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9. Linguistics and Literature

YaleCourses2009-09-01
syn-function#auto-function#langue#parole#langage#reversible time#narratology#gros sconstituent units#structuralist activity#autochthonous#decomposevs.recompose#poetic function#referential#emotive#poetic#conative#phatic#metalingual
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💫 Short Summary

The video delves into structuralism, discussing key figures like Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Barthes, highlighting their impact on semiotics and literary theory. It explores the relationship between synchronic and diachronic phenomena, emphasizing structuralism's lasting contributions and influence on literary analysis. The themes of blood relations, autochthony, and metonymy are discussed in relation to myths and language functions. The video concludes with reflections on Jakobson's work on versification and the poetic function, raising questions about understanding linguistic structures and intentions in analyzing behavior and communication.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Lecture syllabus covering Saussure and Levi-Strauss.
00:00
Critique of structuralism and deconstruction planned for next session.
Importance of synchrony and diachrony in semiotics, structuralism, and Russian formalism emphasized.
Relationship between parts of a semiotic system fixed synchronically but changes diachronically.
Change over time challenges traditional linguistic views.
Impact of Structuralism in Linguistics and Literary Theory
07:05
Structuralism viewed language as existing in space and parole unfolding in time.
Originating from France, it influenced academic circles in the US in the 1960s.
Despite lasting only two years due to criticism by Jacques Derrida, it made lasting contributions to literary theory and semiotics.
Structuralism introduced new perspectives and approaches that continue to shape theoretical discussions.
The impact of structuralism on key figures and literary analysis.
11:21
Structuralism's influence on narratology and the analysis of literary works.
The relationship between formalism and semiotics in structuralist thought.
The unique ambitions of structuralism in understanding objects and knowledge.
Structuralism as a distinct approach to interpreting various subjects.
Explanation of structuralism according to Roland Barthes.
14:01
Structuralism involves breaking down and reconstructing data to identify patterns and basic units.
It differs from formalism, which focuses on the object without deconstruction.
Barthes emphasizes the importance of analyzing data relationships to form a new virtual object.
The process includes breaking down parts, analyzing, and classifying them to create a virtual object based on the analysis.
The significance of blood relations and autochthony in the Oedipus myth.
21:56
The myth emphasizes the importance of parentage and origins, with a focus on being born from the earth.
Autochthony is compared to the Christian myth of Adam created from red clay.
The recurring motif of clay in cultural narratives highlights the complex interplay between blood relations and autochthony.
Summary of Levi-Strauss' Structuralism and Myth Analysis
23:30
Levi-Strauss is known for his skill in deconstructing myths and identifying underlying patterns.
The segment explores the analysis of myths, including connections to autochthony and symbolism.
Elements of the Oedipus myth were omitted by Levi-Strauss in his analysis.
Jakobson's formalism is discussed, highlighting the importance of understanding underlying structures in linguistic and cultural phenomena.
The video segment explores versification and the poetic function through Jakobson's work.
27:03
The poetic function projects the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the axis of combination.
Equivalences in signs impact the way signs are combined in language, crucial for understanding the poetic function.
Language transitions from a system to speech unfolding in time, with a focus on metaphorization of metonymic elements.
The segment explores the rhetorical device of metonymy and its combinatory processes in language.
31:33
Metonymy involves substituting one word for another related word, such as using 'hut' instead of 'house' to imply a relationship with other structures.
The discussion also touches on Jakobson's analysis of the six functions of language, highlighting the brilliance of his work in understanding the complexities of utterances and their functions.
Communication functions in daily interactions are explored, such as the referential function of conveying information and the phatic function to maintain contact.
38:04
The concept of 'set to the contact' in communication is explained, where messages confirm communication and ensure clarity.
Defining terms is crucial in communication, as shown by explaining the term 'mare' as a female horse.
The metalingual function of language is discussed, with a focus on the ambiguity of terms like 'it' in phrases such as 'It is raining.'
The complexity of the pronoun 'it' in different languages, particularly in the context of 'It is raining.'
39:51
The grammatical and syntactical anomaly of 'it' is explored, highlighting challenges in interpretation.
Various linguistic functions and poetic interpretations of the phrase are discussed, emphasizing structural and metaphoric aspects of language.
The role of the poetic function in utterances is analyzed, with a focus on literariness and the binary nature of combining linguistic elements.
The discussion sheds light on the intricacies of language structure and interpretation.
The relationship between the poetic function and the metalingual function, as outlined by Jakobson.
44:49
The distinction between the two functions in terms of intention and structural relationship.
Critique of genesis within structuralism and implications of distinguishing between the poetic and metalingual functions based on their intentions.
Questions raised about the understanding and differentiation of these functions, emphasizing the complexities involved in analyzing linguistic structures and intentions.
Discussion on inferring intentions and understanding behavior through the structuralist imperative of structure over genesis.
48:31
Exploring the concept of knowing things negatively instead of positively through inference, focusing on grasping distinctions and causes.
Brief mention of critique of Levi-Strauss, with a promise to delve deeper in the next session due to relevance to current reading material on Derrida.
Speaker concludes with a thank you and previews the upcoming discussion.