Course in General Linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure

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Outline the sign theory of language by Ferdinand de Saussure. 

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In his "Course in General Linguistics," (which was compiled by his students) Saussure names the science of what constitutes signs and the laws that govern them as semiology. Since semiology deals with signs, it covers psychology, sociology, and linguistics. Saussure believed that to inform each of these applications of semiology, one had to focus on the structure of signs. 

The linguistic sign is made up of a concept and a sound-image. The concept is the abstract idea of, say, a tree. The sound-image is the psychological sensory impression of the sound of a word; as sound-image, Saussure denotes a kind of mental impression which is an sound and sight based. In other words, the sound-image is the sense we get when seeing, hearing or saying a word. 

Saussure then describes the sign (previously as concept/sound-image) as signified/signifier in order to be more descriptive. The bond between signified/signifier is arbitrary. The signified concept (tree) is represented by the signifier, the...

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