etymology works somewhat haphazardly and results only in absurdities. But this difference, which concerns only the results, is not basic. Their basic dissimilarity goes much deeper. In order to see what it is, let us begin by citing a few examples of the main types of folk etymology. First come words that receive responding change of form. new In interpretations with no corGerman, durchblduen 'thrash soundly' goes back etymologically to hliuwan with hlau 'blue' 'flog' but is associated because of the "blues" produced by flogging. In German borrowed adventure 'adventure' from French and formed regularly dhentiire, Ahenteuer; without deformation the word was associated with Abend ("a story related in the evening") the result was that during the eighteenth century the word was written Abendteuer. Old French soufraite 'privation' (= suffrada from subfrangere) produced the adjective souffreteux 'sickly,' now associated with souffrir 'suffer,' with which it has nothing in common.^ French lais is the noun form of laisser 'leave' but is associated nowadays with leguer 'bequeath' and written legs; some people even pronounce it le-g-s? This might suggest that a change of form resulted from the new interpretation, but the change actually relates to the influence of the written form through which people tried to show their idea of the origin of the word without changing its pronunciation. Similarly, French homard 'lobster,' borrowed from Old Norse hummor (cf. Danish hummer), added a final d through analogy with French words in the Middle Ages ; -ard; only here the mistake in interpretation that is marked by orthography affects the ending, which was confused with a sufl&x (cf. common bavard 'chatterbox,' etc.). But people more often deform words in order to adapt them to Cf. English pronounciation against pronunciation. [Tr.] *Cf. English liquorice (from Latin liquiritia), which has only a graphic relation to liquor. [Tr.] ^ Cf. English gooseberry (from French groseiUe). [Tr.] ^ FOLK ETYMOLOGY 175 the elements which they think they recognize in them. German Sauerkraut became choucroute (chou 'cabbage' and croute 'crust') in French. In German, dromeddrius became trampeltier 'animal new compound which includes existing words, German changed Latin margarita to 'sea-pebble' by combining two known words. that paws' in a trampeln and Tier. Old High mari-greos A example, especially instructive: Latin carbunculus 'small last piece of coal' 'glow') in became Karfunkel (through association with funkeln German and escarhoucle 'carbuncle' (associated with boucle 'buckle, ring') in French. Calfeter, calfetrer became calfeutrer French under the influence oi feutre 'felt.'^ What strikes one at the outset is that each of the examples contains, beside an intelligible element that occurs in other contexts, one part that stands for nothing that has previously existed (Kar-, escar-, col-). But it would be a mistake to think that the elements are partly creations, that something new appeared as a result of the phenomenon. The reverse is true: interpretation could not touch the parts (Kar-, escar-, cat-). We might say that they are parts of folk etymologies that stopped at the half-way point. Karfunkel is in the same class as Ahenteuer (if -teuer is considered an unexplained residue) it is also comparable to homard, where horn- makes no sense 'chink' in ; by itself. Thus the degree of deformation does not create radical differ- ences between words corrupted are pure by folk and simple interpretations etymology all these words misunderstood forms in ; of terms of known forms. Now we see how etymology resembles analogy, yet from differs it. The two phenomena have only one common characteristic peoby language in both, but the : ple use significant elements provided two are diametrically opposed Analogy always in everything else. implies the forgetting of the older forms no analysis of the older ; form il trayait The at the base of the analogical is form il traisait (see must even be forgotten before the rival can appear. Analogy takes nothing from the substance of the signs that p. 168). it older form etymology is simply an interpretation form remembrance of the older form, though muddled, replaces. Against this, folk of the older * ; Cf. English crayfish, derived from Old French crevice, f Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 176 is the starting point of the deformation that basis for analysis is remembrance underwent. The it in one instance and forgetfulness and this difference is of prime importance. Folk etymology works only under particular conditions, then, and affects only rare, technical, or foreign words that speakers in the other, assimilate imperfectly. But analogy, a universal fact, belongs to the normal functioning of language. These two phenomena, so similar in some ways, are basically different. They must be care- fully separated. Chapter VII AGGLUTINATION 1, Definition The importance ters. of analogy was indicated in the last two chapis another force at work in the pro- Along with analogy there duction of new units: agglutination. Aside from these two, no other formative device amounts to (see p. 69), words formed consciously and without recourse to analogy by an individual (e.g. gas), and even folk etymology are of little or no importance. Agglutination is the welding together of two or more originally distinct terms that frequently occur as a syntagm within the sentence into one unit which is absolute or hard to analyze. Such is the agglutinative process. It is a process, not a procedure, for the latter word implies wall or intention, and the absence of will is what much. Onomatopoeia characterizes agglutination. Here are some examples. French speakers first said ce ci, using two words, then ceci 'this' a new word was the result even though its substance and constituents did not change. Compare also: French tous jours 'every day,' toujours 'always,' au jour d'hui 'on : today's day,' aujoiird'hui 'today,' desjd 'since now,' dejd 'already,' vert jus 'green juice,' verjus 'verjuice, sour grapes.' Agglutination may also weld together the subunits of a word, as we saw (p. 170) : AGGLUTINATION 177 in the case of the Proto-Indo-European superlative *swdd-is-to-s and the Greek superlative On closer hed-isto-s. examination we discern three phases in the phe- nomenon of agglutination 1) The combining of several terms syntagm is like all in a syntagm. The new other syntagms. 2) Agglutination proper, or the synthesizing of the the syntagm into a new elements of unit. Synthesis takes place independently through a mechanical tendency; when a compound concept is expressed by a succession of very common significant units, the mind gives up — analysis it takes a short-cut — and apphes the con- become a simple unit. Every other change necessary to make the old cluster of signs cept to the whole cluster of signs, which then 3) more like — > verjus), claimed that phonetic and accentual changes (3) pre- a simple word: unification of accent (vert-jus special phonetic changes, etc. It is often and that semantic synthesis is explained through agglutination and material synthesis. But this cede conceptual changes (2), probably puts the cart before the horse. It is quite likely that vert became simple words because they were grasped jus, tous jours, etc. as a single idea. 2. Agglutination and Analogy The contrast between analogy and agglutination is striking: In agglutination two or more units are blended into one through synthesis (e.g. French encore 'still' from hanc horam), or 1) from *swad-is-to-s) Against lesser units and builds them into greater To create pdg-dnus, analogy united the radical pdg- and the two subunits become one this, analogy starts from units. suffix 2) (cf. hed-isto-s . -anus. Agglutination works only in the zone of syntagms. It affects only a particular cluster. It embraces nothing else. In contrast, analogy calls forth associative series as well as syntagms. is neither wilful nor active. I have a simple mechanical process in which merger takes place spontaneously. Analogy, on the contrary, is a pro- 3) Above all, agglutination already said that it is cedure that requires analyses and combinations, intelligent action, and intention. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 178 Construction and structure are often used in discussing mation, but their meaning differs, word for- depending on whether they are apphed to agglutination or to analogy. When applied to aggluti- nation, they suggest that the elements in contact in a syntagm set, i.e. are sjmthesized to such an extent that their original components are wiped out completely. But when applied to analogy, construction means the arrangement obtained in one swoop, in an act of speaking, by the reuniting of a certain number of elements borrowed from different associative series. The importance of separating the two formative methods is obvious. In Latin, for instance, possum is only the welding together of two words, potis and sum 'I am the master' it is an ag- slowly : glutinate word. In contrast, signifer, agricola, etc., are products of analogy, constructions based on models furnished by the lanmay be named compounds or guage. Only analogical creations derivatives. '^ Often it is difficult to say whether an analyzable form arose through agglutination or as an analogical construction. Linguists have discussed endlessly the question of the Proto-Indo-European forms *es-mi, *es-ti, *ed-mi, etc. Were the elements es-, ed-, etc. real words during a very old period, and were they later agglutinated with other words (mi, ti, etc.)? Or are *es-mi, *es-ti, etc. the result of combinations of elements drawn from other similar complex units? In the latter case, agglutination would antedate the formation of inflectional endings in Proto-Indo-European. In the ' This amounts to saying that the two phenomena act jointly in the history of language. But agglutination always occurs models for analogy. For instance, the type of first and is what furnishes compound that gave hippoagglutination at a period when dromo-s, etc. in Greek started through partial inflectional endings were unknown in Proto-Indo-European {ekwo dromo was then equivalent to a compound like country house) but through analogy became a productive means of forming new compounds before complete welding of its elements occurred. The same is true of the future tense in French (Je ferai 'I shall do,' etc.), which arose in Vulgar Latin through agglutination of the infinitive with the present tense of the verb habere (facere habed 'I have to do'). Through the intervention of analogy, agglutination thus creates syntactical types and is grammatical; left alone, it pushes the synthesis of elements to the point where the elements become complete units and produces only unanalyzable or unproductive words (e.g. hanc horam —> French encore 'still'), i.e. it is lexicological. [Ed.] : DIACHRONIC UNITS, IDENTITIES AND REALITIES absence of historical evidence, the question is 179 probably unan- swerable. Only history can enlighten us. Whenever we can state that a simple element was once two or more elements in the sentence, we have an agglutinate word e.g. Latin hunc, which goes back to : hon ce (ce is attested epigraphically). But when hard to determine what and what results from analogy. tion is lacking, it is is historical informa- due to agglutination Chapter VIII DIACHRONIC UNITS, IDENTITIES AND REALITIES Static Unguistics works with units that owe their existence to their sjmchronic arrangement. Everything that has just been said proves that in a diachronic succession the elements are not delimited once and for all as this drawing might suggest Period '^ I , -. A Period B Rather, the elements are distributed differently from one to the next by virtue moment of the events enacted in the theatre of lan- guage, with the result that they would be more aptly represented by the drawing: Period ^ This is confirmed by all A Period B that has been said about the consequences of phonetic evolution, analogy, agglutination, etc. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 180 Almost every example cited up to this point belongs to wordis one from syntax. Proto-Indo-European had no prepositions; the relations that they indicate were expressed by numerous cases that had great signaling power. Nor did ProtoIndo-European use preverbs in compounding verbs; it used only small words added to the sentence in order to pinpoint particles and modify the action of the verb. For instance, there was nothing formation. Here — to correspond to Latin ire oh inortem 'to confront death,' or to mortem; the form would have been Ire mortem oh. This was (1) In oreos baino kdta, oreos haino by itself means "I come from the mountain," the genitive having the value of the ablative; kdta adds the qualification "by coming down." During another period the form was (2) katd oreos haino, where katd acts as a preposition, or even (3) kata-haino oreos, through the agglutination of the verb and particle, which had ohire still the state of Proto-Greek become a preverb. Here are found two : or three distinct the interpretation of the units: (1) phenomena, depending on A new class of words, prepo- was created simply by shifting existing units. A particular arrangement which was originally of no significance and probably due to chance, allowed a new grouping: kata, independent at first, was united with the substantive oreos, and the whole was joined to haino to serve as its complement. (2) A new verbal class (katahaino) appeared. This is another psychological grouping, also favored by a special distribution of units and consolidated by agglutination. (3) As a natural consequence, the meaning of the genitive ending (6re-os) was weakened. Then katd had to express the basic idea formerly carried by the genitive alone and the importance of the ending decreased proportionately. The starting point of the future disappearance of -os is in the last phenomenon. In all three instances, there was then a new distribution of units. The old substance was given new functions. The important thing is that no phonetic change intervened to bring about any of the shifts. But we must not think that meaning alone was involved even though the substance did not change. There is no syntactical phenomenon without the uniting of a certain chain of concepts with a certain chain of phonic units (see p. 139), and this is the very sitions, . DIACHRONIC UNITS, IDENTITIES AND REALITIES 181 was modified. The sounds remained, but the signiwere no longer the same. We saw earlier Cp. 75) that what alters the sign is a shift in the relationship between the signifier and the signified. This definition applies not only to the alteration of the terms of the system but also to the evolution of the system itself. The diachronic phenomenon in its totality is only that and nothing more. But the mere recording of a certain shift of synchronic units is by no means a complete report of what has happened in language. There is also the problem of the self-contained diachronic unit. With respect to every event, we must ask which element has been subjected directly to change. We have already met a similar problem in dealing with phonetic changes (see p. 94). They affect only isolated phonemes, leaving the word-unit untouched. Since diachronic events are of all kinds, many other such questions would have to be answered, and the units delimited in diachrony would not necessarily correspond to those delimited in synchrony. According to the principle laid down in Part One, our concept of the unit cannot be the same in both cases. In any event, we cannot accurately define the unit until we have studied it from both viewpoints, the static and the evolutionary. Until we solve the problem of the diachronic unit, we cannot penetrate the outer guise of evolution and reach its essence. Understanding units is just as important here as in synchrony if we are to separate illusion from relation that ficant units reality (see p. 110). But diachronic identity poses another difficult question. Indeed, it has form or meaning while continuing to exist as a distinct unit for both possibilities exist I must know the basis for stating that an element taken from one period (e.g. French chaud 'warm') is the same as an element taken from another period (e.g. Latin before I can say that a unit has remained identical or that changed — its — calidum) The answer will doubtless be that calidum must have become chaud through regular sound changes and that therefore chaud = calidum. This is a phonetic identity. The same applies to sevrer 'wean' and separdre. Fleurir 'flower,' however, is not the same thing 2i,sfldrere (which would have become *flouroir), etc. