Chapter

Linguistic Identity

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641970.003.0007
Linguistic Identity

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There is one ongoing concern of the Course in General Linguistics which explains more about the limits of engagement between Jacques Derrida and Ferdinand de Saussure than any other, which is with the determination of linguistic identity. The linguistic discourse urges us to consider specifically how we determine sameness and difference, how two things are said to be the same and two things are said to be different. This chapter argues that there is an essential incommensurability between Derrida's approach and Saussure's in the handling of what Saussure calls ‘the language user’ in the determination of linguistic identity. It begins by opening out Derrida's engagement with linguistic identity, or the determination of meaning, as it appears in ‘Signature Event Context’, ‘Freud and the Scene of Writing’ and Speech and Phenomena. After discussing context, repetition and ideality, the chapter considers Derrida's interrogation of the meaning of the word ‘communication’, sameness and difference, identity and identification and the language user.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; Ferdinand de Saussure; linguistic identity; sameness; difference; language user; meaning; context; repetition; ideality

Chapter.  9851 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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