Writing, Speech, and the Voice

Russell Daylight

in What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641970
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671564 | DOI:
Writing, Speech, and the Voice

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In many of his early works, including Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida presents the concept of the sign as essentially produced and limited by a certain metaphysical tradition. That claim produces three interwoven themes of inquiry. The first assessed the originality that Derrida would grant to Ferdinand de Saussure within the tradition of the sign; the second explored the identity and history of the concept of the sign; the third concerns the relationship between writing, speech, and the voice. For Derrida, it is the exclusion of writing which enables classical metaphysics to mark the division between the exterior and interior of meaning. This chapter reviews Derrida's analysis of the relationship between writing, speech and the logocentric voice, and attempts to bring this assessment to bear against Saussure's privileging of speech over writing as the proper basis of linguistics. It argues that Derrida's critique of the Saussurean sign, and his assertion of the Saussurean sign's classical and logocentric roots, is indistinguishable from his critique of Edmund Husserl. It also considers Saussure's views on the internal and external elements of a language.

Keywords: Of Grammatology; Jacques Derrida; Ferdinand de Saussure; sign; metaphysics; writing; speech; logocentric voice; linguistics; Edmund Husserl

Chapter.  9685 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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