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 182 Diachronic identity seems at first glance to be satisfactorily accounted for by phonetic correspondence. But it is actually impossible for sound alone to account for identity. Doubtless it is correct to say that Latin mare should appear in French as mer 'sea' because every a became e under certain conditions, unstressed final e fell, etc. But to say that these correspondences (a -^ e, e —» zero, etc.) account for identity is to reverse the facts, for I am using the correspondence between mare and mer to decide that a became e, that final e fell, etc. One speaker may say sefacher 'become angry' while someone who another part of France says se focher, but this difference is unimportant in comparison with the grammatical facts that allow us to recognize one and the same unit of language in these two distinct forms. To say that two words as different as calidum and chaud constitute a diachronic identity means simply that speakers passed from one form to the other through a series of synchronic identities in speaking without there being a break in their common lives in bond despite successive phonetic changes. state that knowing how Gentlemen! peated several times during a lecture ing is problem is really is why I could when just as interesting as why pas (negation) is identical to why chaud is identical to calidum again, That retains its identity re- know- pas (noun) in French, or (see p. 107 f.). The second but an extension and a complication of the first. APPENDICES TO PARTS THREE AND FOUR 1. Subjective The guage and Objective Analysis make of the units of lanOne must guard against confusing analysis that speakers constantly is subjective analysis. is based on Greek hippos, the grammarian singles out three elements: a root, a suffix, and an ending (hipp-o-s). But Greek speakers saw only two elements (hipp-os, see p. 155). Objective analysis reveals four subunits in amdbds (am-d-bd-s) Latin subjective analysis with objective analysis, which history. In a form like ; speakers recognized only three (amd-bd-s) ; perhaps they even thought of -bds as an inflectional whole in opposition to the radical. In French entier 'whole' (Latin in-teger 'intact'), enfant 'child' (Latin in-fans 'one who does not speak'), and enceinte 'pregnant' may single out a (Latin in-cincta 'without a girdle'), the historian common prefix en- that stands for Latin privative in-; the sub- jective analysis of speakers completely ignores the prefix. The grammarian is prone to think that spontaneous analyses of language are wrong; the truth is that subjective analysis is no more false than "false" analogy (see p. 162 f.). Language never errs; it simply takes a different viewpoint. There is no common yardstick for both the analysis of speakers and the analysis of the historian — although both use the same procedure the confrontation of series that have a common element. Both analyses are justifiable, and each retains its value. In the last resort, however, only the speakers' analysis matters, for it is based directly on the facts of lan- guage. Historical analysis Basically, it is but a modified form of subjective analysis. consists of projecting the constructions of different periods on a single plane. It resembles spontaneous analysis in that it tries to identify the subunits of words but differs in that it synthesizes all the divisions reaching the oldest one. made in the course The word is like of time with a view to a house in which the arrangement and function of different rooms has been changed several times. Objective analysis adds 183 up and schematizes the suc- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 184 cessive arrangements, but for those who Uve in the house there is always but one arrangement. The analysis hipp-o-s, which was discussed above, is not false, for it was framed in the minds of speakers; it is merely "anachronistic"; it goes back to a period that preceded the one from which the word is taken. Older hipp-o-s does not contradict the hipp-os of Classical Greek, but the two analyses cannot be judged in the same way. This again points up the radical distinction between diachrony and synchrony. And that allows us also to resolve a methodological issue which is still pending in linguistics. The old school divided words into roots, themes, suffixes, etc. and attached an absolute value to these distinctions. One would collection of roots and Bopp and his disciples, them from time immemorial a think, to read that the Greeks had carried with suffixes which they used in fabricating words, and that they took the trouble to manufacture their words while speaking, -ter, e.g. that pater was to that doso stood for the sum them the of do + so root + pa + the suffix a personal end- ing, etc. There had to be a reaction against the aberrations of the old and the appropriate slogan was this Observe what happens in the everyday speech of present-day languages and attribute to older periods no process, no phenomenon that is not observable school, today. : And since the living language generally does not lend itself to analyses like those made by Bopp, the neogrammarians, faithful to their principle, declared that roots, themes, suffixes, etc. are mere abstractions which should be used solely to facilitate exposition. But unless there is some justification for setting up these categories, why bother? And if they are set up, by what authority can one division like hipp-o-s, for instance, be declared better than another like hipp-os? The new school, after pointing out the shortcomings of the old doctrine and this was easy was satisfied to reject the theory but remain fettered in practice to a scientific apparatus that it was powerless to discard. When we examine "abstractions" more closely, we see what part of reality they actually stand for, and a simple corrective measure suffices to give an exact and justifiable meaning to the expedients of the grammarian. That is what I have tried to do above by showing that objective analysis, which is — — APPENDICES TO PARTS THREE AND FOUR 185 intimately linked to subjective analysis of the living language, has a definite and rightful place in linguistic methodology. 2. Subjective Analysis and the Defining of Subunits we can set up a method and formulate defini- In analysis, then, tions only after adopting a synchronic viewpoint. I That is what wish to show through a few observations about word-parts: prefixes, roots, radicals, suffixes, and inflectional endings.^" First, the inflectional ending, i.e. the word-final variable element that distinguishes the different forms of a noun or verb paradigm. In zeugnu-mi, zeugnu-s, zeugnu-si, zeugnu-men, etc. 'I harness,' etc., the inflectional endings -mi, -s, -si, etc. stand out simply because they are in opposition to each other and to the preceding part of the word (zevgnu-). We recall that in Czech the absence of an in- ending plays the same role as a regular ending (e.g. the genitive plural zen in opposition to nominative singular zena; see flectional p. 86 and p. 118). Similarly, Greek zeugnU! '(thou) harness!' against zeitgnu-te '(you) harness!' or rhetor! against rhetor-os, etc. and French marl!, written marche '(let's) By walk!' are all '(thou) walk!' against mar so! inflected forms with a zero ending. eliminating the inflectional ending theme or radical. This is generally the we obtain the inflectional common element which emerges spontaneously when we compare a series of related words, whether inflected or not, and which conveys the idea common to every word. In the French series roulis 'roll,' rouleau 'rolling-pin,' r outage 'roller,' roulement 'rolling,' for instance, the radical roul- stands out. But in their analysis, speakers often single out several kinds, or rather grades, of radicals in the same family of words. Zeugnu-, separated above from zeugnu-mi, zeugnu-s, etc., is a firstgrade radical. It is not irreducible, for the division zeug-nu is selfevident if we compare zeugnu- with other series {zeugnumi, zeuktos, zeuksis, zeukter, zugon, etc. on the one hand and zeugnUmi, — 1" F. de Saussure did not study the question of compounds not from the synchronic viewpoint at any rate. This part of the problem must therefore be set aside. Of course the distinction made above between compounds and agglutinate words does not apply here where analysis of a language-state is concerned. It is scarcely necessary to point out that this account of subunits does not pretend to answer the more difficult question raised above (pp. 105, 110 f.) concerning the defining of the word-unit. [FA.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 186 deiknumi, ornumi, etc. on the other). Zeug- (with its alternate forms zeug-, zeuk-, zug-; see p. 160) is therefore a second-grade radical. But zeug- is irreducible. To carry its decomposition further by comparing related forms is not possible. The root is the irreducible element common to all words of the same But any subjective and synchronic analysis separates by considering the share of meaning that matches each element, and the root is in this respect the element in which the meaning common to all related words reaches the highest degree of abstraction and generality. Naturally, indefiniteness varies from one root to the next, but it also depends somewhat on the extent to which the radical is reducible. The more the radical is shortened, the greater the likehhood that its meaning will become abstract. Thus zeugmdtion suggests a little team, zeugma any team whatsoever, and zeug- the indefinite notion of yoking or harnessing. It follows that a root cannot constitute a word and have an inflectional ending joined directly to it. Indeed, a word always family. material elements only stands for a fairly definite idea, at least from a grammatical viewpoint, and this is contrary to the general and abstract nature of the But what about the numerous roots and inflectional themes that apparently mingle? Take Greek phloks, genitive phlogos against the root phleg-: phlog- which is found in every word of the same family (cf. phleg-o, etc.). Does this not contradict the distinction which we have just set up? No, for we must separate phleg-: phlog- with a general meaning from phlog- with its special meaning or risk considering the material form only to the exclusion of meaning. The same material element here has two different values. It therefore comprises two distinct linguistic elements (see p. 105). Above, it was shown that zeugnu! is a word with an inflectional ending of zero. In the same way, phlog- is a theme with a zero suffix. No confusion is possible. The radical is distinct from the root even when phonetically identical to it. The root is then a reality in the mind of speakers. To be sure, root. it out with equal precision. On this point there are differences, either within the same language or speakers do not always single from one language to another. In certain idioms, definite characteristics call the root to the attention of speakers. In German, for instance, the root is fairly APPENDICES TO PARTS THREE AND FOUR uniform; almost always monosyllabic it follows certain structural rules; (cf. streit-, 187 hind-, haft-, etc.), phonemes do not appear hap- hazardly; certain word-final combinations of consonants, such as occlusive we -f- liquid, are ruled out; werk- is possible, wekr- is not; find helf-, werd-, but not hefl-, wedr-. recall that regular alternations, especially between vowels, We tend generally to strengthen rather than to weaken our feeling for roots and subunits. Here also, German with its variable interplay of ablauts (see p. 158) differs greatly from French. Semitic roots same characteristic but in even greater proportions. Here the alternations are quite regular and govern a large number of complex oppositions (cf. Hebrew qdtal, qtaltem, qtol, qitlu, etc., all forms of the same verb meaning 'kill'). In addition, Semitic roots have a trait similar to German monosyllabism but even more exhibit the They always include three consonants (see below, 230 ff.). pp. French is completely different. It has few alternations and, side by side with monosyllabic roots (roul-, march-, mang-), many roots composed of two or even three syllables {commenc-, hesit-, epousuch chiefly in final position vant-). Besides, these roots contain striking. — — varied combinations that they cannot be reduced to rules 'kill,' regn-er 'reign,' guid-er grond-er 'growl,' 'guide,' 'blow,' tard-er 'delay,' entr-er 'enter,' hurl-er 'bark,' etc.). feeling for roots scarcely exists in (cf . tu-er souffl-er That the French should come as no surprise. The defining of the root has as of prefixes word that zeugnwni). and is suffixes. The its recognized as the radical The suffix is counterpart the defining prefix goes before the part of the (e.g. hupo- radical (e.g. zeug-mat-) or to a first-grade radical to grade radical (e.g. zeugmat-io-) the inflectional ending, in Greek hupo- the element added to the root to may . We saw be zero. make above that the The make a a second- suffix, like extracting of the suffix is one more side to the analysis of the radical. suSix sometimes has a concrete meaning, a semantic value, as in zeuk-ter, where -ter- names the agent or performer of an action. At other times the suffix has a mere grammatical function, as in zeug-nu (-^mi), where -nu expresses the idea of the present. The prefix may also play both roles, but our languages rarely give it a just The COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 188 grammatical function: German the ge- of e.g. past participles the perfective prefixes of Slavic (Russian na-pisdt', {ge-setzt, etc.), etc.). The prefix also differs from the which, though fairly general, is suffix through a characteristic not absolute. The prefix is more from the word as a whole. This is due to the very nature of the prefix. A complete word usually remains after the prefix is removed (cf French recommencer 'recommence': commencer 'commence,' indigne 'unworthy': digne sharply delimited, for it is easier to separate . 'worthy,' maladroit 'unskilled' adroit 'skilled,' contrepoids 'counter: weight': poids 'weight,' etc.). Latin, Greek, more striking examples. Moreover, and German offer many prefixes function even as inde- 'against,' mal 'ill,' avant 'before,' and Greek katd, pro, etc. But the suffix is altogether different. The radical element obtained by removing the suffix is not a complete word e.g. French organisation 'organization' organis-, German Trennung: trenn-, Greek zeugma: zeug-, etc.^^ Furthermore, the suffix has no independent existence. pendent words: sur 'on,' cf. German French centre unter, vor, etc., : : The result beforehand. is that the first part of the radical The speaker knows, is usually delimited before he has made any com- parisons with other forms, where to draw the line between the pre- and what follows. This is not true of the last part of the word. There one can draw no boundary without first comparing forms that have the same radical or suffix, and the resulting delimitations will vary according to the nature of the terms compared. Subjectively, suffixes and radicals derive their value solely from syntagmatic and associative oppositions. We can usually /ind a formative and a radical element in any two opposing parts of a fix word, provided that possible oppositions for instance, we with consul-em, ped-em, In Latin diddtorem, if we compare it we compare it with and dic-{tdtdrem) if we think of po- etc.; dicta-{tdrem) lic-torem, scrip-torem, etc.; tdtorem, can-tdiorem, etc. Generally, stances, the speaker dictdt-orem, exist. shall see the radical dictdtdr-{em) may make if and under favorable circum- every imaginable division from am-orem, ard-drem, etc.; dict-dtdrem, (e.g. from dr- " This pattern, though not necessarily applicable to English words derived from Germanic sources (teach-er, sad-ly, hope-less), is characteristic of English words derived from Romance sources {duch-ess, appari-tion, cap-able). [Tr.] APPENDICES TO PARTS THREE AND FOUR dtdrem, ar-dtorem, etc.)- We know 189 that the results of these sponta- neous analyses appear in the analogical formations of each period Through them, we can single out the subunits (roots, prefixes, suffixes, and endings) which language recognizes and the values which it attaches to them. (see p. 170). 