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metalanguage


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Language used to describe or analyse language. Linguistics can be seen as a metalanguage (a ‘second-order’ language) for describing natural language. Barthes, following Hjelmslev, saw myth as a metalanguage: a sign system referring to another sign system. Structuralism may seem to be an objective metalanguage, but many poststructuralists argue that this notion is founded on the fallacy that we can step outside language (whereas, as Wittgenstein said, ‘the limits of my language are the limits of my world’).

Subjects: Arts and Humanities.


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