3. Etymology Etymology is neither a distinct discipline nor a division of evolu- tionary linguistics. It is only a special application of the principles that relate to synchronic and diachronic facts. It goes back into the history of words until it finds something to explain them. To speak of the origin of a word and say that it "comes" from another word may imply several different things thus French sel comes from Latin sal through a simple sound change; labourer 'plough' comes from Old French labourer 'work' solely through a : change in meaning; couver 'brood' comes from Latin cubare 'be in bed' through a change in both meaning and sound; finally, the statement that French pommier 'apple-tree' comes from pomme 'apple' brings in the relation of grammatical derivation. The first three examples concern diachronic identities; the fourth is based on the synchronic relation of several different terms, and everything that has been said about analogy shows that this relation is the most important part of et3Tnological research. It is not possible to fix the etymology of bonus merely by going back to dvenos. But if bis is found to go back to dvis, implying a relation with duo, then the procedure is etymological. The same applies to the comparing of French oiseau 'bird' and Latin avicellus, for comparison reveals the link between oiseau and avis. Etjnnology is then mainly the explaining of words through the historical study of their relations with other words. To explain means to relate to known terms, and in linguistics, to explain a word is to relate it to other words, for there are no necessary relations between sound and meaning (principle of the arbitrary nature of the sign, see p. 67 f.). Etymology does not simply explain isolated words and stop there. It compiles the history of formative elements — word families and of families of prefixes, suffixes, etc. Like static and evolutionary linguistics, etymology describes COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 190 But not methodical, for it follows no fixed etymology borrows its data alternately from phonetics, morphology, semantics, etc. To reach its goal, etjnnology uses every means placed at its disposal by linguistics, but it is not concerned with the nature of the facts. this description is course. In compiling the history of a word, operations that it is obliged to perform. PART FOUR Geographical Linguistics Chapter I CONCERNING THE DIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES As we approach the question of the spatial relations of the linguistic phenomenon, we leave internal linguistics and enter external linguistics. The scope of external linguistics was outlined in Chapter V The most of the Introduction. striking thing about the study of languages is their — linguistic differences that appear when we pass from one country to another or even from one region to another. Divergences in time often escape the observer, but divergences in space immediately force themselves upon him; even savages grasp them, thanks to their contacts with other tribes that speak a different language. Indeed, these comparisons are what makes a nation diversity aware of its idiom. We note in passing that this feeling makes primitive people look upon language as a habit or custom like dress or weapons. The term idiom rightly designates language as reflecting the traits peculiar to a community (Greek idioma had already acquired the meaning This notion, though appropriate, becomes misso far as to see language as an attribute, not of the nation, but of race, in the same way as the color of the skin or the shape of the head. It is also worth noting that each nation believes in the superiority of its own idiom and is quick to regard the man who uses a different language as incapable of speaking. For instance, Greek hdrbaros apparently meant 'one who stammers' and was related to Latin balbus; in Russian, Germans are called Nemtsy 'mutes.' Geographical diversity was, then, the first observation made in 'special custom'). leading when one goes linguistics. It determined the language, even among initial the Greeks. 191 form To be of scientific research in sure, the Greeks were COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 192 concerned only with the diversity of the different Hellenic dialects, but this was because their interest did not generally go beyond the borders of Greece proper. Having noticed that two idioms differ, one instinctively looks for similarities. This is a natural tendency of speakers. Peasants Uke to compare their patois with the one spoken in a neighboring village. People who speak several languages notice their common traits. But for some strange reason science has waited a long time to make use of the results of such observations. For example, the Greeks noticed many resemblances between the Latin vocabulary and their own but were unable to draw any linguistic conclusions. Scientific observation of linguistic similarities proves that two or more idioms may be akin, i.e. that they have a common origin. A group of related languages makes up a family. Modern linguistics has successively identified several families: the Indo-European, Semitic, Bantu, ^ etc. Comparing these families with each other, in turn, occasionally brings to light older and broader affiliations. There have been attempts to find similarities between Finno-Ugric^ and Indo-European, between the latter and Semitic, etc., but such comparisons always come up against insuperable barriers. One must not confuse what is probable with what is demonstrable. The universal kinship of languages is not probable, but even if it were true as the Italian linguist Trombetti^ believes it could not be proved because of the excessive number of changes that have — — intervened. Beside diversity within related groups, then, there diversity is absolute —differences between languages that have no recognizable or demonstrable kinship. What method should linguistics use in each of these degrees? Let us begin with the second, which is more common. As we have just noted, ^ Bantu is countless languages and families of a group of languages spoken by South African tribes, mainly the Kaffirs. [Ed.] — — Finno-Ugric, which includes among other languages Finnish proper or Suomi, Mordvinian, Lapp, etc., is a family of languages spoken in northern Russia and Siberia. Doubtless these languages all go back to a common original idiom. The family is a part of the great Ural-Altaic group of languages, which have no proven common origin although some traits appear in all of them. [Ed.] ' See his L'unitd, d'origine del linguaggio, Bologna, 1905. [Ed.] "^ COMPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY languages are not related. A good example to the Indo-European languages. mean The is 193 Chinese with respect fact that they differ does not that they cannot be compared, for comparison is always pos- and general expressing thought as well as to systems of sound it also ways of includes diachronic facts, the phonetic evolution of two languages, etc. The possibilities of comparison, though incalculable, are limited by certain constant phonic and psychological data that determine the make-up of any language reciprocally, the discovery of these constant data is always the main aim of any comparison of sible and useful; it applies to grammatical organisms ; ; related languages. The other class of differences languages — offers — those that an unlimited field for may differ in any degree. They may bear exist within families of comparison. Two idioms a striking resemblance to each other, like Zend and Sanskrit, or be as entirely dissimilar as Sanskrit and Gaelic. All intermediate degrees are possible: Greek and Latin are more closely related to each other than to Sanskrit, etc. Idioms that differ only slightly are called dialects, but this word must be used loosely. We shall see that languages and differ quantitatively, not by nature (see p. 203). dialects Chapter II COMPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 1. Coexistence of Several Languages at the Same Point to this point geographical diversity has been presented in its Up ideal form: there languages. ration And is still were as many territories as there were different our method the most general force in linguistic diversity. was justifiable, for geographical sepa- there are secondary facts that disturb the ideal relationship But and cause several languages to coexist in the same territory. Two things we pass over. First is the real, organic mixture or interpenetration of two idioms that results in a change in the COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 194 Norman Conquest). Second is the languages clearly separated in space but included within the boundaries of the same state, as in Switzerland. The only fact that concerns us is that two idioms can exist system (cf. English after the political accident of several same place without intermingling. This occurs two kinds. First, newcomers may superimpose their language on the indigenous language. For instance, in South Africa, two successive colonizations introduced Dutch and English, which now exist alongside several Negro dialects; in the same way, Spanish was side by side in the frequently, but is of implanted in Mexico. Nor are such linguistic encroachments pecuhar to modern times. Throughout the centuries nations have intermingled and still kept their idioms distinct. To realize this fact we need only glance at a map of modern Europe: Ireland, with Celtic and English; many of the Irish speak both languages. In Brittany, French and Breton. In the Basque region, French and Spanish as well as Basque. In Finland, Swedish and Finnish have coexisted for a rather long time, and Russian has been added more recently. In Courland and Livonia, Lettish, German and Russian are spoken; German, which was brought in by colonists under the auspices of the Hanseatic League during the Middle Ages, belongs to a special segment of the population; Russian subsequently entered by conquest. Lithuania witnessed the implantation of Polish alongside Lithuanian as a consequence of her former union with Poland, and of Russian as a result of annexation. Until the eighteenth century Slavic and German were used throughout the section of Germany that lies to the east of the Elbe. In other countries languages are even more entangled: in Macedonia every —Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian, Greek, in — imaginable language is found Rumanian, etc. and the languages are mixed ways in different regions. Albanian, different Coexisting languages are not always absolutely entangled; there may be a certain relative territorial distribution. Of two languages, one may be spoken in town and the other in the country, but such a distribution is not always clear-cut. was the same in ancient times. A linguistic map of the Roman Empire would show facts like those already described. Toward the close of the Republic, for instance, Campania num- The story COMPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 195 bered three or four languages: Oscan, attested by the inscriptions of Pompeii; Greek, the language of the colonists Naples, etc.; who founded Latin; and perhaps even Etruscan, which was the dominant language before the arrival of the Romans. In Carthage, Punic or Phoenician persisted beside Latin (it still existed during the period of the Arab invasion), and Numidian was certainlyspoken in Carthaginian territory. One might also suppose that during ancient times unilingual countries in the Mediterranean Basin were the exception. Invasion is the usual cause of superimposition, but it may also come through peaceful penetration in the form of colonization. Or nomadic tribes may take their dialect with them that is what the Gypsies did, especially those who settled in Hungary, where they form compact villages; study of their language shows that they must have come from India at some unknown time in the past. In Dobruja, at the mouth of the Danube, scattered Tatar villages show up Uke tiny specks on the hnguistic map of the region. : 2. Literary Language and Local Idiom As a further natural idiom is step, linguistic unity influenced by a may be destroyed when a literary language. This never fails to happen whenever a nation reaches a certain stage of civilization. By literary language I mean not only the language of literature but also, in a more general sense, any kind of cultivated language, otherwise, that serves the whole community. Given free a language has only dialects, none of which has the advantage over the others, and for this reason it habitually splinters. But as communications improve with a growing civiUzation, one of the existing dialects is chosen by a tacit convention of some sort to be official or reign, the vehicle of everything that affects the nation as a whole. The reasons for the choice differ widely. Sometimes preference goes to the dialect of the region where civilization is most advanced or to the province that has political supremacy and wields the central power. Sometimes the court imposes its dialect on the nation. The it has been promoted to the rank of official and standard language, seldom remains the same as it was before. It acquires dialectal elements from other regions and becomes more and more composite, though without losing completely its original privileged dialect, after COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 196 character. Thus the dialect of the He de France is clearly recogniz- able in literary French and the Toscan in Standard Italian. But the imposed from one day to the next, and a majority of the population is found to be bilingual, speaking both the standard language and the local patois. This occurs in many parts of France, like Savoy, where French is an imported language that has not yet eliminated the regional patois, and generally in Germany and Italy, where dialects persist alongside the official literary language is not languages. has been the same with all nations that have reached a certain The Greeks had their koine, derived from Attic and Ionian, along with coexisting local dialects. Presumably even ancient Babylon had its official language and its regional dialects. Does a standard language necessarily imply the use of writing? The Homeric poems seem to prove that it does not. Even though they were composed at a time when writing was used little or not It stage of civihzation. at all, their language is conventional and has every characteristic of a literary language. The facts discussed in this chapter are so common that they might pass as normal forces in the history of languages. But to keep to our purpose we must turn aside from everything that obscures the basic phenomenon of natural geographical diversity and consider it apart from any importation of a foreign language or any formation of a literary language. This schematic simplification seems to go against reality, but the natural fact must first be studied in itself. we shall say that Brussels is Flemish part of Belgium though French is spoken there, what matters is the boundary between the Flemish and Walloon territories. Li^ge is Romance for the same reason it is in Walloon territory French is a foreign language that happens to Consistently with this principle, Germanic since it is in the ; : ; dialect of the same stock. Similarly, Brest belongs linguistically to Breton the French spoken there has nothing in common with the native idiom of Brittany. Berlin, have been superimposed on a ; where High German etc. is heard almost exclusively, is Low German, : CAUSES OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 197 Chapter III CAUSES OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 1. Time, the Basic Cause Whereas absolute diversity poses a purely speculative problem (see p. 192 f.), diversity within related languages can be observed and traced back to unity. That Vulgar Latin took different paths in the northern origin of By and southern parts of Gaul explains the common French and Proven gal. simplifying the theoretical situation as much as possible, we can get at the basic cause of differentiation in space. What would happen if a language spoken at one clearly delimited point e.g. a small island were transported by colonists to another clearly delimited point e.g. another island? After a certain length of time — — — various differences affecting vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and the like would separate the language of the source (S) from the language of the settlement (S'). It is wrong to imagine that only the transplanted idiom will change while the original idiom remains fixed or vice versa. An innovation may begin on either side or on both sides at the same time. Take a linguistic Differentiation may feature a that can be replaced by h, c, d, etc. occur in three different ways a (Source S) o (Settlement S') A one-sided approach will not do, for the innovations of either language are of equal importance. What created the differences? It is illusory to think that space : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 198 alone was responsible. On By itself, space cannot influence language*. the day following their arrival at S' the colonists from S spoke exactly the same language as on the preceding day. It is easy to forget about the factor of time because it is less concrete than space, but it is actually the cause of linguistic differentiation. Geographical diversity should be called temporal diversity. Take two differentiating features h passed from the To discover first how and c. No speakers have to the second or from the second to the we must go back were substituted: a gave way unity became diversity, first. to the which b and c to the forms b and c. Hence the following diagram of geographical differentiation which will cover all similar cases original a for later S S' — a< > a i I b c The separation of the two idioms shows the tangible form of the phenomenon but does not explain it. Undoubtedly divergence in space was a necessary condition no matter how small the amount but by itseff distance does not create differences. Volume is measured, not by one surface, but by adding a third dimension, — — depth, similarly, geographical differentiation pletely only One when projected is pictured com- in time. objection might be that differences in environment, climate, topography, and local customs (e.g. customs of mountaineers con- trasted with those of a maritime population) influence language, and that our variations are therefore conditioned geographically. Such influences are open to dispute, however (see p. 147 f.). Even if they could be proved, a further distinction would be in order: direction of movement, which is governed in each instance by imponderable forces that can neither be demonstrated nor described, is attributable to environment. At a particular moment and in a particular environment u became it. Why did it change at that moment and in that place, and why did it become ii instead of of That question we cannot answer. But change itself (leaving out the in special direction it takes and its particular manifestations) — : : CAUSES OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 199 — stems from time alone. Geothen a secondary side of the general phenomenon. The unity of related languages is found only in time. Unless the comparative linguist thoroughly assimilates this princishort, the instability of language graphical diversity ple, he is likely 2. Effect of is to delude himself. Time on Continuous Territory Now take a unilingual country, i.e. one with a uniform language and a stable population, hke Gaul around 450 a.d., when Latin was well established everywhere. What will happen? (1) Since there is no such thing as absolute immobility in speech (see pp. 75 ff.), the language will no longer be the same after a certain length of time. Evolution will not be uniform throughout the territory but vary from zone to zone no records indicate that any language has ever changed in the same way throughout its territory. Therefore, it is not the diagram (2) will ; but the diagram that gives the true picture. How do differences that result in the most varied dialectal forms originate? What pattern does their evolution follow? Differentiais not so simple as it seems at first, has tion through time, which two main characteristics: COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 200 Evolution takes the form of successive and precise innomany partial facts as could be enumerated, described, and classified according to their nature (phonetic, lexico(1) vations that include as logical, morphological, syntactical, etc.). Each innovation embraces a definite and delimited area. There are two possibilities: either the area of the innovation embraces the whole territory and creates no dialectal differences (the (2) or the change affects only a part of the tereach dialectal fact having its special zone (the more common occurrence). We can illustrate with phonetic changes, but other less usual possibility) , ritory, innovations are the same. For instance, while part of a territory may witness the change of a to it is possible that on the another change, such as and the existence s same to z;, e: territory but within other limits, will occur: of these distinct areas explains the diversity of regional speech-forms throughout the territory of a language that no way to foresee these spread; all we can do is record them. Laid on a map, with their boundaries crossing and recrossing each other, they form extremely complicated patterns. At times their configuration is paradoxical. Thus c and g changed before a to th, dz, then h, z (cf. cantum —^ chant 'song,' virga —» verge 'rod') throughout northern France except in Picardy and part of Normandy, where c and g remained intact (cf Picard cat for chat is allowed to evolve naturally. There zones; nothing points to which is way they will . CAUSES OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 'cat,' rescape for rechappe, which 201 was recently adopted by French,* vergue from virga, cited above, etc.)- What moment the result of differentiation through time? is may in history a single language particular territory, and At one reign throughout a five or ten centuries later the inhabitants extremes probably vnW not be able to understand each other. At any particular point, however, speakers will still understand the speech-forms of neighboring regions. A traveler going from one end of the country to the other would notice only small two of of its dialectal differences from one locality to the next. But the sum of come to point would not these differences would increase, and eventually he would a language that the inhabitants of this starting understand. Or if, starting from a given point in the territory, he now in one direction, now in another, he would sum of these differences increasing in each direction, but with one sum differing from the other. traveled outward, find the found in the dialects of one village will reappear in but there is nothing to show exactly how far each peculiarity will reach. For instance, in Douvaine, a locality in the department of Upper-Savoy, the name of Geneva is pronounced '^enva. This pronunciation is heard far to the east and to the south, but on the other side of Lake Geneva speakers say dzenva. Still, it is not a question of two clearly distinct dialects, for the boundaries of some other phenomenon would be different. In Douvaine, speakers say daue for deux 'two,' but this pronunciation has a much more restricted zone than '6enva. At the foot of the Sal^ve, a few kilometers away, speakers say due. Peculiarities neighboring 3. Dialects The localities, Have No Natural Boundaries current practice, which differs from ours, is to picture dia- bounded in all by side on a map lects as perfectly defined linguistic types, directions (a, b, c, d, and covering distinct zones placed side etc.). But natural dialectal transformations produce entirely different results. As soon as we studied each phenomenon separately and determined its spread, our old notion had to give way to the new one: there are only natural dialectal features, not natural dialects; in other words, there are as * See page 156. [Tr.] many dialects as there are localities. — COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 202 r-M' The notion of natural dialects is ^ V--H therefore incompatible with the notion of fixed well-defined zones. This leaves us with two choices: we may (1) define a dialect by the totality of its characteristics which involves choosing one point on the map and encompassing only the regional speech-forms of a single locality since the same peculiarities will not extend beyond this point or (2) we may define a dialect by one of its characteristics, and simply map the spread of this characteristic which obviously is an artificial procedure since the boundaries that we mark off correspond to no dialectal ; — reality. Research in dialectal characteristics was the point of departure works on linguistic cartography. The model linguistic atlas is GiUi^ron's Atlas linguistique de la France. Wenker's map of Germany should also be mentioned.^ The form of the atlas is predetermined, for we have to study a country region by region, and a map includes only a small number of the dialectal characteristics of each region. One must sift the facts for each region many times to for bring to light the phonetic, lexicological, morphological, etc. peculiarities that are superimposed on each other. Such an undertaking requires a staff of experts, well-planned questionnaires, the co- operation of local correspondents, etc. One noteworthy project is the investigation of the patois of French-speaking Switzerland. Linguistic atlases are useful in that they furnish material for works on dialectology. Many recent monographs are based on Gillieron's Atlas. The boundaries have been called This name, coined on the model of obscure and inappropriate, for it means 'having the of dialectal characteristics isogloss lines or isoglosses. isotherme, is same language.' Since glosseme means 'idiomatic character,' the * Cf. also Weigand, Linguistischer Atlas des dakorumdnischen Gebiets (1909) and Millardet, Petit atlas linguistique d'une region des Landes (1910). [S.] : CAUSES OF GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY 203 if practical, would be more apuse innovating waves, a descriptive expression that goes back to J. Schmidt. Chapter III will show the expression isoglossematic propriate. lines, But I prefer to my preference. reasons for A glance at a linguistic atlas will sometimes reveal waves that almost coincide or even overlap ,'• The two in two or three one zone — ir-'C-,. A and B, which are separated by such a zone, obsome divergencies and constitute two rather clearly points viously have differentiated forms of speech. being partial, These concordances, instead of may characterize the whole perimeter of two or more zones: A >.*x VA t 'J A dialect is defined, roughly speaking, by a sufficient accumulation of such concordances. Their foundations are social, political, re- matters which do not concern us at the moment but without ever erasing completely, the basic and natural fact of differentiation from zone to zone. ligious, etc., which veil, Languages Have No Natural Boundaries how a language differs from a dialect is hard to specify. Often a dialect is called a language because it has produced a Uterature. This is true of Portuguese and Dutch. Intelligibility also plays a part; everyone would agree that people who do not under- 4. Precisely 204 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS stand each other speak different languages. Still, languages that have evolved over continuous territory and among stable populations exhibit, on a broader scale, the same facts as dialects. Innovating waves appear here too, but with this difference: they embrace a zone common to several languages. It is impossible, even in our hypothetical examples, to set up boundaries between dialects. The same applies to related languages. The size of the territory makes no difference. We would be unable to say w^here High German begins and Low German ends, and would find it just as impossible to draw the dividing line between German and Dutch, or between French and Italian. There are extreme points where we may assert, "Here French predominates, here Italian," but in the intermediate regions the distinction would disappear. We might imagine a compact, more restricted zone of transition between two languages e.g. Frovengal between French and Italian but such a zone simply does not exist. How can we possibly depict an exact linguistic boundary on territory that is covered from one end to the other by gradually differentiated dialects? The dividing lines between languages, hke those between dialects, are hidden in transitions. Just as dialects are only — — arbitrary subdivisions of the total surface of language, so the boundary that is supposed to separate two languages is only a conventional one. Still, abrupt transitions from one language to another are common, due to circumstances that have destroyed imperceptible transitions. The most disrupting force is the shifting of populations. Nations have always shuttled back and forth. Their migrations, multiplied throughout the centuries, have wrought confusion everywhere, and at many points all trace of linguistic transition has been wiped out. The Indo-European family is typical. At first its languages must have been closely related, with an unbroken chain of linguistic zones. We can reconstruct the broad outlines of the major zones. Slavic shares overlapping characteristics with both Iranian and Germanic, and this conforms with the geographical distribution of the three languages; similarly, Germanic is an intermediate ring that links Slavic and Celtic, which in turn is closely related to Italic the latter is mid-way between Celtic and Greek. Thus a Unguist, without knowing its geographical location, ; SPREAD OF LINGUISTIC WAVES could readily assign each idiom to its proper place. 205 And yet, as soon as we consider a boundary between two groups of idioms (e.g. the Germanic-Slavic boundary), there is an abrupt break, with no transition. The two groups colUde instead of overlapping. That is because the intermediate dialects have disappeared. Neither the Slavs nor the Germans were stationary; they emigrated, conquered territory, each at the expense of the other the neighboring Slavic of today are not the same as those that ; and Germanic populations were once in contact. If the Italians who live in Calabria settled on the French border, the move would naturally destroy the imperceptible transition between Italian and French. A number of similar facts accounts for the distribution of Proto-Indo-European. Still other forces help to wipe out transitions. Take the spreading of standard languages at the expense of patois (see pp. 195 ff.). To- French (formerly the language of the He de France) it conflicts with official Italian (a generalized form of the Tuscan dialect), and it is only through chance that traditional patois still exist in the western Alps, for day literary extends to the border, where along many other linguistic boundaries all trace of intermediate speech-forms has been wiped out. Chapter IV SPREAD OF LINGUISTIC WAVES Intercourse^ 1. The laws same every and Provincialism phenomena are the any custom whatsoever, e.g. fashion. In two forces are always working simul- that govern the spread of linguistic as those that govern human collectivity taneously and in opposing directions: individualism or provincial- ism [esprit de clocher] cations among men on the one hand and intercourse — on the other. Provincialism keeps a restricted linguistic to its * own traditions. The — communi- community faithful patterns that the individual acquires In his lectures Saussure used the English word intercourse. [Tr.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGXnSTICS 206 during childhood are strong and persistent. If they alone were at work, these patterns would create an infinite number of peculiarities in speech. But intercourse, the opposing force, limits their effect. provincialism move makes men sedentary, intercourse obliges Whereas them to about. Intercourse brings passers-by from other localities into a village, displaces a part of the population whenever there is a festival or fair, unites men from different provinces in the army, etc. In a word, it is a unif3ang force that counteracts the splintering action of provincialism. Intercourse spreads language and gives it unity. It acts in two ways: negatively, it prevents dialectal splintering by wiping out an innovation whenever and wherever it springs up positively, it promotes unity by adopting and spreading an innovation. The second form that intercourse may take justifies the use of the word wave to designate the geographical boundaries of a dialectal fact (see p. 203), for an isoglossematic line is like the outermost edge of an undulating flood. Surprisingly enough, we sometimes find that two widely separated dialects within the same language have a common linguistic trait. That is because the change which sprang up at one place on the territory met no obstacle in spreading and gradually extended far beyond its starting point. Nothing impedes the action of intercourse in a linguistic mass within which there are only imper; ceptible transitions. a particular fact— regardless —requires time, and occasionally the time The generahzing its zone of Thus the change of continental Germany, ) of the size of is measurable. to d, which intercourse carried throughout first spread over the south, between 800 and 850 A.D., except for Franconia where ]) persisted as soft 6 and did not give way to d until a later date. The change of t to German z (pronounced ts) took place within more restricted boundaries and began during a period that preceded the first written documents; it must have started in the Alps around 600 a.d. and spread both north and south as far as Lombardy. The t still appears in an eighth-century Thuringian charter. During a later period Germanic it I and u were diphthongized (cf mein for mln, braun for hriln) took 300 years for this phenomenon, which began in Bohemia . ; — : SPREAD OF LINGUISTIC WAVES around 1400 The a.d., to reach the Rhine and cover 207 its present zone. foregoing Hnguistic facts spread through interdialectal and the same is probably true of all waves: they start from one point and radiate. This brings us to a second important influence, observation. German consonantal mutation is again illustrative. When the phoneme t became ts at one point in Germanic territory, the new sound tended to radiate from its source, and ts became the rival of the original t or of other sounds that at other points. At its might have evolved from source such an innovation is it purely phonetic, but elsewhere it becomes estabhshed only geographically and through interdialectal influence. Hence the diagram t i ts is valid in to apply it all its simphcity for the source and no more. to propagation, the resulting picture The phonetician must is If we try distorted. therefore distinguish carefully between sources and affected zones. At its source a phoneme evolves solely on the axis of time. But mere phonetic facts will not explain affected zones, for they result from the interaction of both time and space. Take ts, which came from an outside source and replaced t. This is an example, not of modification of a traditional prototype, but of imitation of a neighboring dialect, irrespective of the prototype. Herza 'heart' came from the Alps and replaced the more archaic form herta in Thuringia. Here we should not speak of phonetic change but of the borrowing of a phoneme. The Two Forces Reduced to One we focus on a single geographical point by "point" I mean a very small area comparable to a point (see p. 202), e.g. a village it is easy to single out what is attributable to each of the two forces, provincialism and intercourse. Any particular fact depends on only one force, never on both; every feature shared with another dialect is due to intercourse every feature that belongs exclusively to the dialect of the point under consideration is due to pro- 2. — If ; vinciahsm. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 208 But as soon as sponsible for sition, are of canton we No turn to a larger area — e.g. longer is it —a new possible to say involved in each trait of the idiom. A a canton which force is rea given phenomenon. Both forces, though in oppo- difficulty arises. is common to all its parts. What is distinctive There, the individualistic A from imitating something from canton B from imitating A. But the unifying force, intercourse, is also involved, for it shows up in the different parts of A (A\ A^, A^, etc.). On larger areas the two forces therefore work simultaneously but in different proportions. The more intercourse favors an innovation, the farther its zone will reach; as for provincialism, it tends to protect a linguistic fact throughout its zone by defending it against outside competitors. We cannot foresee the final results of the action of the two forces. In Germanic territory, which reached from the Alps to the North Sea, the change from ]> to d was general while the change from t to is affected only the south (see p. 206) provincialism created an opposition between the south and the north, but intercourse was responsible for linguistic solidarity within each region. Thus there is basically no difference between this second phenomenon and the first. The same force prohibits canton and the latter in turn ; forces are present; only the intensity of their action varies. Practically, this means that in studying linguistic evolutions can disregard the individualistic force. That is, we can we consider it The latter may be strong the phenomenon will come as the negative side of the unifying force. enough to unify the whole area. If not, to a standstill after covering only a part of the territory. Internally, however, the part that was covered will form a coherent whole. That is why we can reduce everything to the single unifying force without bringing in provincialism, which is nothing more than the force of intercourse peculiar to each region. 3. Linguistic Differentiation on Separate Territories Three things must be realized before one can study profitably a language that develops concurrently on two separate territories: (1) in a unilingual mass cohesiveness is not the same for all phenomena; (2) not all innovations spread; and (3) geographical continuity does not prevent perpetual differentiations. Such concurrent development is common. When Germanic SPREAD OF LINGUISTIC WAVES 209 crossed over from the continent to the British Isles, for example, On the one hand were the German and on the other Anglo-Saxon, from which English evolved. Another example is French after it was transplanted to Canada. Discontinuity is not always the effect of colonization or conquest; it may also result from isolation. Rumanian lost contact with the Latin mass through the interposition of Slavic populations. The cause is unimportant what matters is whether separation plays a role in the history of languages and whether its effects differ from those that appear where there is continuity. Earlier, in order to point up the preponderant effect of time, we imagined an idiom as it might develop concurrently on two rather limited points two small islands, in our example where we might disregard a gradual spread. Now, however, with two territories that cover a broader area, we find once more that a gradual spread brings about dialectal differences. That the two territories are discontinuous does not simplify the problem in the least. We must there began a twofold evolution. dialects ; — — guard against attributing to separation something that can be explained without it. This is the mistake that the earliest Indo-European scholars made (see p. 2). Confronted with a great family of languages that had diverged enormously, they failed to realize that the differences could have resulted from something besides geographical splintering. It was easy for them and for anyone to imagine different languages in separate localities; in a superficial view no more was needed to explain differentiation. But they went further. They associated nationality with language, using the first to explain the second. Thus they pictured the Slavs, Germans, Celts, etc. as so many swarms of bees from the same hive and imagined that these tribes, torn away from the original stock by migration, had carried Proto-Indo-European over as many different territories. Only much later was this mistake corrected. Not until 1877 did Johannes Schmidt open the eyes of linguists by proposing the theory of continuity or waves (Wellentheorie) in his book Die Verwandtschaftsverhdltnisse der Indogermanen. Then they saw that — — local splintering suffices to explain the reciprocal relations of the Indo-European languages, and that that the different nations moved to it is new not necessary to assume places (see p. 204). Dia- 210 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS lectal differentiations could and must have arisen before these nations spread out in various directions. The wave theory fore not only gives a truer picture of Proto-Indo-European reveals the causes of differentiation ; therealso it and the conditions that de- termine the kinship of languages. The wave theory opposes the migratory theory but does not necessarily exclude it. In the history of the Indo-European languages there are many examples of nations that lost contact with the main family through migration, and this must have produced special effects. But these effects mingle with those of differentiation where contact is maintained, and the difficulty of identifying them brings us back to the problem of the evolution of an idiom in separate territories. broke away from the Germanic trunk as a it would not have its present the continent during the fifth form if the Saxons had stayed on century. But what were the specific effects of separation? It would seem that we should first ask whether such and such a change might not have sprung up just as well where geographical contact was maintained. If the English had occupied Jutland instead of Take Old EngUsh. It result of migration. In all probabihty the British Isles, it is possible that some of the facts attributed to absolute separation would have occurred here in a contiguous There is nothing to prove that discontinuity is what enabled English to preserve older ]? while the sound became d throughout the continent (e.g. English thing and German Ding). Nor was geographical continuity necessarily responsible for the territory. generalizing of the change in continental Germanic well have been checked in spite of continuity. ; it might very The mistake is the usual one of contrasting isolated and continuous dialects. Nothing actually proves that interdialectal influence would have caused d to spread throughout our imaginary English colony in Jutland. have seen that We in the linguistic territory of French, for example, k {-\- a) persisted in the angle formed by Picardy and Normandy but became hushing h (ch) everywhere else. Isolation is therefore an unsatisfactory and superficial explanation. Differentiation can always be explained without it. What isolation can do, geographical continuity does equally well. If there between the two classes of is a difference phenomena, we cannot grasp it. SPREAD OF LINGUISTIC WAVES 211 But the picture changes when we consider two related idioms not from the negative viewpoint of their differences but from the positive viewpoint of their sohdarity. Then we see that separation immediately opens the door to potential severance of every relation whereas geographical continuity supports solidarity even among strikingly different regional speech-forms, provided they are connected by intermediate dialects. In order to determine degrees of kinship among languages, we must therefore make a rigid distinction between continuity and isolation. Two isolated languages will retain from their common heritage a number of traits that attest their kinship, but since each language will evolve independently, new characteristics that appear in one will not be found in the other (with the exception of and are two languages through sheer coincidence). What certain characteristics that originate after separation identical in the is the spreading of these characthrough interdialectal influence. A language that has evolved out of touch with related languages generally has a set of traits that distinguish it from them. When this language splinters in turn, its dialects evidence a closer kinship through the common traits that bind them together and set them apart from dialects of the other territory. They actually form a distinct branch, detached is ruled out in each instance teristics from the trunk. Vastly different are the relations of languages on continuous territory. Their common traits are not necessarily older than the traits that differentiate them. Indeed, an innovation that starts at a given point may spread at any moment and even embrace the territory. Besides, innovating zones vary in extent, so that neighboring idioms may have a common peculiarity without two forming a separate group, and each may be related to contiguous idioms through other traits, as is shown by the Indo-European whole languages. PART FIVE Concerning Retrospective Linguistics Chapter I THE TWO PERSPECTIVES OF DIACHRONIC LINGUISTICS Synchronic linguistics has only the perspective of speakers and, consequently, only one method; diachronic linguistics, however, requires both a prospective and a retrospective viewpoint (see p. 90). The prospective method, which corresponds to the actual course of events, is the one we must use in developing any point concern- ing the history of a language or of languages. It consists simply of examining the available documents. But all too many problems of met by the prospective method. a detailed history of a language by folone would need an infinite number of diachronic linguistics cannot be In fact, in order to give lowing its course in time, Now this requirement has never been met. Romance scholars, for instance, even though they have the advantage of knowing Latin, the point of departure for photographs, taken at different times. their research, and of possessing an imposing array of documents covering several successive centuries, are constantly aware of wide gaps in their documentation. They must then discard the prospective method direct evidence and work in the opposite direction, using the retrospective method to retrace time. This means choosing a particular period and trying to determine, not how a form developed, but the oldest form that could have given — — it birth. The prospective method amounts to simple narration and is based entirely on textual criticism, but the retrospective viewpomt requires a reconstructive method supported by comparison. It is 212 THE TWO PERSPECTIVES OF DIACHRONIC LINGUISTICS 213 impossible to establish the original form of a single, isolated sign, but the comparing of two different signs that have the same origin (e.g. Latin pater, Sanskrit pilar- or the radical of Latin ger-o and that of ges-tus) immediately brings to hght the diachronic unity which relates both signs to a prototype that can be reconstructed inductively. The more numerous the comparisons, the more rate inductions will be, and the — results — if sufficient accu- data are at hand will be true reconstructions. The same applies to languages in their totality. We can infer nothing about Basque because it is isolated, there is nothing with which we can compare it. But by comparing a group of related lan; guages like Greek, Latin, Old Slavic, etc., scholars were able to single out the common original elements and to reconstruct the essentials of Proto-Indo-European as it existed before differenti- What was done for the whole family on a was repeated on a smaller scale and always by the same procedure for each of its parts wherever this was necessary and possible. We know numerous Germanic idioms directly, ation in space occurred. — large scale — — through documents, but we know Proto-Germanic the source of these different idioms only indirectly, through the reconstructive method. Using the same method with varying success, linguists have also sought the original unity of other families (see p. 192). The retrospective method, then, takes us far beyond the oldest documents in tracing the history of a language. Thus it was possible to draw the prospective outline of Latin, whose history hardly begins before the third or fourth century B.C., only after the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European had given an inkling of what must have happened between the period of original unity and the first known Latin documents. — With respect to reconstruction, evolutionary linguistics is like geology, another historical science. Geology sometimes has to describe stable states (e.g. the present state of Lake Geneva Basin) without considering what might have preceded in time, but its main concern is the chain of events and transformations that make up diachronics. A prospective geology is conceivable, but in reality the viewpoint is usually only retrospective. Before recounting what has occurred at a given point on the earth, the geologist must : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 214 reconstruct the chain of events and try to determine what is responsible for the present state of that part of the globe. method do the two perspectives contrast sharply; them simultaneously in the same exposition is a disadvantage. The study of phonetic changes, for instance, offers two very different pictures, depending on the perspective. Using the prospective viewpoint, we might ask what Classical Latin e became in French. We would see that a single sound, by evolving in time, varied and gave rise to several phonemes: cf. pedem -^ pye (pied 'foot'), ventum —^ vd (vent 'wind'), lectum -^ li (lit 'bed'), necdre -^ nwaye (noyer 'drown'), etc. Against that, if we used the retrospective viewpoint to find what French open e stands for in Latin, we would see that this single sound is the terminal point of several originally distinct phonemes Not only in in teaching, even, to use cf. ter (terre = 'earth') = terram, verz (verge 'rod') = virgam, fe (fait We could present the evolution of formative elements in two ways, and the two pictures would be just as different; everything that was said about analogical formations (see 'fact') pp. 169 factum, etc. ff.) is a priori proof. Thus the (retrospective) search for the French participles in -e takes us back to Latin origin of the suffix of -dtum; the Latin suffix is related etymologically to denominative Latin verbs in -are, which go back mainly to feminine substantives in -a (cf. plantdre: planta, Greek tlmad: tlma, etc.); furthermore, -dtum would not exist if the Proto-Indo-European suffix -to- had not been living and productive in its own right (cf. Greek klu-to-s, Latin in-clu-tu-s, Sanskrit gru-ta-s, etc.) finally, -dtum includes the formative element -m of the accusative singular (see p. 154). Conversely, a (prospective) search for the French formations that have the original suffix -to- will reveal that there are not only the different sufl&xes whether productive or not of the past ; — participle (aime 'loved' = — = amdtum, Jini 'ended' = finltum, clos clausum for *claudtum, etc.), but also many others like -u = -utum (cf. cornu 'horned' = cornutum), -tif (learned suffix) = Latin -tivum (cf fugitif = fugitivum, sensitif, negatif, etc.) and a number of words no longer analyzable, like point 'dot' = Latin punctum, de 'die' = datum, chetif 'wretched' = captlvum, etc. 'closed' . : THE OLDEST LANGUAGE AND THE PROTOTYPE 215 Chapter II THE OLDEST LANGUAGE AND THE PROTOTYPE In the earliest stages of Indo-European linguistics scholars understood neither the real purpose of comparison nor the importance of the reconstructive method (see p. 3). That explains one of and almost exclusive role was the oldest document of Proto-Indo-European, they promoted Sanskrit to the rank of their grossest mistakes: the exaggerated that they gave to Sanskrit. Because prototype. To imagine it that Proto-Indo-European engendered is one thing; to subone of these languages for Proto-Indo-European is something else entirely. The glaring mistake of the earliest scholars had varied and far-reaching consequences. Doubtless their hypothesis was not stated so categorically as I have implied, but it was tacitly accepted in practice. Bopp wrote that he "did not think that Sanskrit could be the common source," as if there were a possibility of formulating, even while expressing doubt, such a supposition. This prompts one to ask what is meant by the statement that one language is older than another. Three interpretations are Sanskrit, Greek, Slavic, Celtic, Italic, etc. stitute theoretically possible (1) "Older" may refer to the beginning, the starting point of a little reasoning will show that there is no language to which we can assign an age, for each language is the continuation of what was spoken before it. What is true of humanity is not true of speech the absolute continuity of its develop- language. But only a ; ment prevents us from distinguishing generations in it. Gaston Paris was justified in criticizing the conception of daughter languages and mother languages since this assumes interruptions. "Older," in this sense, is meaningless. (2) "Older" may also indicate that one particular state of a language we are studying is earlier than another state of the same language. Thus the Persian of the Achaemenian inscriptions is COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 216 older than the Persian of Firdausi. In a specific case Uke this, where one idiom has definitely developed from the other and where both are equally well known, we should of course reckon only with the earlier idiom. But unless both conditions are met, priority in time has no importance. Thus Lithuanian, which is attested only since 1540, is no less valuable than Old Slavic, which was recorded in the tenth century, or than the Sanskrit of the Rig Veda for that matter. (3) Finally, "older" may designate a more archaic language- one with forms that are very close to the forms of the original model, quite apart from any question of dates. In this state, i.e. sense sixteenth-century Lithuanian is older than the Latin of the third century B.C. Only than other both definitions. On one hand, it is generally agreed that the Vedic hymns antedate the oldest Greek texts; on the other hand and this is especially important Sanskrit has a considerable number of archaic features in comparison with those in the second or third sense is Sanskrit older languages. It fits — — preserved by other languages (see pp. 2 ff.). But the earliest linguists, because of their confused notion of age, put Sanskrit ahead of the whole family. The result was that later linguists, though cured of the notion that Sanskrit is the mother language, continued to attribute too much importance to the evidence that it furnishes as a collateral language. In Les Origines indo-europeennes (see p. 224) A. Pictet, while explicitly recognizing the existence of a primitive nation with its own language, still insists that we must first consult Sanskrit, and that the evidence which this language furnishes is worth more than that of several other Indo-European languages combined. same delusion has for many The years obscured issues of primary importance, such as that of the Proto-Indo-European vocaUsm. The mistake has been repeated on a smaller scale and in detail. Those who studied specific branches of Indo-European thought known idiom was a complete and satisfactory of the whole group and did not try to become better that the earliest representative acquainted with the original state. For example, instead of speaking of Germanic, they had no scruples about citing Gothic and stopping there, for Gothic antedates the other Germanic dialects . : THE OLDEST LANGUAGE AND THE PROTOTYPE by several centuries ; it 217 usurped the role of prototype and became the source of the other dialects. As regards Slavic, they based their research exclusively on Slavonic or Old Slavic, which is attested from the tenth century, because the other Slavic dialects are attested from a later date. Only on very rare occasions do two specimens of language that have been set down in writing at successive dates represent exactly the same idiom at two moments in its history. More often we find that one of the dialects is Exceptions prove the rule. Romance languages with not the linguistic successor of the other. The most famous exception is the respect to Latin in tracing French back : to Latin, one certainly follows a vertical route; the territory of the Romance languages happens was spoken, and each idiom Persian is is to match the territory no more than a where Latin later state of Latin. another exception to the rule; the Persian of the inis the same dialect as the Persian of the Middle scriptions of Darius Ages. But the opposite occurs documents much more frequently. The written of different periods generally belong to different dia- lects of the same family. Germanic, for instance, appears succes- sively in the Gothic of Ulfilas (its successor is unknown), then in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse texts, etc. None of these dialects or groups of dialects is the continuation of the one attested previously. The following diagram, in which letters stand for dialects and dotted lines for successive periods, Old High German texts, later in suggests the usual pattern A . . . B D ..C Periods E.. This pattern is Period 1 Period 2 Period 4 a valuable asset to linguistics. If succession were known dialect (A) would contain everything that we could deduce by analyzing successive states. But by searching vertical, the first for the point of convergence of all the dialects (A, B, C, the pattern, we may find a and thus avoid confusing form older than A and X. A (i.e. D, etc.) in a prototype X) COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 218 Chapter III RECONSTRUCTIONS 1. Their Nature and The means Aim by comparing, and the only comparison is a reconstruction. Our procedure is sterile unless we view the relations of several forms from the perspective of time and succeed in re-establishing a single form. I have repeatedly emphasized this point (see pp. 3 ff. and p. 198 f.). Thus we explain Latin medius against Greek mesos, without going back to Proto-Indo-European, by positing an older form *methyos as the source of both medius and mesos. Or we may compare two forms of the same language rather than two words of different languages: Latin gero and gestus go back to a radical *ges- that was once common to both forms. We note in passing that comparisons having to do with phonetic changes must always rely heavily on morphological considerations. In examining Latin patior and passus, I bring in factus, dictus, etc. because passus is a formation of the same class. By basing my conclusion on the morphological relation between facio and factus, died and dictus, etc., I can set up, for an earlier period, the same relation between patior and *pat-tus. Reciprocally, I must use phonetics to throw light on a morphological comparison. I can compare Latin meliorem with Greek hedio because the first form goes back phonetically to *meliosem, *meliosm, and the second to aim sole of reconstructing is of *hadioa, *hddiosa, *hddiosm. Linguistic comparison is not simply a mechanical operation. It implies the bringing together of all relevant data. But it must always result in a conjecture which we can express by some formula and which aims to re-establish something that has preceded; it always results in a reconstruction of forms. But is the aim of viewing the past to reconstruct the whole, concrete forms of the previous state? Or is reconstruction limited RECONSTRUCTIONS to abstract, partial affirmations about word-parts 219 to the ob- (e.g. servation that Latin / in fumus stands for Proto-Itahc ]), or that the initial element of Greek alio and Latin aliud already existed as a in Proto-Indo-European) ? Reconstruction may well confine itself to the second type of research; its analytical method has no aim other than these partial observations. Still, from the sum of isolated facts, we can draw general conclusions. A series of facts similar to those pertainmg to fumus allows us to state with certainty that \> had a place in the phonological system of Proto-Italic similarly, ; we can state that the pronominal declension of Proto-Indo-Euro- pean has a neuter singular ending -d, different from the -m of adjectives. We deduce this general morphological fact from a set of isolated observations (cf. Latin istud, aliud against honum; Greek to = *tod, alio = *allod against kalon; English that, etc.). We can go even further. It is possible, after we have reconstructed the different facts, to synthesize those relating to the whole form and to reconstruct whole words (e.g. Proto-Indo-European *alyod), inflectional paradigms, etc. Synthesis consists of drawing together completely isolated statements. For example, when we compare the different parts of a reconstructed form like *alyod, we notice a great difference between the -d, which raises a point of grammar, and a-, which has no grammatical significance. A reconstructed form is not a solidary whole. It is a sum that we can always analyze phonetically. Each of its parts is revocable and subject to further examination. Therefore, restored forms have always been a faithful reflection of the general conclusions applicable to them. The ProtoIndo-European word for 'horse' was successively posited as *akvas, *akivas, *ekivos, and finally *ekiWos; only a and the number of phonemes have remained undisputed. The aim of reconstruction is, then, not to restore a form for its own sake this would be rather ridiculous to say the least but to crystallize and condense a set of conclusions that seem logically to follow from the results obtained at each moment; in short, its aim is to record the progress of our science. No one has to defend lin- — — guists against the rather absurd charge of intending to restore Proto-Indo-European completely as if they wished to use it. They do not have this objective even in studying the languages that are historically attested (one does not study Latin linguistically in COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 220 order to speak it well). There is even less justification for it in the case of individual words of prehistoric languages. Reconstruction, though always subject to revision, is necessary an overall view of the language studied and of its linguistic type. It is an indispensable instrument for depicting with relative ease a great number of general facts, both synchronic and diachronic. The whole set of reconstructions immediately illuminates the broad outlines of Proto-Indo-European. For instance, we know that suffixes were formed from certain elements (t, s, r, etc.) to the exclufor sion of others, of and that the complicated variety German verbs (cf. vocahsm of the werden, wirst, ward, wurde, worden) obscures the rules governing one and the same original alternation e-o-zero. : The result is that reconstruction is a great help in studying the history of later periods, for without reconstruction much more it would be the changes that have occurred difficult to explain since the prehistoric period. 2. Relative We Accuracy of Reconstructions are absolutely certain of some reconstructed forms, but We have whole forms depends on the relative accuracy that we can attribute to the partial restorations that go into the synthesis. On this score two words are almost never identical. Between Proto-Indo-European forms as illuminating as *esti 'he is' and *diddti 'he gives,' there is a difference, for the reduplicated vowel of the second form gives room for doubt (cf. Sanskrit dadati and Greek didosi). There is a general tendency to consider reconstructions less accurate than they actually are. Three facts should fortify our others are either open to dispute or frankly problematical. just seen that the accuracy of confidence. The which is of capital importance, was mentioned 39 jEf.). We can distinguish clearly the sounds of a particular word, their number, and their delimitation. We have also seen (p. 54) how we should regard the objections that certain linguists squinting into the phonological microscope might raise. first fact, earlier (see pp. In a sequence Hke ~sn- there are doubtless furtive or transitional them is antilinguistic the average sounds, but to give weight to ear does not single them out, and ; —even more important—speakers RECONSTRUCTIONS 221 always agree on the number of elements in such a sequence. We can therefore state that the Proto-Indo-European form *ekiwos had only five distinct, differential elements to which speakers had to pay heed. The second fact has to do with the system elements of each language. delimited ments gamut of Any phonemes of the phonological language operates with a clearly (see p. 34). The least frequent ele- Proto-Indo-European system appear in no fewer than a dozen forms and the most frequent in a thousand all attested through reconstruction. With this we are sure of knowing them all. Finally, we do not have to delineate the positive qualities of the phonic units in order to know them. We must consider them as of the — — by their being distinct This is so basic that we could designate the phonic elements of an idiom that is to be reconstructed by numbers or by any signs whatsoever. There is no need for determining the absodifferential entities that are characterized (see p. 119). lute quality of e in *ekiwds or for puzzling over or closed, just how far forward it was whether e was open articulated, etc. All this is unimportant unless several types of e have been identified. The important thing is that we do not confuse it with another element singled out by language (a, o, e, etc.). This is another way of saying that the first phoneme of *ekiw6s does not differ from the second of *medhyds, the third of *dge, etc., and that without specifying its phonic nature, we could catalogue it and assign it a number in the table of Proto-Indo-European phonemes. The reconstructed form *ekiw6s means therefore that the Proto-Indo-European equivalent of Latin equos, Sanskrit agva-s, etc. was composed of five definite phonemes taken from the phonological gamut of the original idiom. Within the limitations just outlmed, reconstructions do retain their full value. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 222 Chapter IV THE CONTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGE TO ANTHROPOLOGY AND PREHISTORY Language and Race 1. Thanks to his retrospective method, the Hnguist can go back through the centuries and reconstruct languages that were spoken by certain nations long before their written history began. But might not reconstructions also provide information about the nations themselves — their race, filiation, social relations, customs, In short, does language provide some answers to questions that arise in the study of anthropology, ethnography, and prehistory? Many people think so, but I believe this is largely institutions, etc.? an illusion. Let us examine briefly some parts of the general problem. First, race. It would be wrong to assume that a common lan- guage implies consanguinity, that a family of languages matches an anthropological family. The facts are not so simple. There is, Germanic race with distinct anthropological characteristics: blond hair, elongated cranium, high stature, etc.; the Scandinavian is its most perfect example. Still, not all populations who speak Germanic languages fit this description; thus the German from the foot of the Alps differs strikingly from the Scandinavian. Might we at least assume, however, that an idiom belongs exclusively to one race, and that if nations belonging to other races use the idiom, this is only because it has been imposed upon them through conquest? No doubt nations often adopt or are forced to submit to the language of their conquerors (e.g. the Gauls after the victory of the Romans) but this does not explain everything. For instance, even if they had subjugated so many different populations, the Germanic tribes could not have absorbed all of them; we would have to imagine a long period of preliistoric domination and still other unsubstantiated circumstances. for instance, a , ANTHROPOLOGY AND PREHISTORY 223 Consanguinity and linguistic community apparently have no we cannot draw conclusions from one necessary connection, and and apply them to the other; consequently, numerous in the in- stances where anthropological and linguistic evidence do not agree, it is not necessary to set the two types of evidence in opposition or them each type retains its own value. to choose between 2. ; Ethnic Unity What can we learn from the evidence furnished by language? Racial unity alone, a secondary force, is in no way necessary for the only linguistic community. But there is another type of unity crucial type is I —which constituted mean — is by the of infinitely greater social importance and which bond: ethnic unity [ethnisme]. By a unity based on the multiple relations of religion, this civili- up even among nations any political bond. Between ethnic unity and language is established the mutual relation mentioned earlier (see p. 20). The social bond tends to create linguistic community and probably imposes certain traits on the common idiom; conversely, linguistic community is to some zation, common defense, etc., which spring of different races and in the absence of extent responsible for ethnic unity. In general, ethnic unity always suffices to explain linguistic Middle Ages a Romance community. For example, most varied ethnic unity, we must political bond, linked nations of the on the question ciprocally, language. of The information that everything else. Here is in the early ethnic unity, in the absence of it origins. first any Re- consult provides takes precedence over one example. In ancient Italy the EtrusIf we try to determine what the cans Hved alongside the Latins. two nations had in common in the hope of tracing them back to the same origin, we can call up everything that they transmitted (monuments, reUgious rites, political institutions, etc.) and still lack the assurance that language provides immediately. Four lines of Etruscan are enough to show that the speakers of this language belong to a nation distinct from the ethnic group that spoke Latin. Thus language within the limitations indicated is a historical document. That the Indo-European languages form a family, for — example, is — proof of a primitive ethnic unity that has been trans- COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 224 mitted more or less directly through social filiation to every nation that speaks one of these languages today. 3. Linguistic Paleontology may allow us to predicate social community, but does language reveal the nature of this common ethnic unity? For a long time languages were considered an inexhaustible source of documents concerning the nations that spoke them and their prehistory. Adolphe Pictet, a pioneer of Celtism, is known especially for his book Les Origines indo-europeennes (1859-63). His work has served as a model for many others; it is still the most engaging of all. Pictet looks to the Indo-European languages for data that will reveal the fundamental traits of the civilization of the "Aryans" and beUeves that he can fix the most varied details: material things (tools, weapons, domesticated animals), social life (whether they were a nomadic or an agricultural nation) family, government, etc. He seeks to identify the cradle of the Aryans, which he places in Bactriana, and studies the flora and fauna of the country that they inhabited. His is the most important undertaking of its type. The science that he founded is called linguistic Linguistic unity , paleontology. Other efforts in the the more recent is same direction have since been made. One Hermann Hirt's Die Indogermanen of (1905-1907) .^ Basing his research on the theory of J. Schmidt (see p. 209), Hirt tries to identify the country inhabited by the Indo-Europeans. But he does not slight linguistic paleontology. Lexical facts show him that the Indo-Europeans were farmers, and he refuses to place them in southern Russia, which is better suited to nomadic life. The frequency of occurrence of names of trees, especially of certain kinds (fir, birch, beech, oak), makes him think that their country was wooded, and that it was located between the Harz Mountains and the Vistula, more specifically in the region of Brandenburg and Berlin. We should also recall that even before Pictet, Adalbert 1 Cf. also d'Arbois de Jubainville, Les premiers habitants de V Europe (1877); O. Schrader, Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichie and Reallexicon der indogermanischen A Iterturnskunde (works that appeared a little earlier than the volume by Hirt); and S. Feist, Europa im lAchte der Vorgeschichte (1910). [Ed.] — : ANTHROPOLOGY AND PREHISTORYj 225 Kuhn and others had used linguistics to reconstruct the mythology and religion of the Indo-Europeans. Now we cannot expect language to furnish such information for the following reasons have at last words with well-established origins, and have become more cautious. Here is an example of the rashness that once prevailed. Given servus and servare, scholars compared the two they probably had no right to do this and by giving the first word the meaning "guardian," they were able to conclude that a slave was originally used in the sense of "to guard." Nor is that all. The meanings of words evolve. The meaning of a word often changes whenever a tribe changes its place of abode. Scholars were also wrong in assuming that the absence of a word proves that the primitive society knew nothing of the thing that the word names. Thus the word for "to plow" is not found in the Asiatic languages, but this does not mean that in the beginning plowing was unknown; it might just as well have been discarded or conducted by other procedures known by different names. First is the uncertainty of etymology. Scholars realized how rare are — The An possibility of loan-words is a third cause of uncertainty. object that instance, date, is borrowed hemp came may bring its name along with it. For into the Mediterranean world at a very late and into the countries to the north even name for hemp came with the plant. In later; each time, the many instances the absence whether the due to borrowing of extralinguistic data does not allow us to ascertain presence of the same word in several languages or is proof of a The common is original tradition. foregoing limitations do not preclude our distinguishing with no hesitation some general traits and even certain precise data. For example, common terms indicating kinship are abundant and have been transmitted very clearly. They allow us to state that among the Indo-Europeans the family was a complex and stable institution, for their language could express subtleties that ours means "sisters-in-law" with reference and galooi denotes the relationship between the wife and the sister of the husband. Latin janitrlces corresponds to eindteres in form and in signification. cannot. In Homer, eindteres to the wives of several brothers, : COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 226 Similarly, named "brother-in-law" (the husband of the sister) is not by the same word as "brothers-in-law" (denoting the rela- of several sisters). Here we can but usually we must be satisfied with identify a minute general information. The same applies to animals. For important species like the bovine we can rely on the coincidence of Greek tionship among the husbands detail, German Kuh, Sanskrit gau-s, etc. and reconstruct the ProtoIndo-European form *g20U-s; besides, the inflection of the word has the same features in each language, and this would be impossible if it had been borrowed from another language at a later date. Here we might consider another morphological fact that has the dual characteristic of being limited to a definite zone and of touching upon a point of social organization. In spite of everything that has been said about the relation of dominus and domus, linguists do not seem to be completely satisfied, for the use of the suffix -no- in forming secondary derivatives is most extraordinary. There are no formations Uke *oiko-no-s or *oike-no-s from oikos in Greek, or *agva-na from agva- in Sanskrit. But this very rarity gives the suffix of dominus its value and prominence. Several Germanic words are, I think, quite revealing bous, *\)eu'6d, king,' Gothic \)iudans, Gothic \)iuda — Oscan touto 'people'). (2) *drux-ti-na-z (partially changed to *drux-ti-na-z) 'head of the *drux-ti-z, army' (whence the Christian name for the Master, i.e. God), cf. Old Norse Drottinn, Anglo-Saxon Dryhten, both with (1) *\)eu'6a-na-z 'head of the Old Saxon ihiodan {*\)eu'6d, final -ina-z. (3) head *kindi-na-z 'head of the *kindi-z = Latin gens.^ Since the was a vice-ruler with respect the Germanic word kindins (completely of the gens *)}ewtSo, name Roman to the head of a lost elsewhere) is for, in his Germanic emperor was the head of the clan with respect to the Ipiudans; however interesting the association may be from a historical viewpoint, there is no doubt that the word kindins, which is wholly unlike everything Roman, indicates a division of the Germanic populations into kindi-z. Thus the secondary suffix -na-, when added to any ProtoGermanic theme, means 'head of a certain community.' All that remains now is to observe that in the same way Latin tribunus used by ULfilas to way the of thinking, the delegate of the governor : ANTHROPOLOGY AND PREHISTORY literally the 227 means 'head of the tribus,' that \>iudans means 'head of and finally, that dominus means 'head of the domus,' >iuda,' the last division of the touta suffix, seems to me = piuda. Dominus, with its singular to offer almost irrefutable proof not only of community but also of a community of institutions among the Italic and German ethnic groups. But again it is worth noting that comparisons between languages linguistic rarely yield such characteristic indices. 4. Linguistic Type and Mind of the Social Group Does language, even if it fails to supply much precise and authentic information about the institutions of speakers, serve at least to characterize the A popular notion nation. But one logical causes is mind of the social group that speaks it? that a language reflects the psychology of a serious objection opposes this viewpoint: psycho- do not necessarily underlie linguistic procedures. The Semitic languages express the relation of a substantival determinant to its noun (cf. French la parole de Dieu 'the word of God') by simple juxtaposition. To be sure, the noun that is determined has a special form, called "construct state," and precedes the determinant. Take Hebrew dabar 'word' and ^elolilm} 'God': dabar 'elohim means 'the word of God.' Should we say that such syntactical pattern reveals something about the Semitic That would be a rash Old French regularly used a Roland 'Roland's horn,' les quatrc fils Aymon 'Aymon's four sons,' etc. Now the procedure arose in Romance through sheer chance, morphological as well as phonetic a sharp reduction of cases forced the new construction on the lansimilar construction: • a mind? guage. It is assertion, for cf. le cor entirely possible that a similar accident started Proto- Semitic on the same route. ently one of Thus a its indelible traits syntactical fact that is appar- gives no accurate clue to the Semitic mind. Another example Proto-Indo-European had no compounds with a word-initial verbal element. That German has such compounds (cf. Bethaus, Springhrunnen, etc.) does not prove that at a given moment the Germans modified a way of thinking inherited from : 2 The symbol ['] designates the alef or glottal stop that corresponds to soft breathing in Greek. [S.] COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 228 their ancestors. We have seen to an accident which (p. 195) that the innovation was due was not only material but also negative, the eUmination of the a in betahus. Everything occurred outside the mind and in the realm of sound changes, which readily impose a tight yoke on thought and force it into the special way that the material state of signs opens to it. A great number of similar observations confirms this conclusion. The psychological character of the group is unimportant by comparison with the elimination of a vowel, a change of accent, or many other similar things that may at any moment revolutionize the relation between the sign and the idea in any language form whatsoever. It is always of interest to determine the grammatical character of languages (whether historically attested or reconstructed) and to classify languages according to the procedures that they use for expressing thought. But even after we become acquainted with the structures of languages and classify them, we can draw no accurate linguistic conclusions outside the domain of linguistics proper. Chapter V LANGUAGE FAMILIES AND LINGUISTIC TYPES' We have just seen that language mind Let of speakers. me is not controlled directly by the emphasize, in concluding, one of the consequences of this principle: no family of languages rightly belongs once and for To all to a particular linguistic type. ask the type to which a group of languages belongs get that languages evolve; the implication is is that there to foris an element of stability in evolution. How is it possible to impose limitations on an activity that has none? Of course many people really have in mind the traits of the original idiom when they speak of the characteristics of a family; ^ This chapter, though it does not deal with retrospective linguistics, is included in Part Five because it serves as a conclusion for the whole work. [Ed.] LANGUAGE FAMILIES AND LINGUISTIC TYPES 229 problem is not insoluble since they are dealing with one language and one period. But when we assume that there are permanent traits which neither time nor space can change in any way, we clash head-on with the fundamental principles of evolutionary linguistics. No characteristic has a right to permanent existence; their it persists only through sheer luck. Take the Indo-European of the language Indo-European from which family. We know the distinctive traits derives. it of Proto- very simple. There are no complicated clusters is of consonants or double consonants, gives rise to an The sound system and its monotone system and profoundly interplay of extremely regular grammatical alternations (see p. 157 and p. 220) the tonic accent can in principle be placed on any syllable in a word and therefore has a role in the interplay of grammatical oppositions quantitative rhythm is based solely on the opposition of long and short syllables; compounds and derivatives are easily formed nominal and verbal inflections are numerous; and the inflected word with its self; ; ; contained determiners of is independent in the sentence, allowing and greatly restricting the number grammatical words with determinative or relational value much freedom of construction (preverbs, prepositions, etc.). Now it is clear that none of the foregoing traits has been retained in its original form in the different Indo-European languages, and the role of quantitative rhythm and of any member of the group. Some tonic accent) no longer appear that several of them (e.g. m languages have even changed the features of Proto-Indo-European to such an extent that they suggest an entu-ely different linguistic type It (e.g. English, Armenian, Irish, etc.). would be more fitting to speak of certain transformations that same family. For in- affect different languages belonging to the weakening of the inflectional mechanism is Indo-European languages, although they all offer striking differences. Slavic has put up the strongest resistance while EngUsh has reduced inflection almost to zero. To offset this, a stance, progressive characteristic of the rather stable word-order has developed, analytical processes of expression have tended to replace synthetic processes, prepositions express case values (see p. 180), auxiliaries have taken the place of compound verbal forms, etc. COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS 230 We have seen that a trait of the prototype may not appear in The reverse is equally true. It is not unusual even to find that the common traits of all the representatives of a family do not appear in the original idiom. This is true of vocalic harmony (i.e. similarity of some type between the timbre of every suffixed vowel and the last vowel of the radical). This salient trait is found in Ural-Altaic (a large group of languages spoken in Europe and Asia and extending from Finland to Manchuria) but is probably due to later developments. Vocalic harmony is then a common trait but not an original one consequently we cannot invoke it any more than agglutination to prove the some of the derived languages. ; — — common origin (highly debatable) of these languages. We also know that Chinese has not always been monosyllabic. The thing that first strikes us, when we compare the Semitic languages with their reconstructed prototype, is the persistence of certain traits. The Semitic languages seem, more than any other family, to constitute a type, unchangeable and permanent, with traits of the family inherent in each language. The following traits, many of which contrast sharply with those of Proto-Indo-European, set Proto-Semitic apart. Compounds are practically nonexistent. Derivation plays only a small part. The mflectional system is poorly developed (better in Proto-Semitic, however, than in the daughter languages) with the result that strict rules govern word-order. The most notable trait has to do with the structure of the root (see p. 187). It regularly includes three consonants (e.g. q-t-l 'kill') which are retained in every form within a given language (cf. Hebrew qaial, qdtld, qtol, qitll, etc.), and which do not change from one language to another (cf. Arabic qatala, qutila, etc.). In , other words, consonants express the "concrete sense" or lexical value of words while vowels with the help of certain prefixes and suffixes, of course —have — the exclusive role of indicating gram- matical values through the interplay of their alternations (e.g. Hebrew qatal 'he killed,' qtol 'to kill'; with a suffix, qtdl-u 'they killed' ; with a 'they will prefix, ji-qtol 'he will kill' ; and with both, ji-qtl-u kill,' etc.). Against the foregomg facts, and in spite of the statements that they have elicited, we must defend our principle there are no un: LANGUAGE FAMILIES AND LINGUISTIC TYPES 231 changeable characteristics. Permanence results from sheer luck; any characteristic that is preserved in time may also disappear with time. But to come back to Semitic. We see that the "law" of the not really characteristic of the Semitic family in other families. In ProtoIndo-European, rigid laws also govern the consonantal structure of roots. For example, two sounds of the series i, u, r, I, m, n never three consonants since analogous is phenomena appear e; a root like *serl is impossible. The functioning of Semitic vowels is even more instructive. Indo-European has an equally rigid but less rich set of vowels; oppositions like Hebrew dabar 'word,' dbdr-im 'words,' dibre-hem 'their words,' etc. recall German Gast: Gdste, fiiessen: floss, etc. In both instances the genesis of the grammatical procedure is the same. Mere phonetic modifications, follow which are due to blind evolution, result in alternations. The mind seizes upon the alternations, attaches grammatical values to them, and spreads them, using the analogical models which chance phonetic developments provide. The immutability of the three consonants in Semitic We could be facts. is only a general rule, not a hard-and-fast one. sure of this a priori, but our view is confirmed by the In Hebrew, for example, the root ^ands-im 'men' has the its singular 'is has only two, for reduced form of the older form that contained three consonants. Even if we agree that Semitic roots are quasi-immuta- three expected consonants, but this is the ble, this does not mean that they have an inherent characteristic. means simply that the Semitic languages have suffered fewer phonetic alterations than many others, and that consonants have It been better preserved in this group of languages than elsewhere. We are dealing with something evolutionary and phonetic, not something grammatical or permanent. To proclaim the immutability of roots is to say that they have undergone no phonetic change, nothing more, and we cannot vow that changes will never occur. Generally speaking, everything that time has done, time can undo or change. We now realize that Schleicher was wrong in looking upon lan- guage as an organic thing with its own law of evolution, but we continue, without suspecting it, to try to make language organic in another sense by assuming that the "genius" of a race or ethnic 232 COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS group tends constantly to lead language along certain fixed routes. From the incursions we have made into the borderlands of our science, one lesson stands out. It is wholly negative, but is all the more interesting because it agrees with the fundamental idea of this course: the true and unique object of linguistics is language studied in and for itself. INDEX .. . , , ;. , . INDEX — phonetic change, 151, 161; and analogy, 166 Articulation and auditory impres- Ablaut, 158 f.; 160 Accent, 86, 58 176; Agglutination, definition of conthree phases in 177; trasted with analogy, 177 f.; always precedes analogy, 179 note Alphabet, see Writing; borrowed 27, 39 28; Greek Alteration of the sign, 74 f linguisis always partial, 84, 87 tic definition, 158 f Alteration, 157 is synchronic laws of 158; tightens and grammatical, 159; the grammatical bond, 160 f Analogy, 161-173; its importance, phonetic counteracts 171 as a proportion, changes, 161 and formative 161, 165, 167; elements, 162, 170; mistakes con162 f.; is creation cerning and not change, 163 f its mechais grammatical, 165 nism, 163 originates in speaking, 165, 168 as 166 f.; two theories of a force in evolution, 169, 171 f.; indicates changes in interpretaas a conservative tion, 169 f contrasted with force, 172 f.; confolk etymology, 173 f.; trasted with agglutination, 177 f 183 f.; subAnalysis, objective jective 183 f.; and the de- — — , — — , ; — , — — — — ; — 49 . tive , — arbitrariness, 131 f.; — 51 and 235 ; , — — , , f.; f. in language, originate in are always speaking, 18, 98; partial, 84 f.; 87 93; Changes, morphological 93 semantic 93; syntactical 143-161 Changes, phonetic are unrelated to the system of lanaffect sounds, not guage, 18 f.; words, 93; their regularity, 143; absolute and conditioned, spon- — — f ; f.; , Changes — — — 202 Cartography, linguistic 42. Cavity, oral 41 nasal 38 Chain, phonic (or spoken) linguistics, 6, 222. — , Brugmann, 5 basis for classifying Aperture, sounds, 44 f. and opening and closing sounds, 52 Aphasia, 10 f Apparatus, vocal 41 f Arbitrary nature of the sign, definition, 67 f.; and the immutability of language, 72 f.; and alteration, 74 f absolute and rela; the of Broca, 10 , Anthropology and — — — — , f.; Bopp, 2, 3, 24, 82, 184, 215 Boundary, syllabic 57 Braune, 5 — fining of subunits, 185 10, Benfey, 3 Berthelot, 25 — — — , 42 , spoken chain, 38 ; , — , homogeneous Beats, . — . — — — ; — . — , — — of oral — — — ; of value of oral in classifying sounds, 44; sistants or holds, 52 and note; muscular image of 66 Aspects of the verb, 117 Associative faculty, 13 202 Atlas, linguistic Aufrecht, 3 ., — two meanings diversity 113; , — ; sion, 8; — — — , — , — ; , — — taneous and combinatory — see Phonetics Chess, compared with the system of language, 22 f ., 88, 110 144 f.; Children, role of evolution, 149 — in phonetic ; , . . and Climate changes, linguistic 198 f., Community of speakers, 78 of unrelated languages, Comparison — languages, 4, Comparative philology, mistakes of 192 ; . INDEX 236 147 . . ; related of 199, 218 — 3 f ., 24 f 163, 184, the school of 209 f., 215 Compounds, products of analogy, 141 f., 178 and note; Germanic Proto-Indo-European 227 f 178 note, 227 f Concept, 12, 66; called signified, 67, 103, 113 f. ., — . , — ; Consanguinity and linguistic community, 222 or Consonants, 48, 57 f.; middle — tenues, 35 — Curtius, 3 Darmsteter, 32 Delimiting of linguistic units, 104 f of phonemes, 38 Dentals, 45 Derivatives, products of analogy, — . 178 Deschamps, 25 Diachrony, 81; see also Linguistics, diachronic — forms, 156 — do not 202; distinction between — and — and literary languages, 203 borrowed Dialects, natural exist, f.; language, 21, 195 Diez, 5 Differences, role of — in — . Diphthong, implosive 61 cending" — ; — link, 61; "as- , languages, 191 f among related languages, 192 197; absolute Dominus, etymology of , 226 Diversity of — , —8 Economy, political — 79 Entities, concrete — of 102 abstract — 137 Ethnic unity, 223 man — 226 , , f . language, f , ; Italic f.; and Ger- , Ethnography and linguistics, 20, 6, 222 Etruscans and Latins, 223 with 173 f.; Etymology, folk and without deformation, 174; incompared complete 174 f.; with analogy, 174 f Etymology and orthography, 28, 31 225 f.; definiuncertainty of tion, 173 begins Evolution, linguistic 8 of gramin speaking, 18, 98; matical facts, 142; see Changes, phonetic Expiration, 42 f 60 Explosion, 51 f.; duration of of lanExtension, geographical guages, 21; see Linguistics, geographical — — — , — , — , , ; — — — — , — and linguistic Facts, grammatical units, 122 Faculty of speech, 9f. Families of languages, 6, 191 f.; Indo-European family, 2, 204 f ., 209 — , f.; Bantu 192; — — , 192; Finno-Ugric have no permanent — 230 traits, 228 f.; Ural-Atlaic Fashion, 75, 151 for Formulas, articulatory sounds, 44 Fortuitous character of a languagestate, 85 Fricatives, 46 Furtive sounds, 54 f ., 220 , — creating values, 114 f., 117 f.; there are only in language, 120 Differentiation, linguistic on continuous territory, 199 f on separate territories, 208 f — — 115 f. Dualities, linguistic — Construction and structure, 178 Co-ordinating faculty, 13 41 Cords, vocal , Dialectal, Doublets, nonphonetic character of , — . ; — 191, Gillieron, 31 note, 32 note, 202 Glottis, 41 f. Gothic, 216 Grades of the vocalic system, 4 Grammar, 134; definition, tional or classical — , 1, 82; tradi- — is . . . , . . INDEX normative and — eral static, 82; gen- 1, — "historical" 100; , 134, , note 142, 143 Grammont, 32 note Grimm, 3, 25 Gutturals, 44, 46; palatals, 44, 46; velars, 45, 46 and note h, aspirate — Harmony, vocalic , 48 in French, 32 ; — f of the Ural- Altaic languages, 230 Hiatus, 59 f. Hirt, 224 History of — and phonetic changes, 150 sistants, 52 and note Holds or — — chronic Idiom, 191 , 181 , 107 f . sign, 71 f — 60 f. f.; duration of Indirect spellings, 29; fluctuating 29 f see Writing Indo-European, characteristics of Implosion, 51 — , , — , 185 — — — , , . ; — , . ; — — , Least effort, cause of phonetic changes, 148 Leskien, 5 Lexicology, a part of grammar, 135 Limiting of arbitrariness, basis for the study of language, 133 f Linguistics is a part of semiology, of of language and 15 f. speaking, see Language; external 20 f.; synchronic and internal or static 81, 99 f.; "historical," ; Institution, language is a social 10, — ; 229 — , tion, 158 f. Inflection, 185; zero — — dia- ; f Immutability of the . — , political Identity, synchronic — interdependent, 18; how exists, is a form, not a substance, 19; 113, 122; languages and dialects, 204 Languages, Germanic 216; 5, Romance 5, 213, 217; Semitic, 227, 230 Larch, 96 Larynx, 41 f. Lateral consonants, 47 f. Lautverschiebung Mutation, see consonantal Law, Verner's 145 synchronic 91 f Laws, linguistic are general but not imperative, are impera92 f.; diachronic tive but not general, 93; phonetic wrong statement of 93 f of alternaphonetic 145 f.; , linguistics, If., 81 f.; re- between lations 237 — 16 Intercourse or unifying force, 205 two forms of , 206 Interjections, 69 Isogloss lines, 203 — f.; — — — — , , diachronic, or evolutionary, 81, 191 f. 140 f.; geographical , Liquids, 44, 47 f. — 99, Lithuanian, 24, 216 Loan-words, Jespersen, 40 note, 42 note Jones, 2 Mechanism Koine or Kuhn, 3, I, literary Greek, 196 204, 224 dental, latal guttural, — 47 and pa- nasal, norm of the facts of speech, 9; is social, homogenous, and concrete, 14 f.; is distinct from speaking, 14 f 17 f ., 77, is not a name-giving sys165; tem, 16, 65; and speaking are — — — ., — f., 225 of language, 127 165 Meillet, 92 note Meter, 36 — 130, f., — 3f.; of Method, comparative external and of internal Unguisof synchronic and tics, 22 f.; , — Labials, 45 Labio-dentals, 46 Language, 21, 36, 155 diachronic linguistics, 90 f.; pros212 f pective and retrospective 209 Migrations, 204 f.; theory of Millardet, 202 note Morphology, inseparable from syntax, 135 Morris, 16 note — — , , . . . . . Motivation, 131 Movements, tagmatic and associative relations, f. facilitating articulatory 55 , Miiller, 3 130 f. Phonetics, 32 f.; and grammar, 17 f phonetic means non152 significant, 18, 140 f.; is a part of diachronic linguistics, 140 Phonographic recordings, 23 Phonological species, 40, 53 Phonology, 32-64; wrongly called phonetics, 32 f. is a part of speaking, 33; combinatory 50 f. — ., Mutability of the sign, 74 Mutation, consonantal — f. 25, , 144, 207 Names denoting kinship in ProtoIndo-European, 225 f Nasalized sounds, 43 Nasals, 45; voiceless 45 Naville, 16 note Neogrammarians, 5, 184 Non-sonants, 57 f. Nyrop, 36 — of the word applied to language, 215 f. Old Slavic, 22, 217 Onomatopoeia, 69 Opposition and difference, 121 Orthography, 25 f see Writing and Spelling Osthoff, 5 Opening sounds, 52 — . — ; ; — — , Occlusives, 45 f Old, three meanings ; Physiology and linguistics, 7 Physiology of sounds, see Phonol- ogy Pictet, 216, 224 Plural and dual, 116 Polite formulas, 68 Pott, 3 Prefix, 187 f. Prehistory and linguistics, 6, 223 f. Prepositions, unknown in ProtoIndo-European, 180 Preservation of linguistic forms, 173 Preverbs, unknown in Proto-IndoEuropean, 180 Procedure and process, distinction between 176 Pronunciation and writing, 29 f. — , ; Palatals, 46 determined by etymology, 31 f. Palate, 41 — — Paleontology, linguistic Panchronic viewpoint, 95 Paradigms, inflectional — Participle, present corrupted by writing, 31 , tive f , — 127 7, tion, 160 Perspective, synchronic and diachronic ,81, 87, 90; prospective and retrospective 212 f. Philology, method of 1, 7; comparative 2 Phonation, unrelated to language, 18 , — Phonemes, 40, tion, 39 f.; 221 ; 119, 38, , , fixed 42 number 220; f.; of their their — are — and sounds, 66 — , 15, delimita- description, differential, ; 54, rela- , 16 — trilled and burr, 47 Race and language, 222 f. r, , — — f.; — — — , Permutation, synonym of alterna- — — ; freedom of 119 Proto-Indo-European, 228 f Provincialism and intercourse, 205 f Psychology, social and linguistics, 224 96 Parts of speech, 109, 138 Paul, 5 Peak, vocalic 57 34, , INDEX 238 — . . 119, their syn- Radical or theme, 185 f Reading and writing, 34 — synchronic , 109; dia181 chronic Reconstruction, linguistic 218 f. , Relations, sjmtagmatic and associatheir interdependtive 122 f ence, 128 f.; their role in determining phonemes, 130 f.; are the basis for the divisions of grammar, 136 f Rhotocization, 144, 146 Reality, — — , , — . ; — . . . . , . . . INDEX Ritschl, — in German, 186 — French, f ; . — in Semitic the in 187; languages, 187, 230 Roudet, 40 note Sanskrit, discovery of — f.; — exag215 f.; , , — — — — , — and 131 motivated relatively f.; zero — , signs, 87, 118, 185, 187 Signification, 114 f. Signified, 67, 102 f.; see Signifier Signifier, definition, 67 — , 70, 123 ; ; linearity of — exists only through the signified and vice versa. 102 f Silbenbildend and silbisch, 59, 61 Sociology and linguistics, 6 Solidarities, syntagmatic and associ- — ative Sonant, , 127 f ., ; — Sound, complexity of — ,8; — auditory impression, 38 — — and laryn- f.; — 42 f.; and noise, 48; is not language, 110 Sound-image, 12, 15, 66 note; is psychological, 66; is called signifier, 67 , — — Sounds, , , 54 f ., 220 52; furshapelessness of ; , 111. — — Speaking, an individual act, 14; is distinct from language, see Language; mode of existence of is the seat of linguistic 19; change, 19, 98, 143 note, 168 Speaking-circuit, 11 f. Species, phonological abstract, 53 f —,40; — are Speech, language and speaking, 77; is heterogenous, 9; is a natural faculty, 9f.; is articu- — — — lated, 10 — — Speech, parts of 109, 138 SpeUing, indirect 29; fluctuating 29 f.; see Writing Spirants, 46 f Stability, political and phonetic changes, 150 f. Substratum, linguistic and phonetic changes, 151 Subunits of words, 106, 127 f., 129, , — , , — — 185 f. — Suffix, 178; zero Syllable, 50, 57 , 186 f. Syllabic boundary, 57 f Symbol, contrasted with sign, 68 f Synchrony, see Linguistics, synchronic Syntagm, definition, 122 f.; see Relations, syntagmatic Syntax, 135 f. System of language, 8, 22 79, 113, 133; see 72 f., f., Mechanism. System, phonological — , 34 221. f., 133 Proto-Indo-European 57 sonants, 51, 63 Sonority of phonemes, 43; role of in syllabication, 58 geal — — — 2 , gerated importance of 216 age of Schleicher, 3, 4, 231 Schmidt, 203, 209, 224 Semantics, 16 note Semiology, definition, 16; based mainly on systems of arbitrary signs, 67 f Semi-vowels, 48 Sentence, 124; as a unit, 106; equivalents, 128 Separation, geographical and linguistic differentiation, 208 f Shift in the relationship between the signifier and the signified, 75 Sievers, 5, 40 note, 58, 61, 62 Sign, linguistic its composition, 66 f.; its immutability, 71 f.; its mutability, 74 f.; considered in its totality, 120 f.; unmotivated — tive — and opening closing 1 Root, definition, 186; characteristics of the 239 classification of — , 43 f.; Tense, 116 f. is Terminology, linguistic exact, 5 note; phonological — — inis imperfect, 44 Theme or radical, 185 f. 111 Thought, shapelessness of on language, 74, Time, effect of — — 78, 197 f. Trombetti, 192 Type, linguistic — social group, 227 lies of , and mind of the and fami- f.; — languages, 228 f. . , . INDEX 240 Umlaut, 24, 83 f 157 complex 103 f Units, linguistic 105 f 124 problems in defining , llOf.; importance of 110 f.; differential character of 121 £.; and grammatical facts, 181 122, 179; diachronic Unsilbisch, 61 Uvula, 41 f. ., — — , ., — , . ; — — — — — Value, linguistic ceptual side, 114 from , 110 f.; signification, terial side, ; 117 , f.; — is 114; its con- distinct its ma- f. Velars, 46 Verner's law, 145 f. Versification, 36 Vibrants, 47 Vibrations, lar5mgeal 42 f Vocalic peak, 57 Vowels contrasted with consonants, contrasted with sonants 48; 57 f.; open and closed, whispered, and voiceless , 48 f — , — — Waves, innovating Weigand, 202 note — , 203, 206 Wenker, 202 Wellentheorie, 209 Whitney, 5, 10, 76 Wolf, 1 Words and 113 units contrasted, 105 f ., f. Word-unit and phonetic changes, 94 Writing and language, 15; necessity for studying is distinct ,23; from language, 23; is not nec- — — — essary for linguistic stability, 24; and the literary language, 25; changes less frequently than language, 27; etymological 28; troubles caused by 29; phonological 33 f interpretation of 34 f recording of implosion and explosion, 52 f., 60 f.; system of compared with the system of language, 119 f. Writing, systems of 25 f.; ideographic (Chinese) and phonetic 26; syllabic (Cypriots), 26, 39, 50; consonantal (Semites), 39 — — — — , . — , — , , . ; — — — — — , Zend, 22 Zones, dialectal, 199 f. — University of California Library Los Angeles This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. RECEIVED MAR 1 7 2005 UCLA LAW LIBRAFjY htCblVED .mN 1 im 8 ^ NOV 26 '91 012008 L 005 883 998 6 Q ...
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